By Neil Thurston
The global pandemic is far from over but we can see a flickering light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s time to start planning and building what post-pandemic normal is going to be. There have been plenty of opinions published on what the ‘new normal’ will look like – some claim it’s the death of the traditional office and others expect things to be pretty much as they were before. The reality is, as ever, going to be somewhere in between and we have many takeaways from the last 12 months of lockdowns to draw from, things that worked and things that didn’t.
The overriding themes that we see when discussing the new normal can all broadly come under one banner – flexibility. We fundamentally need to be flexible as we don’t know for certain yet when things will get back to normal, or if they should. We have seen that businesses still function when offices are empty and employees are working remotely. We have seen that employees can still be productive and creative when working to an outcomes-based day that’s punctuated with activities like home schooling – they no longer need to work to a strict 9-5 time-based day.
So what flexible foundations do you need in place to plan and build your way out of the pandemic?
First, remote working is clearly going to be strategic moving forwards. For years it has been enabled to support a subset of mobile workers but last year it was tactically expanded to accommodate the whole business. Those tactical deployments now need reviewing and potentially reworking to make them strategic, meaning flexible, secure and robust for the coming years of delivering excellent user experience and collaboration capabilities.
Second, the shift to remote working needs a change in the approach to security to a more flexible zero-trust model. Traditional security assumes that all workers are inside the castle and we can pull up the drawbridge to protect them - a model that clearly breaks when all the workers are no longer in the castle. Zero-trust pushes security from being building-based to user and device-based, where every user or device must validate who they are before being granted access to corporate services.
Finally, we have seen cloud-based services come into their own across the last 12 months. The flexibility of cloud has been demonstrated through the instant availability of services to scale-out, but more importantly, the instant ability to hand back resources when demand drops. As we have navigated our businesses through the pandemic with furlough, then lockdown easing followed by more furlough, the ability to flex up and down the scale of our services has enabled us to avoid over-provisioning tin that would have been idle for the majority of the time just heating up the aisles of data centres.
Building these foundations advances the workforce transformation journey and enables businesses to establish fit-for-purpose business continuity plans with built-in flexibility to cater for the new normal. They promote the new workforce to be secure, productive and creative with the best possible user experience wherever they are located, whatever hours they work and wherever the apps and services are delivered from.
With these foundations, organisations can cope with the impact of the shifting sands that we find ourselves in at present and have confidence in building their new normal …whatever that ends up being. If your business has adapted to the recent pandemic but is now looking to permanently establish its new normal, get in touch with us today and see how Logicalis can help progress your organisation’s transformation.