Nick McAlister, Senior Director, EMEA Channel & Partner Go To Market, VMware
Did you know that 68% of businesses still have no detailed vision or plan in place to realize a hybrid future? Nearly two years on from the sudden, mandatory shift to remote working, organizations finally have some breathing space to be more strategic in delivering the permanent hybrid working model that employees now expect.
Developing this strategy and translating it into action is a big ask. It requires rethinking how organizations approach technology and the delivery of services, as well as the perception of the working environment and productivity. Which is why bringing in outside expertise in the form of technology, industry and solutions partners is so important, to help find the balance between anywhere working and user experience. But what does this support look like?
Moving forward with a new strategy should start with taking a step back and taking stock of the current environment. As Ashley Richardson, Digital Workplace Chief Technologist at Computacenter, told me when we recently discussed how partners can help organizations offer a hybrid experience at work: “the last two years have been a crash course in the dos and don’ts of hybrid working. For many customers, opportunities for change still exist given many of the solutions they introduced at the start of the pandemic were quick fixes. As partners, our job is to help them identify what those are, establish the hybrid model they want to deliver and create a roadmap to get there.” You can catch up on our conversation in the video below:
For many, that roadmap will start with security. At the beginning of the pandemic, security was relaxed to get employees up and running at home, and many organizations are still suffering the consequences. Partners are well-placed to advise customers on how they can move away from a more traditional, perimeter-based approach to security, and instead put in place the more modern zero-trust model. Rather than taking the traditional approach to implicitly trust anyone inside the network, zero-trust takes the opposite approach. It automatically trusts nothing inside or outside a company’s ecosystem. This means it requires verification of trust prior to allowing application access, and when that access is granted, it is only to those with assigned privileges.
By fixing security with a zero-trust model, IT teams will be able to align it better with user experience, and ensure it can be adapted in the future to align with future changes to working practices.
After living with a form of hybrid work for some time now, employees are starting to uncover and be more vocal about poor user experiences, and expecting employers to respond. These poor user experiences are being driven by issues such as VDI not being provisioned correctly, and persistent reliance on VPN. Workstyle analysis is key to combatting these issues, Richardson says: “we assess where employees work, how they work, the apps they use and then help customers deliver that user experience through innovative use of technology. For example, reducing the barriers to working through self-provisioning, positioning security as an enabler and automating to reduce the cost of services.”
As they lost line of sight of employees, many employers also scrambled for ways to monitor their work, with 70% of businesses turning to surveillance tools to monitor staff. It proved a gilt-edged, with 41% of companies who are currently in the process of implementing device monitoring seeing “drastically increased” or “increased” employee turnover. Rather than going down the surveillance route, companies should consult with partners and work with employees to understand where monitoring can be helpful, where it crosses a line and most importantly, how it can support better productivity and performance.
For Gianpiero Porchia, BU Manager, On Premise IT, Filippetti this is where partners can provide real value, by “helping drive organizational and cultural change alongside technological change to focus on performance measurement rather than on controlling employees within the working environment."
As customers begin establishing hybrid working models that work for them, partners play two roles. The technical expert that helps put in place the foundations, such as zero-trust security, to deliver the kinds of experiences that employees now expect. And the experience expert. Customers need partners to help them understand what will enable employees to do their jobs wherever they are, in whatever way works best for them, based on their rich experience and specialized expertise.
In this new era of anywhere working, getting this model right is no longer an option. As Porchia says, “the very deep transformation of organizational models imposed by the pandemic has taught businesses that anywhere working – adopted in a structured manner, through tools and technologies that guarantee flexibility, productivity and security at the highest levels – improves collaboration among individuals. Not only that, but it also produces remarkable economic savings and helps attract talent, too. Encouraging and supporting companies to adopt anywhere working means helping strengthen their competitive position, making them more competitive”.
If you are interested in finding out more about the new rules for a new era of work and how partners can help get you there, take a look at our latest research into The Virtual Floorplan.
To learn more about VMware’s Partner organization and to find a trusted Partner for your business, visit our VMware Partner Connect page.