The step changes in our economic reality caused by this pandemic have lead to a megatrend relating to remote working and productivity enabled by the powerful modern Internet and smart solutions we have to hand.

Remote working has proven to be an effective and productive model for employees with many organisations re-evaluating their operational models to embed a more sustainable and permanent approach to working from home.

The reality is that the working from home model that has defied the perception that employees take advantage or don’t do their jobs properly. Instead, it has translated into considerable savings on real estate rental and maintenance costs as well as having a positive effect on societal issues such as road congestion and pollution.

Agility, cost-efficiency and security are critical to ensuring that the distributed workforce enjoys an enterprise-grade experience, consistently. This introduces advanced collaboration, document sharing and remote engagement tools that connect people across multiple locations and continents.

This has been a step change in the future of technology which necessitates in a change in the way we think about IT. Technology leaders have become the masters of change and are directing their attention toward the following 4 angles:

  • A strategic review of their technology stack

Now, when CIOs think about architecting the future, it is about things like the cloud and security, governance, document and records management, compliance and productivity of the remote worker. Microsoft has seen its 365 adoption almost triple in 6 months, in fact 1 out of 5 corporate employees use a Microsoft 365 cloud service.

Businesses are going beyond technology and making sure people can really leverage it to the benefit of themselves and the business. Smart Microsoft productivity indicators and digital assistants like Cortana are showing individuals how to use workplace analytics to understand their pain points and their potential.

Power Apps provides a rapid application development environment to build custom apps for an organisation’s business needs. These apps can be delivered to remote users through existing platforms like the Intranet, making the whole digital working environment more effective and quickly responsive to the employees’ needs.

  • The “mirrored world”

The power of massive, intelligent reflection of the physical world of space and buildings in technology to enable simulation, planning and facilities management.
Space management also comes into the question with Hybrid and Hotelling office management.

Integrated Workplace Management Solutions like Archibus are actively focusing on “Back-to-work” solutions in response to this trend.

  • The democratisation of technology

As businesses are becoming increasingly digital and every employee needs to be fluent in technology. Microsoft is investing millions of dollars into the end user experience, especially into 365 and teams because this is now our digital workplace.

New features are being developed all the time, like the ability to draw down attendance registers and have subtitles and translation when someone is speaking as well as transcription services.

  • The importance of Security

Closely linked to the democratisation of the employee is the question of security. The global pandemic hit every business, network and individual, hard. It caused a surge in cybercrime and malware infections with the average monthly infection rate increasing from 0.23% in February and March 2020 by almost 30% in the following months.

Security systems and organisations and well into the Internet of Things (IoT) landscape have seen an escalation with infections rising significantly during the year.

It has become critical for individuals and organisations to recognise the risks, to protect their data, and to pay attention to their online behaviour. Many vulnerabilities exploited in 2020 were because of user error.

The actual attack vectors have also evolved with a clear trend towards information theft and spyware. This is largely due to the exceptional circumstances introduced by the pandemic. Phishing campaigns clearly became the best way to deliver malware straight to the user.

Exponant’s partner, SYNAQ has developed secure mail products as the ultimate line of defence in protecting businesses against spam, viruses and phishing attempts with advanced spam and URL threat detection, 100% virus protection, Identity Threat Protection (ITP), Data Leak Prevention (DLP).

It’s the future of human empowerment and human potential working with technology in a new way – solving some of the big problems that are intrinsic in the world today. This means that our ICT Strategy in the years to come will require will require a radical rethink.

 

Exponant’s solutions and service offerings cover the Modern Workplace; Microsoft 365, Teams and Intranets, Enterprise Content Management, Cloud services with migration to Azure, Integrated Workplace Management and Facilities, Finance and Operations as well as Security Solutions. This puts us in an ideal position to ensure our clients’ smooth transition into the workplace of the future.

 

Editorial contact Kate Elphick

Kate.Elphick@Exponant.com