Supporting a hybrid approach to productivity is a top priority for IT leaders looking toward what’s next. In this TechTalk, Brian Gatke and Erica Miles of Connected Workforce discuss key considerations for organizations adopting long-term remote work practices.
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Published November 9, 2020
Hi, my name is Brian Gatke and I oversee the portfolio for Connected Workforce here at Insight and that's where we develop and bring our offerings to market. And I'm joined by Erica Miles today who is on the frontline. She runs one of our solution architect teams.
So, IT was underscored by this pandemic. They really got to rise into the occasion and get people working from home. As we go forward, it has to be a lot more strategic in nature. I think it's going to draw in a lot of the other departments, facilities, HR. People are going to have to come together and really continue what is going to be the new normal. And Insight's done a really great white paper called "The Future of Work," and encourage everyone to look it up. And that's what we're going to talk about a little bit today.
So, there's a few main themes in this paper. I'd ask you, Erica, since you know it quite well, why don't you kick us off with what hybrid workforce is?
Sure, so hybrid workforce is really that shift to where work gets done. So, it's businesses responding to the fact that regular work will now be done in various environments. So that could be remote, 100% remote, it could be 100% onsite, or it could be a split shift where I'm working in the office two days a week, and maybe I'm working from home three days a week. And I would say that shift came from post-COVID, 80 million Americans were forced abruptly to work from home, and businesses had to respond to that. And prior to COVID, 42% of Americans worked at least one day a week from home. Post-COVID, Gartner is saying it's going to be 82%.
That's huge, right?
Yeah, it is. And a third never want to return (laughs). They want to stay working from home. They want to remain at home.
Who wants to?
I know this is working, and there's been a lot of positives to it, but I think there's a comradery that some of us are going to want to get back to. I know I want to get back to the clients, so we'll see, but thank you.
Yeah, hybrid workforce is definitely what I mean by the new norm.
The other themes in the paper is digital engagement, and this is really about, well, what we're doing. We're engaging digitally as employees, and there's lots of ways to do that. I think everyone's getting comfortable with video and IM and platforms like Microsoft Teams, but it's really more expansive. Our clients are going into all sorts of digital engagement where we're helping them interact with their customers through digital means. And we're all feeling in our personal lives as examples. I mean, we go do meetings. We go to church. We go to yoga online now. It's quite normal. We're ordering groceries. That's digital engagement.
So, the paper does cover a lot of that. And as you heard Erica talk about, there was a lot of statistics and things, so good information.
And then the last theme is the subscription economy. And this is where really Gartner also says this is how people will consume IT services. And we do it today in our personal lives by being able to, and this is all about liquidity, it's being able to subscribe in and out of a different service. And it's about also not having to have a lot of upfront cashflow. It then creates cashflow. It also allows customers to not be bound to long-term contracts and so forth. So, subscription economy is a great way to consume managed services, and so forth.
And I would say subscription economy is probably one of the largest ones that we're seeing. Everyone's coming to the table and saying, "I want this kind of X as a service model, so that I can budget." But that flexibility, like you mentioned, where I'm going to have users that I want to pay for what I'm using right now.
That's right, yeah. And so then, there's these considerations. And I want to, on this next part, since you're so close to the clients and their problems and things that we're out doing together, there's some other concepts in the paper. One is just reconceiving the office and what it is. And we talked a lot about that. This is my office. It's just in my home and yours as well. But as you said in hybrid workforce, it can be anywhere on the road and in the coffee shop, and what have you. That requires new architectures.
Obviously, cloud is big here. It requires new office configurations. What is that campus going to look like in the future when we actually go back there? Is it really going to be what it was? And then a security's big in this, in this piece of work and manage endpoint, which we're really into these days at Insight, and that is how we keep the endpoint healthy and computing. So, let's talk a little bit about maybe a client or two that you're working with and the ways that they're embracing some of these new concepts pre pandemic and post pandemic.
So, I would say every client right now is addressing those four considerations you brought up. They are not coming to us and naming them by the four, naming them by name, but based on the services that they're asking for, their requirements now, that is what they're addressing. They're addressing, "How do I work in the office? How do I maintain business continuity? "And then “How do I budget this, this new environment that I'm launching?"
So, I have a particular client in the healthcare industry that we're working with now, and they had some major pain points. So, one was they needed to address a flexible work schedule. So, they know in 2021, any business employees are not going back to the office. Those are going to stay home. And they have a group of employees that are actually going to work two days from the office and three days at home. So, they're implementing flexible split shifts as well, but they also have the users have to be on site, because they work at clinics and they're in the healthcare industry.
They also had a need to make sure they maintain service levels. Because it's healthcare, business continuity is very important to them. They also have a need for device security. So, they have to ensure that there is compliance of their endpoint. So, it's no longer Insight come in and you push patches down to my device. It's Insight come in and you push patches. If that's not successful within X number of days, we need to get this device off of our network so that we are remaining secure at all steps in the process. And then--
That sounds like something even more important when you have all your workers out in any different environment. They're not behind a firewall at the traditional campus. So, okay, makes sense.
And then lastly, I would say it's that managed service, like you mentioned managed endpoint solution, where they're asking us to manage the OS, the applications, identity and access management, but also wrapping all of that with a tool. So, utilizing tools like Workspace ONE and Intune and Jamf, so that they have visibility into those devices, reporting, and management.
And then lastly, it's back to that financial construct of, "I need to do all of that at a per user per month price, so I can manage it and I can flex up and flex down as needed."
And lastly, one interesting service offering we're talking about with them is that need for virtual desk side support. So originally when you're in an office, when you have a large number of employees in the same space, you may have centralized inventory, and you have a person that's coming on coming to the desk and fixing something. Now, you can't do that. No one's in the office. So, there is a need for virtual. We call it virtual desk side support where I'm scheduling an appointment and someone's calling me, same as I'm calling you. We're walking through some troubleshooting steps, but most importantly, I am getting you a replacement out really quickly. So, we're recognized and so we're using centralized inventory to get a device out next day. And then if you need help setting it up, we can also schedule an appointment to do that as well, but we're also flexing that.
So, this particular client, they have times during the year where they're going to be in the office a little bit more than normal, 'cause they have projects that happen every year, same time, but they also have times when they're not going to be in the office. So, we're reflecting that where it's virtual desk side in addition to onsite.
That's awesome. Yeah, the flexibility, it sounds like they are clearly having to solve a lot of problems there. And what I'm hearing is cloud architectures, manage endpoint, being able to keep everything healthy from a cloud-based architecture. Keeping it healthy, but if not, there's alternatives, there's a virtual desk side. They can get help. We can leverage one of Insight's big assets, which is forward and reverse logistics and quickly get them back up and computing, subscription based I'm hearing. So, this is a great example and absolutely the beginning of many, many deals, and clients probably where they're heading this post pandemic.
Right, and then there's also, Brian, that focus on user experience. So maybe we have the right service levels in place so we're measuring quantitative service levels of I'm going to get you a device in X number of hours or X number of days.
But, I'm also looking at nine quantitative things like are my users adopting this new way of service? Do we have a lot of scheduling for the virtual desk side support? Are they adopting the new cloud-based services that we're putting in place, and how are they responding to that? So, a lot of them in user experience as well.
Yeah, and in my world, we're working on some of the future stuff, which is, and when we do get back to that campus, how will conference rooms work? How will your device interact with any number of conference room setups that are happening on that campus? Will you be able to schedule into that and do impromptu meetings? Because a lot of clients are also not going to put back in place assigned desks. They're going to have a lot more hoteling, a lot more different size conferencing. So, we're looking at a couple of the solutions and offerings that we think our clients are going to want when they get back to campus as well.
Well, that's a nice teaser of the paper we're talking about, "The Future of Work." And please look that paper up. If you'd like to see any more Tech Talks, Insight has a whole array of different Tech Talks like these that you can dive into. We appreciate your time. Thank you, Erica, for joining us.
Thank you for having me.
Everyone, have a good day.