We have been launched head-first into a new work culture.
In February, we were moving around in open office landscapes and sitting side by side at desks, at lunch, in lifts, gathering around coffee machines. We sat for hours around conference tables, with Charlie from Operations talking endlessly to a PowerPoint full of charts and columns.
We left our homes and went to work on packed and delayed trains and busses, or were stuck in our cars looking at other people’s bumper stickers. And some long hours later, we went in the opposite direction.
For no apparent reason, some would argue.
Because when all of that came to a sudden and immediate stop in March 2020, when herding all of the people into the office became a no-go, the moving of people out of the workplace actually worked like a charm. From a people perspective.
The majority of the office-jobbing workforce turned out to be able to function really well, even though they were no longer in a controlled environment. They produced, delivered, focused, got the jobs done. A lot of them actually worked even more than before.
Making do with what you have
The sudden, overnight changes to business requirements did put a huge strain on IT, though.
So, while the people where adapting quite well, generally speaking, the technology they relied on to do their work, reeled.
All IT pros were on deck, and everyone spent some long weeks finding their bearings. Quick decisions were made, and the teams coped the best they could, and made do with what they had.
Now, we have reached the next phase with our eyes wide open: We see how badly we were prepared to deal with the issues that arose, and how ill-equipped our infrastructure was to adapt to the new circumstances.
We recognize that we struggled – and continue to struggle – with all the big pillars of client management: Security, control, performance and operational maneuverability and scalability.
And we realize that that whole cloud thing we had been mulling over for a while, would have been really useful to have had in place, back in March.
It could have been you
At CTGlobal, we saw a huge difference in how well our customers were able to deal with the situation:
Some sailed right through, unaffected by the storm – at least on the IT-side of their business. These were the organizations who were already fully, or for the most part, in the cloud.
But most experienced serious issues and major headaches because their infrastructure couldn’t adapt and scale to the needs of the business. (One organization we spoke to, have had their employees parking their cars in the company car park to connect from there to the corporate infrastructure, because they couldn’t connect from home.
And while most have found temporary solutions and work-arounds to the immediate problems, there is also a clear and present understanding in the boardrooms around the world that the changes to our work life we are seeing are fundamental, and of a permanent nature: Nobody believes that everything will go back to the way it was.
“Work” is no longer a location. It is a mindset. And technology’s primary function is to facilitate “working from everywhere”.
We have been shaken. Events have accelerated our plans, and overtaken our ambition.
The journey we are all on is not simply about fixing, mitigating and coming up with temporary work-arounds. Rather, we must truly adopt the ‘new normal’, and adapt our processes and technologies to a new reality that requires very different approaches to our work and each other.
The challenge you and your organization must address is: what to do and when?
Naturally, your course of action will differ, depending on your current level of technological maturity and cloud-preparedness, your budget and your human resources, and your businesses requirements and capabilities.
But your end goal is clearer now than it probably has been for a very long time: You must prepare your infrastructure for the new way of working. And that involves cloud.
Whether you start off by fixing a few obvious and urgent issues — VPN connections, conference call quality and security, etc. — or you’re in a position to plan a longer digital transformation overhaul, complete with structural changes and governance principles, depends on your current status and the urgency of the issues.
To help you pinpoint what your next move should be, we have listed some of the obvious actions you can look into, to strengthen your technological preparedness – today, tomorrow and in the future: