Workplaces have been in a constant state of evolution as far back as the industrial revolution, but the pace of change in the workplace has accelerated rapidly over the last few years.
A combination of factors is altering the way that businesses operate. The first generation of digital natives entered the workplace environment and have begun to rise through the ranks, expecting to use tools that match their experiences. There has also been a dramatic increase in data and businesses' ability to extract meaningful, actionable information from it. Finally, the pandemic has changed our relationship with where we work and led to a new acceptance and understanding of remote workflows. As a result, businesses have found themselves needing to adopt increasingly agile business practices as digital transformation sweeps across multiple industries.
However, creating a cohesive digital workplace ecosystem for this new workforce, regardless of physical location, involves more effort and strategy than simply handing out laptops, turning to cloud apps, and using a VPN (Virtual Private Network).
A secure remote-work strategy has become essential for business resilience with increasing threats of cyberattacks, especially on remote workforces. To create an effective and successful digital workplace that delivers value to customers, organisations must produce a strategy that directly addresses employee engagement, productivity and business objectives through cloud, data, and security.
Building agility and efficiency with cloud
The cloud plays a key part in deploying all these factors, allowing companies to swiftly distribute new tools and scale as and when necessary, iterate the tools they have, and easily roll out new workplace methodologies while ensuring they only pay for what is required. A modern cloud infrastructure helps to foster workplace collaboration, increase employee productivity, and enables greater business agility by being more responsive with the ability to speed up decision-making.
While we have become accustomed to placing the user experience at the forefront of any customer-facing tasks, increasingly today’s mobile workforce has high expectations of their own user experience. These demands are important to acknowledge. Rather than risk increasing employee churn and losing valuable talent that is already in scarce supply, it is important to empower employees to work how and where they want.
Investing in secure and efficient collaboration tools based on cloud can build an environment where employees are better connected, creating efficient communication channels that expand company culture and strengthen employee engagement.
Revealing hidden insights from data
One of the many advantages of the digital workplace is that it generates a large amount of data which can also be used to improve operational efficiency which is more important than ever. Analysing data allows organisations to target precisely where automation technologies can help release employees from time intensive, low-value tasks, to focus on more strategic projects that deliver greater business value.
“Data can also help to unlock hidden insights in a business, with data-driven decision-making informing responses to rapidly changing business needs. The cloud is a key enabler of this, providing businesses with the storage, scale and speed of access needed to capitalise on these insights,” states Toby Alcock, Group CTO at Logicalis.
Businesses are starting to understand how valuable data is in every business function, from marketing to finance to HR, but the ability to protect that data is growing more complex.
Combating cybersecurity threats
As the workforce has become more distributed and the attack surface has increased, with corporate VPNs and cloud-based application suites becoming prime targets for hackers. If not properly secured, they can provide cybercriminals with a simple means of accessing corporate networks. All attackers need to do is steal a username and password via a phishing email or using brute force attacks to breach simple passwords. From there they can disrupt all aspects of business functions and cause uncounted reputational damage.
A recent Check Point Software Technologies survey showed that 71% of IT professional respondents said they have seen an increase in security threats since the coronavirus outbreak started. A further 47% said they were concerned about employees working from home using shadow IT solutions.
More than one third of organisations worldwide have experienced a ransomware attack or breach that blocked access to systems or data in the last 12 months. These attacks and breaches are likely to continue. Businesses need to be able to guarantee the security of their data, employees and digital workplace through robust security protocols that address ever-shifting security threats.
Why working with an expert partner ensures success
When considering a digital workplace strategy, it’s important to remember that ad hoc plans seldom lead to cohesive environments, and it is important to align the three core elements: cloud, data, and security. Without any one of them the strategy is likely to struggle or fail, and organisations risk losing their competitive edge.
It can be challenging to balance a holistic strategy to extract all the benefits of digital workplaces but enlisting the help of an expert partner means businesses can benefit from their experience and help create a blueprint for continued success. Working with a partner provides a range of options, alongside expert guidance, so businesses can rest assured that no matter where they are in their business lifecycle, they will be taking the right collaborative approach for their organisation.
By coordinating these services into a unified, managed solution an organisations’ employees are empowered to access what they need, when they need from any location using any device, securely. Not only will this type of access enable employees and drive productivity – but it will increase collaboration between teams. To collaborate more effectively in the intricately interwoven digital workplace of the present, and future – will be a key differentiator for businesses coming out of the pandemic.