When the pandemic crisis hit, most IT organizations didn’t have a detailed plan for managing the move to what became, effectively, 100% remote work. The event was so extreme, broad, and unexpected that a crisis response was the only way to react. However, as we start to gain experience and understanding about how the short- to mid-term future might play out, the task for many IT organizations is to move from a crisis-driven approach toward remote work to an everyday operational model.
“Operationalizing” remote work is essential. A survey conducted by Citrix in mid-May found that, of 2,000 workers, 67% weren’t yet ready to return to the office. More importantly, the same study found that 40% of the respondents expected to continue working from home after the pandemic is over. Put simply, there is no end in sight for remote/virtual work at a scale that is an order of magnitude above historic levels.
The scale demands a fundamental change in how IT teams approach supporting remote work. In the past, when the problem was smaller and the urgency to deal with any issue was far less, it was possible to manage individual aspects of remote work (access, application support, data availability, tracking, and security). Moving forward, self-integration, in which remote work is treated as a collage of individual products, will no longer be possible. This approach will simply overwhelm the available IT resources to enable remote work. Worse, it will result in a very poor digital user experience. For workers, every change, new application, or use case outside the norm will require interacting with IT staff and developing a one-off solution that will take from days to weeks to deploy.
Aligning remote-work needs for both crisis times and everyday business requires the deployment of a comprehensive platform that contains all the distinct elements of the entire remote-work digital infrastructure. A comprehensive digital workspace platform automates many of the various management and operational tasks for IT, which frees up staff time and resources as the crisis configuration and services are migrated to a platform that can support the everyday. In addition, the specific needs, apps, and services that have been identified during the crisis phase can be easily moved into the digital workspace to ensure continuity. Digital workspaces eliminate the need for IT teams to respond to singular requests and treat every new requirement as an exception. A leading digital workspace solution such as Citrix Workspace provides the agility, flexibility, and scale to support new demands with much less resource demand on IT teams.
Perhaps the biggest organizational and IT benefit is that a digital workspace includes full security functionality in the stack that is delivered to every worker. Security is no longer left to chance or the abilities of the worker to keep information and the organization secure. The digital workspace is inherently secure, with the most up-to-date policies and patches put into place for every worker immediately. Trying to protect key corporate data or application assets individually is just too time- and resource-intensive as organizations move to a remote-work reality. This point is particularly important because remote work has greatly expanded the attack surface of the organization.
Remote work is now a prevalent use case that requires infrastructure that enables IT teams to optimize both the services/functionality delivered to workers and the use of IT resources to support it. The only way to accomplish this is to deploy a digital workspace solution. Taking a holistic infrastructure approach to the problem will deliver the same kind of revolutionary efficiencies that cloud infrastructure brings to standard IT workloads.