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December 27th, 2021

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The Ultimate Workplace Technology Buyer's Guide

It's hard to remember the times before remote working technology became a staple of the workday. Thanks to fast-acting IT pros who helped companies deploy remote working technology, the transition to offsite work was hugely successful. But it hasn't been without its fair share of headaches.

Here are 3 simple ways IT pros can deal with the biggest challenges they have with remote work technology.

When working from home became the new normal

It goes without saying that the pandemic has forced businesses to take a long, hard look at their information technology (IT) strategies.

The pandemic challenged old-school attitudes about technology and remote working, especially the idea that productivity requires in-office attendance — what researchers refer to as the "body-in-seat" mentality.

Sudden and unexpected mandatory lockdowns left businesses scrambling to empty their buildings and send everyone home. Rather than sitting idly by, IT leaders got to work rolling out the remote working technology that would be required for their organization to support working from home (WFH).

Technology and remote working in 2020 and 2021

Each year, Gartner surveys more than 2,000 CIOs to gather insights on business practices and to help leaders gauge their own strategies against the backdrop of current trends and forecasts. Just 7 months after the outbreak of COVID-19, in October of 2020 — the annual survey found that CIOs were increasing investments in several key areas:

  • Cybersecurity solutions (61%)
  • Business intelligence and data analytics (58%)
  • Cloud solutions (53%)

Widespread adoption of technology and remote work made it possible for enterprises to maintain operations at a time when most workers couldn't be onsite. Based on the findings from Gartner's 2021 CIO survey, there's an urgency for tech leaders around the world to build off that momentum.

Over the course of the pandemic, a shift toward fully remote work and hybrid work models has underscored the importance of investing in remote working technology that makes collaboration easier for a distributed workforce.

"The better CIOs perform for the business, the more the business will ask of them next year."

Andy Rowsell-Jones, Gartner

Given that outcome, CIOs have established themselves as creative problem solvers by increasing their involvement in higher-value, more strategic initiatives. But as Andy Rowsell-Jones, Vice President and Distinguished Analyst in Gartner's CIO & Executive Leadership Research team warned: "The better CIOs perform for the business, the more the business will ask of them next year."

We're approaching the two-year mark of life in the new normal, so what's next?

Top challenges with remote working technology

Now that more companies have embraced emerging technology and remote working has become standard, remote working technology is a source of strength. But remote working technology also comes with plenty of challenges. Here's how to overcome them.

Keeping company data secure

In terms of their technology and remote working systems, cybersecurity risks and data privacy are huge concerns for IT leaders today.

“There is a continued need to invest in cybersecurity as the environment becomes more challenging. A high level of composability would help an enterprise recover faster and potentially even minimize the effects of a cybersecurity incident,” according to Sinha.

You can overcome this challenge by implementing tools that monitor how employees are using networks and applications while working from home. To mitigate security risks from remote working technology and prevent data breaches , many companies are choosing to invest in solutions that look for early warning signs and report any problems.

Regularly assess your remote working technology security policies and procedures. Keeping your remote working technology secure isn't a one-time project, it requires ongoing effort, conducting reviews of your cybersecurity practices often, and regularly monitoring your remote working technology. Doing so will allow you to identify weak spots that need to be addressed and strengthened. 

Strengthen security policies and cybersecurity training practices for your remote working technology. Provide clear guidance on best practices, lay out how employees should report suspicious activity, and make sure security practices are aligned across your organization. And don't forget about cybersecurity awareness training — cybersecurity starts with employees so help teach them what to look for and what to avoid.

Remote work technology needs to be composable

There's global agreement from CIOs on the essential and urgent need to embrace "business composability" in 2022, according to Gartner's latest survey findings.

A press release announcing their 2022 CIO Survey findings defined business composability as the "mindset, technologies, and set of operating capabilities that enable organizations to innovate and adapt quickly to changing business needs.

In contrast to traditional business mindsets that viewed change as a risk, "composable thinking is the means to master the risk of accelerating change and to create new business value" explained Monika Sinha, research vice president at Gartner. It applies the principle of modularity to business assets, so companies can achieve at the scale and pace required to succeed.

And it pays off, too. Results from this survey showed 63% of CIOs at high-composability enterprises reported superior business performance in the past year compared with peers or competitors.

Whereas traditional approaches involved plan-driven, approval-based, safe governance, this new approach values "distributed, emergent, empirical, continuous, calculated risk". Analysts suggest distributing responsibilities for your technology portfolio among IT and business tech professionals.

At high-composability organizations, CIOs and technology executives have been pushing harder for iterative technology development, sharing data across systems and people, and building out integration capabilities data, analytics, and applications.

Your organization's workplace technology and remote working technology must be composable as well. Monika Sinha, research vice president at Gartner, shared this advice: “Composability needs to extend throughout the technology stack, from infrastructure that supports rapid integration of new systems and new partners to workplace technology that supports the exchange of ideas.”

Remote working technology should be easy to use

As you scope out various options for workplace technology and remote working tools, don't forget to consider the experience of your end users.

Focus on user experience, ease-of-use, and integrations. Does the solution you're evaluating have an intuitive interface? Is it easy to use and learn? If you'd like to see good digital adoption rates, make sure the solution you choose is user friendly.

One essential factor that sometimes gets overlooked is integration.

Find remote working technology that connects well with your other company applications and systems. Are there any gaps that might make using the remote working technology more difficult?

If you invest in new room reservation software and it doesn't connect to your company's calendar system, for instance, hybrid and remote employees will have to add meeting details to two different systems anytime they want to come into the office. That means something as simple as booking a room and scheduling their meeting is now more complicated and time consuming.

Choosing the right technology for 2022

A McKinsey survey of 800 executives found 85% were accelerating their use of digital workplace tools that help employees collaborate more effectively from anywhere.

Investing in technology and remote working solutions is a critical part of the transition to remote and hybrid work. But for overextended technology leaders being pulled in multiple directions, choosing the right workplace tech can be a major challenge.

Get help choosing the solution that works for everyone in our latest guide.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Teem

Teem by iOFFICE provides enterprises with space scheduling and management, workplace analytics, building, and campus wayfinding, and visitor management to help cultivate workplaces that fuel productivity, efficiency, and creativity.

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