Fearless Flexibility: Three Steps to the Anytime, Anywhere Workplace

Try explaining to the average ten-year-old what workplaces were like twenty years ago (aka ‘the olden days’), and they’ll look bewildered. How did people contact you when you weren’t at your desk? How did you share information? What about when you worked from home? In the space of a generation, we’ve seen tremendous changes, the extent of which is hard to comprehend for those yet to enter the workforce – and the pace is accelerating.

Much of the changes are driven by portable devices. Armed with an array of tablets, smartphones and laptops, today’s workers can serve customers, send emails and close sales on-the-move. No longer worried about physically finding a port on their computer to plug into a network, they have the freedom to boost service and productivity like never before. But how do you create an environment that is ready for the mobile workplace of the future?

Create mobile-friendly foundations

If you’re aiming for workplace flexibility, cloud is going to feature heavily. Its elasticity and ability to immediately scale allow for ideas to become a reality in record time, and it comes with a user-pays convenience. That’s all great, but when combined with traditional data centre environments, things can become very complex, very quickly. The complication of this hybrid environment impacts productivity and causes pain for an IT department trying to lead the business forward.

Reducing that operational friction is hybrid cloud leader HPE’s key priority for its new software-defined and cloud solutions. This new breed of technology streamlines operations, creating a simplified, cloud-like environment that is so fast, it is barely visible where on-premise ends and cloud begins. Why does it matter so much? When your IT team isn’t trapped in an endless tangle of infrastructure management, they are the best-positioned people to envision new apps and services that move your mobile workplace ahead.

Make it meaningful

Android users can choose from 3.8 million apps, while Apple’s app store offers a more modest 2 million. The typical user has 25 – 30 apps installed, but may heavily use only a handful. There are millions of apps, some of them beautifully made yet seldom used. Why? Users gravitate towards apps that make their life easier or more rewarding. The same applies in the mobile workplace, where employees use the apps that make a meaningful difference to them.

Making a flexible, mobile-friendly environment must take the needs of users into account. That means understanding their different roles in detail, and thinking about how they can be made easier. What information must they access? What systems do they use? What transactions must they perform? If a workplace experience is designed to suit users so that they can have a familiar workspace whether in the office, on a train, or at home, they can be more productive and require less support. Stott Hoare applies IT knowledge to improve business performance.

Secure without holding back

Securing the workplace used to be relatively simple, something that could be achieved with a small number of appliances. Mobility changed that. Mobile employees are more vulnerable than most realise, and the IT team is charged with keeping them safe online, wherever they are.

A new breed of cyber-criminal has emerged in recent years. Well-funded, highly-skilled and with resources that would give many legitimate corporations cause for jealousy, cyber-criminals play an endless game of cat-and-mouse with their target businesses. From small businesses to major corporations, nobody is obscure enough to fly below the cyber-crime radar. The challenge is to create a secure environment for users, without stifling their mobility.

There is no one single answer to the security challenge; more, the ideal is to layer technologies and policies to restrict and repel attackers. Identify devices, like those launched by HP, that feature inbuilt security to keep both users and business safer. Look for solutions with integrated security in HPE’s Nimble storage devices that uses artificial intelligence to recognise irregularities, that automates responses, and that offers visibility of your on-premise and multi-cloud environment. Their servers and networking products offer similarly integrated security, with all devices interacting to create a highly-visible security environment. Use policies to manage access, especially to admin functions. Train and educate staff regularly, so they report concerns quickly. And most of all, get regular independent security audits so that gaps can be identified and addressed. A well-protected workforce can go fearlessly about their duties, wherever they happen to be.

Time to create a fearless, flexible mobile workforce? Stott Hoare applies IT knowledge to improve business performance. Contact our experienced mobility specialists today.

 

© 2018 Stott Hoare.
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