As 2021 draws to a close, IT innovations are redefining the workplace. The traditional office as we know it is behind us, and the workforce seems to be positively moving towards the hybrid work model.
What’s on the horizon? As organizations plan to bring back the workforce to the office in either a hybrid working model or permanently allow employees to settle down in remote locations, ensuring the optimum infrastructure for business continuity becomes a priority. For this transition to occur seamlessly, organizations will continue to experiment with software-defined solutions such as the ‘virtual desktop infrastructure’, demand infrastructure as a service, or turn to hybrid cloud.
No doubt, IT decision-makers (ITDM) all around the world are stepping up to the occasion. From onboarding solutions that are successful in helping businesses scale with minor obstacles, to imagining everything as a service, the tech industry is innovating at scale. However, some challenges need problem-solving.
According to Lenovo’s new Future of Work and Digital Transformation study (2021), ITDMs of the small, medium, and large enterprises have expressed their own set of challenges with pivoting to a redefined workstation:
- Managing data security, privacy policies, and concerns with cybersecurity
- Quickly scaling up existing servers/online infrastructure
- Sourcing capital to procure new equipment and services
Employees were not far behind in expressing their concerns;these include:
- Limited or lack of seamless access to company files and intranet
- Interruption in exchange of emails and functioning of the software
These challenges observed during the global remote work revolution will continue to create problems for the future of the workplace unless ITDMs intervene and set up long-term solutions for seamless adoption of the workplace of the future.
Eliminating workflow interruptions
Working remotely has changed the way we work. Today, people have the liberty to work at their own pace and in their own time, as long as the larger business objectives are achieved. Older methods of managing IT infrastructure that supports such dynamic preferences of working are not performing as effectively. Most of the workforce tends to have a marginally low tolerance for interrupted workflow, primarily caused by high latency. ITDMs need to setup IT systems that would be available throughout the day & night, practically being managed 24×7 and running efficiently, allowing the workforce to perform their tasks without interruptions at any given time of day. Hyperconverged infrastructure solutions are uniquely suited to provide virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), supporting the need for people to work remotely across many industries.
Evolving technology without capital expenditure
CIOs believe that tech requirements, on average, change every 12-18 months. Balancing opex and capex concerns is important, and the industry has innovated to meet the challenge. Today, infrastructure as a service is possible. CIOs can access solutions that allow them to managetheir workflow on consumption-based models. Such solutions not only eliminate asset ownership and associated costs but reduce the burden of proactive monitoring, end-to-end system management, and system security. Moreover, such solutions allow the business to modify the IT infrastructure according to their business requirements. ITDMs can then enable businesses to scale without incremental capital investments.
Hybrid cloud over public cloud
Managing workloads from on-premise data centersoffers better management and security while the public cloud is seen as a cost-effective alternative lacking in security. As the pandemic transformed the idea of remote working, it simultaneously enabled hybrid cloud to emerge as a viable option. Choosing a cloud strategy that enables ready-to-deploy cloud solutions that manage your data in a hybrid and multi-cloud environment is essential. ITDMs need agile and preconfigured edge-to-hybrid cloud solutions and the ability to choose their HCI provider. That will enable ITDMs to harness the flexibility, scalability, and economics of the cloud.
Sharing ownership of security in the workplace
Security is everybody’s responsibility. Even with strong security controls, keeping cybercriminals out of the network will remain challenging if an organization fails to adapt to the changing scenario. With data localization and data security being top of mind, companies prefer hybrid cloud to keep sensitive information in-market & secure. Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) enables enterprises to clone a desktop, host it on a central server through which only authorised employees can access this data from any device, anywhere. This has proven useful even for companies that have extremely lean IT departments. In factories, edge servers offer essential cybersecurity capabilities, including key-encrypted storage and physical security features, such as a locking bezel, as well as intrusion and tamper-detection mechanisms. In several industries, on-prem data management solutions ensure complete security of systems and data from edge to the core to the cloud.
As businesses evolve, so do the roles of each member of the organization. Data is the new currency and IT Decision makers are the new bankers. The term ‘change is the only constant’ has not been any more relevant than now. The sooner ITDMs leverage smart infrastructure solutions, the sooner they will build the workplace of the future.
The author is the Managing Director – India, Lenovo Infrastructure Solutions Group