Our concept of the modern workplace continues to evolve and so do its challenges. And technology is both the driver of change and the solution to the bumps along the road.
5 key challenges of the modern workplace
- Choosing the right tech to invest in
- Managing budgets
- Security and data protection
- Keeping up with the speed of change
- Building a futureproof business
The challenge: What tech do I invest in?
People don’t want to make bad bets on their digital workplace solutions at the best of times. But in today’s uncertain climate, business leaders want to make sure that their new projects deliver on ROI. With so many opportunities and technologies to choose from, picking the best is a serious challenge for those looking to modernise their workplace.
The fix: Find your 20%
Most businesses want one, or a combination of, the following:
- New solutions to offer customers
- A way to get to market faster
- To stand out in the marketplace
- To offer better digital experiences
One way to choose your tech investment is to figure out the 20% of effort that will get you 80% of what you want to achieve. This will vary from business to business. Stakeholder interviews, audits, and workshops will give you a better understanding of what your business could most benefit from.
For example: Investment in better reporting and automation could enable the data-driven decision making you need to plan more effectively.
The challenge: How to manage budgets
It’s hard to manage an IT budget that generates revenue when everyone else treats you as a cost centre.
In their defence, it’s easy to see why.
The average business uses over 1,000 cloud services but IT only knows about 100 of them. The modern workplace combines remote working with accessible cloud-based tools and SaaS products, which increases the likelihood of shadow IT. Without visibility, effective policies, and license management, IT budgets can quickly get out of hand.
The fix: Develop an attractive and robust IT strategy
Everyone knows you must spend money to make money, so build a case for your IT needs that aligns with business goals. This improves the chance of stakeholder buy-in.
Create clear guidance for how remote workers use their IT, what they can install, and when. Incorporate regular reviews of your estate into your regular IT health checks to maintain visibility and optimise your subscriptions to ensure that you only pay for what you’re using.
The challenge: Security and data protection
Shadow IT also contributes to a wider issue: cybersecurity. The challenge of data protection has become more complex in a decentralised modern workplace.
Because technology is evolving faster than businesses can keep up, employees are using apps that aren’t approved by IT to collaborate with co-workers.
For example: A sales team is sharing sensitive data over WhatsApp because IT hasn’t got around to installing Teams on their iOS devices yet.
Not all collaboration apps are built with security in mind. So, when IT loses visibility due to a hastily rolled out remote working framework and people start using unauthorised apps, you expose your business to danger.
The fix: Education, edge security, and zero trust
Employees must be trained to understand the importance of data security to protect personal and company-sensitive data. Conduct bi-annual security refresher courses to keep everyone up to date with your protocols and ensure they can confidently identify and manage any potential threats.
Support your training by adopting an edge security approach and zero trust protocols. This will enable you to maintain consistent cybersecurity without losing the benefits of remote working that the modern workplace offers.
The challenge: How to keep up with changes in tech
Most of us learn about new technology only when the need arises. But market pressures and the continuing impact of global changes mean that we can’t afford to be reactive.
The trouble is, we don’t have the time.
A report from Dynatrace recently revealed that 74% of polled CIOs say their organisation will lose its competitive edge if IT is unable to spend less time ‘keeping the lights on’.
The fix: Automation
Innovation doesn’t happen because IT spends too much time looking like a cost centre. Daily checks on a dynamic cloud environment that constantly changes are essential to keeping any business running. But those checks don’t have to be manual.
Automation allows IT teams to run vital (but tedious) daily tasks in a fraction of the time, which frees them up to drive innovation and research new ways to use technology to keep your business competitive.
The challenge: Building a futureproof business
A decentralised modern workplace needs an effective infrastructure. While IT controls the in-office environment, quality, control, and visibility disappear outside of it. Even if you equip your teams with decent end devices, home office connectivity often proves to be a bottleneck:
- Video conferences falter
- Calls are interrupted
- Data transfer is delayed
- On-premises business applications may not allow remote access
- Cyber threats continue to evolve
Embrace digital transformation to futureproof your business... but what does that really mean?
The fix: Simple, people-focused business models
Futureproofing isn’t about adopting any specific piece of technology. It’s about creating an evergreen business model supported by an infrastructure that’s scalable and reliable enough to withstand significant change as technology advances.
You need an IT strategy that makes work better for employees. Build an attractive home for top talent, with business innovations that keep you competitive.
The modern workplace continues to challenge us
Nothing we’ve talked about here is a quick fix. Ultimately, you need to think about the modern workplace as part of a journey, not a destination. This is why a strategy that supports your vision and a business model that’s scalable and flexible are the cornerstones of successful modern businesses.