Even before COVID-19 caused organisations to rapidly accelerate their digital transformation programs and provision employees to work from home, the idea of a more flexible working environment was gaining traction among enterprises of all sizes. A digital workplace is essential but achieving it can seem anything but simple.
As organisations start to emerge from COVID-19, it will be important to continue on the path that has been set towards digital transformation. Organisations need to leverage the gains they’ve made, rather than go backwards to a legacy way of working, otherwise they could be left behind.
The changing nature of work means that organisations may need to think flexibly about how they deploy their resources. In designing a workplace that supports social distancing, organisations must factor in a mix of in-office and remote working. The forced work-from-home experiment that occurred due to COVID-19 had the unexpected benefit of demonstrating that remote working is not only feasible, but it can also deliver productivity gains.
This has been reinforced by a Gartner CFO survey that found nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of organisations planned to move at least five per cent of their previously on-site workforce to permanently remote positions after COVID-19. Additionally, 20 per cent of respondents said they had already deferred on-premise technology spend and a further 12 per cent were planning to defer it.
With the broad-scale shift to remote work, many organisations have had to either invest in mobile technology or rely on employees’ own, consumer-grade devices for business continuity. Organisations that had to act fast to provision employees with mobile equipment may have purchased gear that won’t suit the organisation’s long-term needs. For example, they may have had to compromise on brands and specifications, or resorted to purchasing consumer-grade equipment for business use.
This kind of fast action undoubtedly ensured organisations could continue to operate productively throughout the COVID-19 restrictions. Now that businesses have had a chance to stabilise and are emerging from lockdown, it’s essential to review this technology and shore up any gaps that may expose them to security or productivity risks.
This is especially important given the likelihood that restrictions may be eased and then reinstated as governments grapple with a disease that has no vaccine yet. Historical data is likely to prove of little use to help forecast these changes. To remain agile, organisations will need to have the right tools for the job, empowering staff members to work remotely and in the office with little or no notice, and with the same levels of productivity and security as they had behind the corporate firewall.
For most organisations, the ability to reassess technology requirements could be complicated by a lack of available funds or stressed budgets due to the economic downturn. Understandably, one of the key objectives right now for chief financial officers (CFOs) is to protect the balance sheet and minimise risk.
Conversely, chief information officers (CIOs) will need to equip employees with the technology they need to work productively in the long term, regardless of location. Finding the budget will likely be just the first of a number of related challenges. CIOs will also need to answer these seven questions:
- How to manage a cost-effective technology refresh across many disparate locations?
- How will equipment be serviced in a remote setting when it comes to repairs and service calls, either within or out of warranty?
- What technology is the right fit for this new way of working?
- Can CIOs empower their employees to order the equipment they need themselves without risking out-of-policy purchases?
- How does the out-of-the-box experience work for getting an employee up and running once they have received their device?
- How will IT managers keep track of costs and manage the security of this distributed fleet in an efficient and digital way?
- How will total cost of ownership be impacted by these changes?
The plan for recovery
The first step organisations should consider as they plan for the recovery is to consolidate and manage their technology fleet. It’s important to be able to dispose of equipment that no longer meets the business’s needs and even convert owned equipment that was purchased recently to a usage model. This can help to manage budgets more effectively and even free up cashflow for other requirements, helping to address the concerns of both the CFO and CIO.
Organisations should seek to partner with a provider that can source, finance, and manage its fleet of mobile enterprise technologies. The right enterprise mobility strategy will provide secure, reliable access for remote workers in a way that protects the organisation.
Through a customised, consultative approach with the right asset management partner, organisations can more cost effectively create and execute their enterprise mobility strategy across the entire asset lifecycle. This includes:
- Device procurement: procuring the devices you need and preparing them for use, then organising implementation days so employees can exchange their outdated equipment for new secure smartphones or tablets. CHG-MERIDIAN offers organisations a self-service procurement portal, where employees can order their own equipment without fear that they’ll purchase out-of-policy devices or go over budget.
- Operations enablement: with back-up stock and insurance for the equipment, staff members can rest easy knowing their device is protected. Organisations get peace of mind with an asset management system that lets managers easily register and track the status of each piece of equipment. Devices are repaired or replaced as needed.
- End-of-life services: when the device has reached the end of its contract, the organisation’s asset management partner will collect it and provide certified data cleansing to adhere to the organisation’s security policies.
Flexibility is key to enabling a remote workforce and a more agile organisation, so it’s important to have flexibility at the heart of an enterprise mobility strategy. CHG-MERIDIAN’s mobile workplace solutions, for example, let organisations tailor mobile technologies for individual staff members to ensure everyone has the right level of tools and access they need, at the right price. Our team has extensive experience working with public and private sector organisations to help them answer the seven key questions around the mobile workplace, and with providing simple, detailed accounting and reporting to help organisations more easily manage technology budgets and cashflow.
For more advice about how your organisation can emerge strongly from COVID-19 and meet the associated employee demands for remote work, visit CHG Meridian.