Abhay leads business development, strategy, marketing, customer relations, and partnership efforts at 42Gears. He has successfully set up businesses around Mobility, Analytics and Big Data in his 19 years of IT experience.
The world has been fighting the COVID-19 pandemic for months with no end in sight. Thankfully, some of us are lucky to have the means to adjust to the new normal of staying home, practicing social distancing, and working remotely. It’s a tough battle and organizations around the world have risen up to the challenge of ensuring that business goes on as usual – business that means bread and butter to most, business that ensures people have everything they need – food, medical supplies, everyday essentials, and more. From the organizational point of view, however, this hasn’t been an easy feat at a time when the world seems to have come to a standstill.
There’s another side to this story, though
As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining.” These are tough times, but not all that’s happening is bad. Yes, there’s good news on the business front. Let’s see why.
We are past the phase when postponing events and travel plans would have sufficed. It’s now time for businesses to rethink their contingency plans to ensure business continuity. In the current scenario, no matter how sophisticated a company’s infrastructure is, it won’t help much if employees have to be physically present to make it work. No wonder, most organizations are taking or have already taken every possible measure to enable remote work. And the rest will soon follow suit.
We are past the phase when postponing events and travel plans would have sufficed. It’s now time for businesses to rethink their contingency plans to ensure business continuity.
That said, it won’t take long for businesses to realize that most of the work (for certain industries specifically) can be done remotely – both timely and efficiently. And this will, sooner or later, lead to a major shift.
So, what exactly is this silver lining?
Even post COVID-19, some businesses may want a part of their workforce to continue to work remotely. Why? Because this would mean accommodating fewer people in office, enabling them to shift to smaller spaces, thus lowering overhead and administrative costs significantly. It will also be a welcome change for employees – being able to work as usual without the hassle of travelling to and from office every day. With some help and preparation, there’s no denying that this will become a highly successful operating model. Companies, such as TCS and Twitter, have already started talking about it.
As companies allow more people to log in remotely, they may also consider giving employees the flexibility to use their personal devices for work, lowering device procurement and maintenance costs.
But that’s not the only way companies will benefit. As companies allow more people to log in remotely, they may also consider giving employees the flexibility to use their personal devices for work (some companies do so even now and the trend will only gain more popularity), lowering device procurement and maintenance costs.
In addition, allowing employees to work remotely means companies can hire the best without limiting themselves to any geographical location. This also means that they can hire employees without the need to create an official setup in places where they only have a small workforce. Allowing remote access may also help companies retain more employees and increase productivity. Some studies have found that employees working remotely clocked in more time, took shorter breaks, used fewer sick leaves, and got more done than their office counterparts.
Some studies have found that employees working remotely clocked in more time, took shorter breaks, used fewer sick leaves, and got more done than their office counterparts.
So enabling remote access will be a win-win situation, no doubt – one that companies should already start preparing for.
Now, let’s take a closer look
Enabling employees to work remotely is the need of the hour. But that’s just one aspect of it. Even if organizations are willing and able to allow remote access, are they capable of securing the tonnes of data that will be transmitted every day to and from servers, devices, and apps? Creating a perimeter-less organization is one thing, protecting it is another. There’s no reason to believe that the threat landscape is not evolving equally fast – or faster.
Creating a perimeter-less organization is one thing, protecting it is another. There’s no reason to believe that the threat landscape is not evolving equally fast – or faster.
And where does this leave us? Well, IT infrastructures are stretched thin. Despite working round the clock, IT professionals are struggling to plug the loopholes they didn’t even know existed before all their colleagues started logging in remotely. A remote workforce needs to be supported remotely, especially now when in-person visits aren’t possible even if they are feasible. And for once, it is not just about the time and cost involved (although these, too, are major considerations for an organization).
As is obvious, businesses can no longer treat allowing remote access as a temporary fix, which means ensuring that investments they are making on IT hold good in the long-run. For this, enterprises need to revisit their device management strategies and adopt tools that can help manage, monitor, and secure all kinds of business endpoints from a single pane of glass. They need to enable their IT teams to define access rights, configure device settings, push app updates, and troubleshoot issues from a distance. And implementing an MDM solution is the first step towards that.
However, any MDM solution businesses opt for must be robust, reliable, and scalable. The solution should not only be capable of helping them manage the entire lifecycle (deployment through decommissioning) of company-owned devices, but also be able to augment and support their BYOD strategies and policies.
Today, we are all happy about the pollution levels going down, the water becoming cleaner, the increase in animal sightings, the dip in fossil fuel consumption – in short, about the fact that our planet is apparently healing. But there’s more to the COVID-19 silver lining than meets the eye. The remote working model the pandemic has suddenly mandated may be one of the best ways to save time, money, effort, and fuel (in addition to reducing the traffic woes we’re all so fed up with).
We have all resigned to the fact that the COVID-19 crisis cannot be overcome in a day – that the comeback will be painfully slow and tedious. Our healthcare heroes are at the forefront of this war, but all of us – governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and individuals alike, also have to play our part if we are to overcome this global crisis and create a world that’s ready to face even more daunting challenges in the future. And 42Gears, for one, has a strategy ready.