Resources > The Future of Corporate IT: The Essex Business Podcast

The Future of Corporate IT: The Essex Business Podcast

The Future of Corporate IT

I recently had the pleasure of being interviewed for Rickard Luckin’s Essex Business Podcast. The episode also features interviews with Tees Law Senior Associate Jonathan Insley and Leesman’s Dr Peggie Rothe, where each of us discussed what’s next for companies who have been working from home since March.

For my part, I covered the impact lockdown has had on the future of corporate IT. In the last few months, we have fundamentally changed our relationship with technology and the way we work in general. Businesses everywhere managed to make the best of a very bad situation regarding corporate IT. Now it's time to think about how we can move forward and make the very best use of technology now and in the future. 

In particular, organisations are going to have to ask themselves some tough questions about their business objectives going forward and whether their current IT strategy is in alignment. 

You can listen to the podcast in full here, with our interview starting a 12:40.

 

 

I’ve highlighted my most important takeaways from the discussion below. To listen to the full series of Rickard Luckin’s Essex Business Podcast visit essexbusinesspodcast.co.uk

Businesses of All Sizes Have Taken Advantage of New Technology and Discovered a Smarter Way of Working

When we entered lockdown on 16th March 2020, the doomsday scenario that no business owner thought would ever happen to them happened to everyone all at once. Forced out of offices, businesses were effectively thrown into a disaster recovery scenario. Their IT systems were in full working operation; they just had no way to access them.

 

Video Call

 

Suddenly everyone saw the value of disaster recovery plans. Those businesses with plans in place were able to make the move to remote working seamlessly. Others were left trying to figure out which employees had computers at home, how good their internet was, how they could access files remotely and how they could communicate effectively with their colleagues.

Everyone adapted incredibly well, all things considered. Even those companies who were, perhaps, a little more unprepared than others managed to think on their feet, go to the marketplace and integrate a collection of tools. 

Not only that, but most businesses discovered the many benefits of working from home. Once you have the right technology in place, working from home can be just as easy as working in the office. Employees have a much better work-life balance when working remotely and are more productive, too. 

The popularity of working from home is clear for all to see. Even now, when companies can come back to the office, many employees are choosing to continue to work from home more often, with many business owners happy for the trend continue.

Technology Is Being Used to Overcome Challenges That Arise

Part of the reason that business owners have been so happy to let the remote working trend continue is the ease with which challenges can be overcome with technology.

Although the benefits of remote working are great, it does present some risks around cybersecurity. On the one hand, cybercriminals are actively trying to take advantage of weaknesses in businesses’ remote working set up. On the other, employees guards’ are down. They may be more productive when working from home, but they don’t necessarily behave the way they would in the office.

What I mean is that phishing emails are spotted easily by employees when they are in the office. They are naturally on the alert for suspicious emails and know not to open them. At home, however, employees are more relaxed and their guard is down — and that can lead to security issues.
 
Companies addressed this problem from several angles. Smaller organisations have taken to sending gentle reminder emails or organising a company-wide meeting to raise awareness of the issue.

In more regulated industries, we've seen a huge uptake in companies wanting to provide ongoing education to end-users on the threats of working from home. Delivered online, these training sessions offer just the right amount of awareness without treating employees like children. 

Far from being irritating, online training is being incredibly well received. Many employees have said they actually wanted this kind of training but were too afraid to ask. 

In short, everyone wins by leveraging remote technological solutions. Companies know that remote employees are being reminded of the importance of maintaining security best practices while employees get the training they want and need. 

Does Your IT Strategy Align With Business Objectives?

As more and more businesses realise remote working can be a long-term reality, now is the time for executives to start asking themselves the hard questions and look at whether their current IT strategy actually aligns with their ongoing business objectives. 

 

IT Strategy

 

The cloud was talked about a lot before COVID-19, for instance, and a lot of businesses started to transition their core systems online. Today, moving to the cloud is no longer optional. If remote working is part of your long-term business strategy, the cloud is absolutely essential. 

It’s not just your business infrastructure that you need to think about, either. We’ve been in talks with clients to make sure that they can offer the same experience for employees irrespective of where they are working. Whether it’s in the office or at home, the most important thing is for them to be able to get on and do their job with the least amount of hassle possible. 

If businesses are considering going back into the office for good or taking a hybrid approach to work, they will also need to consider the government’s ever-changing guidelines. 

For example, hot-desking seems a great solution on the face of it, but it’s not the most sensible thing in practice. There are, however, several IT-based changes we can make to ensure the health and safety of employees. 

Phones with handsets can be swapped out for softphones, for instance. The same thing can happen with regards to keyboards and mice. It’s much easier to give all employees their own laptops than have to worry about wiping down IT equipment at the end of every day. 

Small changes like this are all it takes for businesses to be able to offer a safe place for their employees to work — they just aren’t always obvious. 

Remote Working is an Ongoing Process, Not a One-Time Thing

If there’s one lesson business owners need to take from the last six months, it’s that lockdown was not a one-off event. Things are not going to return to normal any time soon and remote working could be a feature of many companies for some time to come.

From a business and technology point of view, it's important not to see your shift to remote working as a one-and-done-event. You'll need to be continually updating policies, introducing new technology and changing the way you work to make sure employees have the ability to work effectively from home. Only by doing so can you make sure that you attract and retain the best talent and deliver the very best service to your customers. 

Remember, technology helped your business make a success of remote working, it’s there to help you thrive in the future, too.

If you’d like to discuss your ongoing remote working needs or any other aspect of corporate IT with one of our expert consultants, please don’t hesitate to call us on 0345 521 6111, fill out our enquiry form or start a live chat.

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