The pandemic has changed how and where we work, with an increased reliance on technology.  In this article we focus on the rapidly proliferating “hybrid” buzzword. Will it be your stumbling block or strategic foundation?

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Tactical execution was a must against a backdrop of uncertainty

As we move towards an emergence from the pandemic, many companies are working hard to turn around their fortunes, whilst some have thrived. We would all of course prefer to be in the later camp but from the conversations we have had with many business leaders there are many who are still devoting enormous energy to survival.

Tactical execution was a top priority for many last year, stay afloat above all else – so many of the more transformative projects were put on hold. We have witnessed this at first hand across many geographies and many business verticals.

Changing attitudes

Use of certain technology has been essential for most businesses during lockdown, and in many cases, short term fixes to allow remote working were implemented but it also forced people to use tech that they were already paying for or using to a limited extent, like Microsoft 365 or Zoom. But there was never sufficient critical mass for it to become the default. Now necessity has forced us to use it, in a much more effective way.

The emergence of Hybrid 

The term hybrid in the context of IT and indeed the wider business environment has existed for many years. It sits aside many important business concepts. The combination of home and work environments and specifically for IT – cloud or on-premise integration – and the design of systems.

The encouraging news is that we have spoken with many companies, who are picking their way through the best way to flourish in the newly emerging landscape. They are looking at new ways of working and moving forward with opportunistic IT programs that transform products, our relationships with our customers, and our organisations.  Amongst top trends we see are:

  • standardizing business processes
  • automation
  • analytics and data management
  • transitioning from manual to digital processes
  • supporting a remote workforce
  • integration

We think that smart use of tech is essential for post-lockdown success, and showcase some of the key technologies below

  • Be prepared for a more agile and flexible work environment

With the recent advancements in IT infrastructure and tools, as well as the rapid adoption of collaboration technologies, many employees will expect more flexibility moving forward. Many of our customers are using this opportunity to assess what their employees will need in the future, in terms of physical space and digital tools.

For example, the creation of more flexible and collaborative work environments to enable innovation will allow continued improvement to the  employee experience and support the ability to attract, retain, and engage talent.

  • IT infrastructure that follows your employees no matter where they go.

Along with physical spaces, the plan for extreme flexibility should include IT infrastructure (servers and software), such as cloud computing. This will enable employees to work safely from home and receive the same experience they would if they were in the office. There are other benefits too. Your office-based systems become more efficient, more reliable, and more protected against cyber-attack.

Alongside that, investing in dedicated connections to the corporate network to protect essential services to customers and safeguard against data theft and cybercrime, is another good idea. This will prevent difficulties with network connectivity and sharing broadband capacity with increased people working from home.

We tackle this subject in a previous blog post so for more details and benefits of cloud, and connectivity, read more here.

  • Powerful collaboration tools that connects people—anywhere and anytime

When the pandemic compelled people everywhere to shift to remote work, video conferencing was the primary tool that people used to connect and keep work moving. Within months, people were participating in 55 percent more digital meetings compared to pre-COVID-19—and we all felt the related stress and burnout. Video conferencing will always be important, but it is just one tool, and doesn’t provide the communication and collaboration infrastructure needed to power hybrid work.

Microsoft Teams combines meet, chat, call, and collaborate in a single place—all integrated with the Office apps and business process automation tools. It provides an organising layer that supports the flow of work across the organisation.

Teams also offers a meeting rooms where you can connect people working in the office to those working from home, which is really important in a hybrid working environment and is a great way of making meetings inclusive and interactive for everyone – wherever they are.

  • And last and certainly not least, using technology to help preserve employee wellbeing

Technology is only as good as the humans that use it and the reasons why they use it. We think we need to consider that Teams/Zoom actually might not be the sole answer. Yes, we need to be social and keep in contact, however, being in front of a camera six or seven hours a day is very demanding physically. People need downtime. From our collective personal experience, give yourself a break. It has been a tough time and many things in life will still be challenging for a time to come. Don’t be afraid to sometimes admit defeat, close the laptop and return another day!

We all know that there is not one single path for how companies will move their software and workloads and process to embrace the new environment, how much will be hybrid, or how much will remain on-premise. Choice and knowledge are critical to charting every customer’s strategy since environments will vary from customer to customer.

So, if hybrid is going to be the buzzword du jour, then is hybrid going to be your Achilles’ heel or a battering ram to blast through technology inertia? With some upfront planning and critical conversations on where your organization wants to go, we believe it can be the latter – and the results will show.

If you want to discuss how we can help you with the strategies and know-how to build your hybrid workplace, Contact us today or talk to one of our team on 0844 560 0202.

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