Blog: IT Leaders Identified Top 5 Digital Capabilities for the Future
Roughly a year ago, organizations found themselves with just weeks or days to move as many employees as possible to work from home. For most, the expectation was that it would be temporary, and the focus was on a speedy transition over implementing long-term strategies. In a May 2020 TechRepublic interview, our president, Mick Slattery, explained that "IT departments are just getting people out there, productive, getting them the equipment they need, the connectivity. Now I think it's time to switch from remote-lite to remote right."
IT initiatives will shift over time, but the top priority will always be security and keeping your organization's technology operational. That's the foundation. As new trends emerge and your environment continues to change, just like an outdated home, it's time to renovate. With a distributed workforce demanding a high-functioning digital workplace, your IT department requires long-term solutions and new capabilities to meet its priorities.
Recently, we worked with Omdia to gather insights on the current challenges associated with a distributed workforce and the related impacts on business priorities and planning around digital workplace transformations. Omdia surveyed CIOs, CFOs, CTOs, CMOs, CHROs, IT Directors, and IT Operations Managers, and here's what these IT leaders identified as the top five digital capabilities for the future:
1. Centralized and Automated Employee Self-service and Support
In the initial transition to working from home, it was not atypical for employees to sweep their various IT issues under the rug with the assumption they'd soon be back in the office where technicians would be available just around the corner to support them. A large pile-up of support requests can overwhelm any IT department. Realizing remote work is here to stay and acknowledging the risks to productivity and security, leaders are now focusing on upgrading their IT support to be more available and easily adaptable.
In creating this seamless and ready-now support experience, it comes as no surprise that the IT leaders we surveyed with Omdia said a centralized and automated self-service and support solution is most important to them. Functioning as an IT support hub, often in the form of a portal like our CompuCom Connect, this solution is easily accessible to remote employees. Considering the different home environments, age ranges, and time zones of your employees, components like 24x7 multichannel support should be included. Additionally, as there are many IT issues that occur commonly or require quick fixes, automated tools like self-service password reset and chatbots are not only a benefit to your users but can lighten the load for your IT department as well.
2. IT Operations Automation
Automation not only adds value to how you provide employee support, but it can also ease your IT operations burden. Resource restraints and general human error can make it impossible to keep a pulse on the health of your IT infrastructure 100% of the time—especially when your employees can work from anywhere. That's where remote diagnostics and AI-powered IT self-healing tools come into play. Freeing up technician time and offering more reliable issue detection and resolution, this capability provides high-security value for businesses.
Of the many remote-work challenges, one that has proved especially difficult for IT departments has been managing endpoints when people (and the devices they work on) can be located anywhere. Fortunately, proactive tools can help ease this strain. For example, Intel vPro offers features like advanced threat detection and remote manageability of devices which provides better visibility and control of endpoints.
3. Device as a Service
In light of the last year's disruption, the ability to remain agile and adaptable is of obvious importance. As businesses look to the future, adopting scalable IT solutions, specifically subscription-based services, can be key in enabling greater organizational flexibility. Offering predictable IT spending with flexible payments, Device as a Service helps to optimize costs, empowering businesses to purchase what they need when they need it. As there are many "as a Service" solutions available—and widely popular in today's market—IT leaders are not limited to devices alone. Desktop as a Service, Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a service, and Network as a Service are also options. Cost and scalability are not the only benefits to having these "as a Service" solutions in place. As technology continues to change, upgrade, and innovate, these solutions enable you to offer your users easier access to the latest and greatest technology.
4. IT Asset Disposition
Whether employees are working from home or the office, businesses need their technology to be ready to go—configured, tested, tagged, and secured. Specifically with remote work, the challenge for IT departments is maintaining full visibility of devices and peripherals that can now be located anywhere. A managed services provider can help take this burden off of IT teams by handling the full lifecycle asset management from start to finish. When we refer to the "finish" part of "start to finish," this does not mean when the employee receives their asset, but much later when it is time for them to dispose of it.
Making up 70% of the toxic waste in the U.S., less than a quarter of e-waste is recycled. From a sustainability standpoint alone, the proper disposal of e-waste is critical. On top of this, valuable data and information is stored on employee devices, and when devices are not disposed of properly, there's a high security risk. With employees working from home, IT asset disposition has become more difficult for IT teams and employees as there is no longer an office with designated places to drop off broken or outdated devices. It's important to make disposing of e-waste a simple process for remote employees. It should be as easy as an employee submitting an online ticket for a broken device, a box with easy-to-read packing instructions shipped to their door, and a scheduled pick up from their doorstep.
5. Process and Workflow Automation Platforms
By empowering employees to be more productive, process and workflow automation platforms can be a real game-changer for any organization. According to McKinsey, 45% of work activities could be automated by adapting already demonstrated technology. With workplace automation, the potential benefits are endless, like higher quality and improved reliability, better communications, reduced redundancies, more transparency, and ease of collaboration. It makes sense that the business leaders see this as a top digital capability for the future.
When done thoughtfully, implementing such platforms can take businesses even further. Leveraging a managed services partner can offer an in-depth examination of your current business environment and processes. By doing an evaluation like this, you can find specifically which areas of your business can truly benefit from integrating automated platforms. Then, they can get to work helping to manage the implementation and optimization of each platform.
Planning the Future of Your Digital Workplace
These five capabilities are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to paving the way for your digital workplace. Omdia's findings center around the employee experience in the new normal plus business leaders' top concerns and objectives. We invite you to check it out and explore the possibilities for your future. Learning about which initiatives to include in your IT business strategy for the future is just the beginning. The next step is knowing where you want to go and then knowing how to get there. If you'd like to explore how we see the future and can help get you there, we encourage you to also check out this whitepaper on how CompuCom sees the future.