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Sayantan Saha

Carving a Future for Remote Workspaces
Sayantan Saha Product Manager - Digital Workplace Business | December 24, 2020
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The global pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus has disrupted lives on an unprecedented scale. The virus has affected the lives of millions, and wreaked havoc in the business landscape as well. As a result, production is at a historical low and supply chains have broken down. To save lives and contain the spread of the contagion, governments and international communities have taken strict measures, including partial or complete lockdowns of regions. It has resulted in factories and offices stopping operations indefinitely.

Some precautionary measures include physical and social distancing, change in interaction habits, and introduction of mass-scale remote working models. Due to these sudden changes, enterprises have been found wanting in planning and executing their business continuity plans. The lockdown has resulted in workforces working from the confines of their homes and in most cases from their personal devices. While remote working is barely a new concept, what has posed a serious challenge for enterprises is its implementation at such a scale and on such a short notice.

Transitional Challenges Galore

Unexpected changes and disruptions are bound to catch enterprises flatfooted, and the current scenario has followed the same template. While enterprises – big and small – have been focusing on digital transformation over the last few years, their preparedness for disruptions of this scale was not enough. As a result, moving to the remote working model has brought with it a mélange of IT challenges. Some of the major remote working challenges which employees are facing include:

  • Accessibility: In today’s digital environment, operations depend heavily on enterprise-wide secure access to applications and data. As a result of the pandemic, the number of devices trying to access these from remote locations has gone up exponentially. This sudden increase in the number has put a massive pressure on enterprise infrastructure, making accessibility to enterprise data and applications a big pain point both from availability as well as security perspectives.
  • Connectivity and Bandwidth: Till now a lot of organizations have been using virtual private network (VPN) technology for remote connections. These VPN concentrators have limited capacity and were not originally built for the entire workforce. As a result, connectivity has turned into another matter of concern. With everyone now working from various locations and on various internet connections, both bandwidth as well as the quality of connectivity are causing further disruptions.
  • Compatibility and Installation: Unlike in offices, remote working on personal devices is causing application compatibility issues. This is not only compromising productivity, but is often also causing complete downtime. Furthermore, due to a myriad of devices in the ecosystem, installation, configuration, and setting up of these devices is causing a perpetual headache for the IT teams.
  • Increased Burden on the Service Desk: Due to the aforementioned reasons, coupled with varied levels of digital literacy and maturity, the IT service desk is getting overtaxed. This is leading to innumerable tickets and prolonged resolution time. As a result, downtimes are becoming longer and more frequent, thereby compromising both user experience and productivity.

Need for Specialized Assistance

The need for quick resolution of the various IT challenges and enterprise-wide disruptions, businesses need to prioritize onboarding specialized hands for the job. The external IT specialists, such as HCL’s Digital Workplace practice, can play a pivotal role in synergizing IT and OT, and help create remote virtual workspaces that are the need of the hour. And, not only during this period of pandemic-caused lockdown, but these remote virtual workspaces will play a significant role in defining the future of work. Specialized expertise in the field of workplace virtualization will expedite redesigning futuristic remote workspaces.

HCL Digital Workplace solutions understands the challenges and action areas for enterprises. With the current focus on the lockdown-caused disruptions and the common challenges faced by organizations due to the sudden shift to remote working, HCL has devised specific solutions as a part of its Fluid Remote Workspace offering to transform remote operations swiftly and enable seamless and secure access to critical applications and data for all employees working remotely.

Our remote working solutions focus on providing enterprises with seamless access and enhanced experience. We are helping organizations move their entire end-user computing infrastructure to the cloud by provisioning Windows 10 based virtual machines on the cloud with all the critical applications installed. There are twofold benefits of this solution. Firstly, end users can securely access their environment from anywhere and from any device without the need for additional components such as VPNs. Secondly, by provisioning replicas of the Windows 10 machines, which have already been in use on physical desktops, the adoption challenges are also mitigated to a large extent.

We also understand how important enhanced end-user experience is to enterprises, especially in the current situation. Our proprietary WorkBlaze framework uses data-driven analytics to glean actionable insights on the actual end-user experience and proactively detect and resolve problems in the new virtual environment and reducing service desk call volumes. Our GUI-based management planes and dashboards are also helping admins manage this virtual infrastructure with minimum effort and resources.

We offer a well-rounded service package to our clients to not just address their present challenges, but to also prepare them for the future challenges and opportunities. These solutions are enterprise ready and can be deployed rapidly. Technologically, our solutions are platform agnostic and can be built using technologies from VMWare, Citrix, and Microsoft.

As we prepare to transition to a radically different, post-pandemic business landscape, enterprises will have to use the significant learnings from the current disruptions. Turning challenges into opportunities has to be the primary focus going forward, and increasing the impetus of digital transformation is paramount to the future of 21st century enterprises. Digital workspaces are no longer futuristic ambitions for organizations, and as they further their digital transformation endeavors, one of the primary initiative should be to create a thoroughly digitized work paradigm. The cultural shift from how we envision workspaces to steadfastly accepting and implementing digital tools is the key to the promptness of change. The future– or the new normal– is already here and the evolution of the digital workplace will drive digital transformation in large numbers.

Digital workspaces are no longer futuristic ambitions for organizations, and as they further their digital transformation endeavors, one of the primary initiative should be to create a thoroughly digitized work paradigm.