September 24, 2022

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The past two years have been stressful for many senior technology executives. When the pandemic first hit in early 2020, CIOs and their teams rushed to deploy technologies that would support people working remotely as governments locked down their citizens.

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Now, hybrid work is here to stay as people realize that more flexible working environments, where they alternate between their offices and homes, offer a better work/life balance.

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But for CIOs, it presents a number of challenges to decide which technology infrastructure will best support these environments in the coming years and, importantly, with so many people working outside the network periphery, how to store data. How to secure effectively.

Senior technical executives recently gathered for a luncheon in Sydney to discuss how they have faced the challenges of IT infrastructure over the past two years as their organizations move to hybrid work environments. The conversation was hosted by CIO Australia and sponsored by GOTO.

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Organizations need to learn to adapt their work environments to work remotely, says Lindsey Brown, vice president and general manager of Asia-Pacific and Japan at GOTO. This has resulted in substantial growth in collaboration and remote working technology.

“When this is combined with the challenges that already exist, it becomes essential to have the right structure and solutions in place to sustain the success of the business,” he says.

As an example, one of Goto’s partners, Sporting club Sydney FC, was moving out of an old stadium when the pandemic hit and needed a platform that would allow the club to use its call centre. Allowing management to support members and partners, regardless of their location or operations, he says.

At the start of the pandemic, Brown says, many customers had to rely on technology and equipment to stay connected to their customers and maintain the same level of service they provided pre-pandemic.

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“The transition to minimizing losses had to be accelerated, which has caused too many businesses to implement a variety of tools without properly evaluating all the solutions in the market.

“This created many challenges for customers as many saw short-term benefits in implementing quick solutions and eventually created more problems with operations,” he says.

A recent survey published by GoTo and Frost and Sullivan found that 31 percent of challenges related to flexible work are attributable to software that isn’t always work-friendly or necessarily the right fit.

Goto’s customers reported challenges such as user errors, problems navigating complex interfaces, as well as not being able to access ‘off-network’ devices.

“Underperforming technology has not only made life difficult for the employees of any business, but if they are not able to maximize their productivity by using it, the business is likely to lose out on revenue as well,” he says. Huh.

The organization has been a cloud-based SaaS business from day one, says Francois Gelbard, director, business development and strategy, HumanableCX, so there was minimal impact in moving to a more flexible work model.

Gelbard says, “We have always catered to a flexible working environment and highly skilled workers who are able to work autonomously.

However, what is missing in the hybrid model – or working purely virtually – are biological interactions and ‘water cooler’ moments of interaction, she says.

Gelbard says this cannot be replicated in an online environment, although there is online HR and employee software that can assist with on-boarding and inducting new employees.

“We are also developing employee engagement programs with our customers around virtual and highly personalized reward and recognition of internal Net Promoter Score.

“This level of investment in these virtual devices will make them an important part of the hybrid model, which is set to remain in place for the foreseeable future. For future millennials and the alpha workforce, this will be part of the ‘norm’ as it has been with schools and universities since 2020,” she says.

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Fei Teng, chief technology officer at Medirecords, says software organization has moved to a flexible work environment where employees are using a mix of personal and corporate tools for a variety of purposes.

“We are having more recorded meetings that absentees can watch later, conducting more online social activities, and having more discussions on mental health,” Teng says.

There are also IT infrastructure challenges, Teng says. New employees can be onboarded without proper safety awareness training, and a business continuity plan may depend on setting up a personal home, he says.

He says auditing company policies that rely on individual behavior such as a ‘clean desk policy’, and giving the IT team only a few days to support people working remotely across the organization, was challenging Yes, he added.

The real impact of hybrid work

Elissa Pietrasanta, sales manager for A/NZ and ASEAN at GoTo, says hybrid working, when done effectively, has many benefits.

“This opens the door to limitless collaboration. The office is no longer a necessity, meaning employees can still be productive and connected while working remotely, enabling more successful business practice.” Pietrasanta says.

Arguably, and more importantly, hybrid work creates many benefits for employee well-being. In the age of employee empowerment, creating a workplace that allows employees to work more flexibly is imperative, she says.

“When executed correctly, a hybrid work environment allows employees to achieve a healthy work-life balance.”

However, if not used well by businesses, hybrid working can adversely affect the well being of the employees. Without the right collaboration solutions and business initiatives, employees can feel disconnected, and being always close to workstations can throw off work-life balance as workloads increase, she says.

“Furthermore, if a business’s technology stack is subpar, they will be less prepared against the likes of cyber attacks, which grew exponentially with the development of hybrid work.”

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Goto’s Brown says businesses that show a willingness to adapt to new demands and ways of working will be attractive to employees. The mood has changed regarding the types of workplaces people work in, and businesses that adopt hybrid working will have great success retaining and attracting employees, he says.

“Our survey found that nearly half (44 percent) of respondents who worked on a work-from-office model reported significantly higher turnover in 2021 compared to 2020, while only 22 percent of hybrid work organizations reported higher turnover gave information.” He says.

Improve your cyber security posture

In the meantime, as the economy enters a new phase of work, organizations should take a closer look at their cybersecurity positions. Cyber ​​threats continue to grow, with 80 percent of organizations being hit by ransomware last year.

HumanableCX’s Gelbard says his organization has had ISO27001 certification since 2016, when it started working with banks, insurance companies and other financial services companies.

“We are handling customer data and connecting their APIs to their CRMs etc. So we have to always meet the highest standards and very strict information security compliance requirements and protocols around user access and authentication, encryption and workforce security awareness training Does matter.

“We were well prepared in advance,” she says.

Goto’s Brown says cybersecurity can be difficult and suggests that businesses should implement solutions that secure all remote work endpoints and respond quickly to and mitigate issues. Organizations also need a platform that is easy to use and simplifies cyber security operations such as zero trust and multi-factor authentication.

“Businesses are heavily burdened when it is expected to properly protect their employees from a cyber security standpoint and third party support can be incredibly valuable, especially for SMBs. Getting your business wrong It is safer to ask for help than to prepare in a manner,” he says.

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