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Embrace the do-anything-from-anywhere economy with technology

By , Sr. Director – Client Solutions Group - MERAT, Dell Technologies.
Africa , 13 May 2021
Haidi Nossair, Sr. Director – Client Solutions Group - MERAT, Dell Technologies.
Haidi Nossair, Sr. Director – Client Solutions Group - MERAT, Dell Technologies.

Digital transformation is not new. Just 11 years ago, there was a significant transformation when employees and students started to bring their own devices to work and school – known as “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD). BYOD initiated a sea of change in IT processes and policies to address end-users accessing data with devices not owned, secured or managed by the organisation.

As the first chapter of the digital workplace, BYOD introduced the notion of productivity regardless of location.

This past year, another digital transformation was necessitated by the need to, seemingly overnight, enable users to work and learn from anywhere. Many organisations had to accelerate their own digital capabilities to protect their employees, students, patients and communities. Instead of going to work, school, restaurants or out shopping, technology enables it to come to us. As a result, this do-from-anywhere world is here to stay, and we’ll continue to see people do more from wherever they are.

The question to ask is, are organisations prepared to build upon these capabilities so that they are ready for the infinite possibilities of the future?

It’s time for organisations to reassess their remote work and learning capabilities, in order to create a digital workplace that’s ready for anything and ensures productivity from anywhere with a secure and agile infrastructure to enable it. Even though the location of work or school may look different, the user experience should remain top-of-mind.

Employees, teachers and students all want faster, more secure, easier-to-use devices, collaboration and access to the tools they need to get their job done. IT needs automation and flexibility to deliver these requirements and enable innovation.

Personalised productivity from anywhere

Creating a digital workplace that enables end-users to work or learn from anywhere with the productivity, security and the personalisation they need is vital. To do this, you need personalised user experiences and intelligent collaboration for seamless productivity. One of the biggest challenges to productivity is technology that works against the end-user by being slow and unreliable, resulting in user frustration and downtime.

Alternatively, a positive user experience leads to greater productivity, engagement, motivation and satisfaction.

The starting point is to develop personas based on how and where a person gets work done. This persons mapping will enable your organisation to create the optimal experience at the lowest cost. With too few personas, you will overprovision resources that could exceed the needs of users with the simplest requirements. If you make too many personas, it won’t be manageable. With the right number of personas for your organisation, you can provision the right type of device, accessories, connectivity, apps and data for each, creating the best user experience in the most cost-effective way. For example, your personas could include desk centric users, on-the-go-pros or technical users. The needs of each persona such as the environment they work in and the app they require would differ and therefore so should the technology they use.

The future of work must be secure and agile to support remote users

Optimising your infrastructure with reliable and secure access to applications and data – whether running on-premises, in the cloud or both – is necessary to support users who are working and learning remotely.

The threat landscape, which continuously grows and evolves, is taking advantage of the vulnerabilities caused by remote work and school. According to research conducted on behalf of VMware Carbon Black, there has been a 148% spike in ransomware attacks on global organisations amid COVID-19.

You need to stay ahead of the cybercrime curve to keep your endpoints and infrastructure protected. In fact, according to the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index Report 2020 for South Africa, data privacy and cyber security is cited as one of the top five barriers to progressing digital transformation agendas.

What can we do now to help us in the future?

The organisational digital transformation we are embarking on today, will equip us with the flexibility we need to adjust to the demands of the future. Adopting and adapting technology will allow for geographically diverse, empowered workers to do more with less.

Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud are already rapidly changing how we work – from needing to deploy, secure, manage and support devices from the cloud to automating redundant processes and tasks that will free up employees to be more innovative – businesses need to seamlessly adapt to a new world of work that’s constantly evolving. However, we must ensure that we approach change carefully.

Digital transformation can be technologically complex and financially challenging. To ensure that we succeed now and beyond these uncertain times, we need to start small which we call ‘do it light’ then evolve by putting together an end to end remote work strategy that includes defining your personas, required applications, devices, accessories, security and deployment and manageability and this is what we call ‘do it right’.This will lay the foundations for success.

At the start of the pandemic, we saw companies quickly transform to enable their staff to work from home so that business could continue. Now, companies are putting a greater emphasis on this pivot - reprioritising tech investments in securing remote workforces, implementing tools to keep staff working productively from home and more.

There is no doubt the hybrid workplace model is here to stay. To navigate these changes now and into the future, we need to adopt adaptable technologies that accommodate new ways of working seamlessly and securely.

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