There is a silver lining to all the challenges and disruption that occurred in 2020. IT leaders and organizations are getting used to dealing with some level of constant change.
One of the biggest changes this past year was the shift to remote work. Generally speaking, IT used to support remote work only in absolutely necessary instances. This was particularly true in Germany, where working ways have always been more conservative. Recently, there’s been a lot of speculation and uncertainty around what work will look like after the pandemic. That reality will look different for every organization and region. The only consensus is that the way we do business is changing — even for organizations planning to make a full return to the physical office.
For many businesses, remote work is here to stay and that means IT leaders will need to rethink their strategies to continue to evolve. Here are three resolutions for your IT team to consider in 2021 to support this monumental shift.
1. Reposition strategy to support limited office work
Open-space concept offices may feel like a distant dream. And the offices of yesterday will continue to be a distant memory for some as the pandemic has driven many organizations to become permanently remote. Rather than everyone coming to work, many organizations will instead encourage employees to come into the office only to meet and collaborate as a team. Their desks will remain at home, or wherever that individual might be. While there are certainly companies whose employees must be ‘in office’, remote work will remain the general trend. IT leaders will need to continue to adapt their strategies when it comes to technology infrastructure, management, security and governance to support this shift.
2. Dial up security to support remote work
For many companies, security hasn’t been taken as seriously as it should have been in recent years. Now with an increasingly distributed workforce, this will have to change. Most assets and devices are no longer located in a traditional, physical office meaning it's harder to keep track of what’s happening in your IT environment. To make sure your organization is keeping up with the appropriate levels of security, start by looking at hardware and your entire software landscape. What’s being used? Does it meet your company’s security standards? How is it being used and by whom? These and other questions will be increasingly important in ensuring a safe digital workplace.
3. Do more, with less
The pandemic certainly slowed down business for many organizations but even if it didn’t impact yours, CIOs today must take a stringent look at the technology they have and optimize it for the highest ROI. In 2020, businesses implemented technologies they needed to stay operational and keep their employees connected. But now, it’s time to optimize and remove what you don’t need.
There are regional differences to this approach – most English-speaking countries in the EU, the U.S. and even Australia look to implement at say, 80% with the intent of going back and optimizing later. This used to be an acceptable approach, but after the uncertainty, last year, it's more important than ever to examine your licensing against your software usage and your cloud services and cut the unused and unnecessary. This will save you money and reduce risk come audit time.
Preparing for the future
We can start to better understand and prepare for the future of work by looking around us today. Employees are working off home networks, on either their own laptops or one supplied by the business. They rely on cloud-based collaboration tools and they dial into your networks via VPN or other tools to access the data they need. For many organizations, the distributed workforce is here to stay and in 2021 IT teams will need to find more ways to support it.
CIOs will continue to have a degree of uncertainty as to what comes next. But by improving visibility over your technology, you can think strategically about the technology you’re using, how it’s being used, and how your business can be better equipped for the future.