Focus: Reshaping IT Services and looking for advantages
As a CIO you face a whole set of new challenges as people start returning to the workplace. In particular, you’re going to be dealing with ‘hybrid’ working models – some staff working from home and connecting remotely, some in the office and some doing a mix of both – which many business leaders are already considering as the ‘new normal’.
Some companies have extended their existing Citrix or RDS deployment to enable remote working during the pandemic. Amid the general fluidity and novelty of the situation and the need to find quick, pragmatic solutions, most people have simply embraced and made the best of whatever was available. As they return to ‘normal’ working, however, they’ll expect a much more robust, reliable and seamless experience. For CIOs and service providers, that means ensuring your systems and services meet people’s needs – ideally equally well – wherever they happen to be working.
Whether you’re introducing, continuing or extending hybrid working in your organisation, these are some of the issues and challenges you need to consider:
- Internet speed with a mix of VPN, Citrix and office-based workers. Do you have the necessary bandwidth and firewall capacity to fully support the balance?
- IT equipment people have been using at home. Do you restore it to its pre-Covid location in the office, or double up for a fully hybrid home/office experience? Or do you bite the bullet and move entirely to laptops?
- Collaboration and conferencing with a mix of remote and office workers are likely to become the norm. Your onsite meeting rooms need to connect seamlessly to remote workers, without requiring special requests in advance from your IT team.
- You’ll need to redraw your security perimeter to fully support both office-based and remote workers. Do you need to address the security policies and implementations to meet this ‘new normal’?
- Ahead of the move, are you able to take advantage of having few or no people onsite to replace onsite LAN and WiFi services with end-user networking/WiFi in readiness for increased numbers?
- Audit the MFD/Printers to evaluate how many devices are needed and adjust the contract accordingly at the earliest convenience.
- Covid-19 doesn’t respect time. Aging software and hardware assets remain in the wild and lifecycle management still need to be addressed.
The scale and salience of these issues will obviously vary depending on your business, systems and working patterns; and there may be others that are specific to your individual situation. What’s clear is that the old, pre-pandemic world has changed, probably forever. Failing to change your IT to meet the new reality will leave you, at best, just ‘muddling through’ and at worst at a competitive disadvantage. And after all we have been through, an IT-induced drag on effectiveness, responsiveness and productivity really is the last thing any of us needs.
Chief Information Officer