In a post-covid world, the ability to create flexible workspaces with scalable, cloud-based technology on a large scale will not just be critical to business strategies, but also crucial to organisational success in aligning with the hybrid workplace model as offices start to re-open in the UK and across the world.
Prior to the pandemic, cloud-based working was already being widely adopted to support agility, scalability, disaster recovery, and other key operational functions within an organisation.
When the pandemic struck back in early 2020, the adoption of cloud technologies accelerated as there was an unprecedented need for organisations to be able to access their documents and network systems from anywhere as employees transitioned to remote working. A study from Synergy Research Group found that “cloud spending rose 37% to $29 billion in the first quarter of 2020 alone.” With the rapid growth of cloud technologies, in-house IT teams quickly learnt that on premise systems simply did not scale to meet the needs of their global workforce needing to collaborate remotely.
Why should your organisation switch to a cloud-based strategy?
As many organisations begin planning their return to office strategy, they are looking to invest more heavily in innovative technologies that will keep their hybrid workforces connected, irrespective of location.
The benefits of workflows implemented in the cloud bring several key benefits for IT teams who are supporting a remote and / or hybrid workforce.
Streamlining total cost of ownership
The first benefit is that leveraging the cloud streamlines the total cost of ownership for the organisation. Each time a member of your IT team has to attend to a hardware reset or simple IT fix it reduces the time that they could be completing other high value tasks.
Control and management via the cloud can take on some of this burden, while allowing IT teams to conduct updates, manage devices, and deploy security updates remotely. This reduces not just the cost, but also translates into business continuity for an organisation by removing the disruption of managing systems on-premises.
The need to support more devices on the network will only increase as more companies opt to move to a hybrid or remote model long-term, so the flexibility to scale up or down depending on how workplace needs change, is another important benefit of cloud-based systems.
Operational efficiency whilst working remotely
Another cloud benefit is operational efficiency and the ability to centrally manage the technology including physical devices -- whether they are in office or remote.
Pre-pandemic, a medium sized office may have only had a small team managing IT needs for personal computers, along with a handful of meeting spaces lacking most AV or communication technology.
This same IT team is now tasked with managing not only the IT systems, but communications technology that is likely being deployed across all the meeting spaces and offices. IT leaders need to consider cloud services for enabling their IT teams to manage and operate the expanded technology environment before more workers return to the office.
Creating a socially distanced workplace
Creating safe, socially distanced working environments that can efficiently bring teams together from anywhere is the new threshold that many organisations are eager to meet so that staff can return to a safe and covid-compliant workplace.
With multiple covid-19 vaccines in full rollout, there is renewed hope that organisations will soon be able to collaborate in person and in an office environment. With this being said, the reality is that many companies have seen the value that remote working can bring to employee satisfaction and productivity, and will therefore opt to leverage a hybrid working strategy long-term.
The flexibility to support in-house & remote working teams highlights the need for many organisations to invest in cloud-based technologies to support the workflows of the future hybrid workplace. IT leaders should prepare by moving as much of their communications technology to cloud-based infrastructure and services as possible, to enable a smooth transition for whatever the future of work holds, whether that be office based or remote.