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Collaboration and remote working in the new normal
Ravee Gokulgaandhi Principal Architect, HCL Google Ecosystem Business Unit | May 11, 2020
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With COVID-19 impacting people around the world, enterprises everywhere are pivoting to remote work and virtual desktop infrastructure to ensure the safety of their employees, customers, partners, and communities. Both digital technology and people play a vital role in supporting each other during these turbulent times as well as in the long term. 

People play an important role in supporting this digital transformation and the digital technology, especially the workplace technologies, that enables everyone to work remotely using state-of-the-art video conferencing tools, collaboration platforms, and complex end user devices that require frequent patch management, software installation, and protection from malicious external and internal threats. These threats include malware, viruses, and phishing attacks as well as data loss that can impact the organizations’ brand and goodwill. Adjusting with remote work and maintaining a holistic business continuity plan can be a challenge for all stakeholders involved, even if technologies such as virtual desktop infrastructure and artificial intelligence are involved to implement this digital transformation.

  1. CIOs and IT leaders are under constant pressure to deliver secure end-user devices, provide adequate infrastructure for the consumption of both LOB systems as well as core messaging and collaboration systems.
  2. The CISO team is more focused than ever on vulnerability and threats to organizations’ data and has articulated several important policies to prevent data loss and device security.
  3. Line of Business heads are excited about the possibilities of remote working for IT workers, that will minimize the impact on business as usual. However, they lack confidence in global IT service delivery that is already overwhelmed with keeping the lights on.
  4. Global IT support staff that supports people across all tiers are constantly struggling to support remote workers as they experience the same remote working challenges as other employees while managing increased service requests.
  5. IT workers may be used to teleworking while others may have a fixed to flexible schedule within the office. The latter may find remote working difficult given the inflexible space, limited bandwidth, lack of support for their devices, restricted policies, and the complex VPN setups required to connect and access their day-to-day applications.

The COVID-19 crisis has not only left enterprises rethinking about the transformation of their digital workplace strategies but has also challenged cloud service providers (CSPs), managed services providers (MSPs), and internet services providers (ISPs) to build scalability and resiliency of this magnitude, which an enterprise may not be able to manage otherwise.

The Future of work is FLUID

The workplace is evolving into a workspace where employees are away from their desks and offices 60-70% of the time. Physical boundaries have collapsed and remote working is here to stay.

The HCL FLUID Digital Workplace Solution provides agility, simplicity, and scalability by creating a human-centric environment which enables, guides, and supports the new way to foster increased productivity.

When HCL Fluid Digital Workplace Solution is combined with Google Collaboration Suite (G Suite)-driven workplace solutions, it accelerates a multi-fold adoption of remote working and helps deliver a scalable model for managed services providers and cloud service providers.

Key solutions that serve this urgent need to enable remote working and ensure business continuity are:

  1. Remote Team Collaboration – Accelerate collaboration and productivity using G Suite, an enterprise-grade collaboration and communication platform born in the cloud that offers professional email, shared calendars, online document editing and storage, and audio-video meetings. Use the same intuitive Gmail interface but within the security context of your enterprise’s identity and access management platform, security information and event management system, and data loss prevention policies that can be configured on G Suite. Elevate this productivity on your organization’s systems, such as its identity and access management system, using Hangout Meet Kit, a video conferencing hardware solution that delivers seamless and reliable video conferencing using Chromebox. G Suite reimagines how businesses work as well as their identity and access management by empowering teams to be faster, smarter, and more collaborative than ever before, while being more secure in their collaboration and cloud journey.
  2. Virtual Workspaces – Provision the best of both the worlds’ desktop infrastructures using Windows 7/10 VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure). HCL helps you asses and deploy solutions like Itopia and VMWare horizon that are fully managed, intelligent, and secure on-the-go, enabling end users to be extremely productive while they are working remotely along with upholding the end user experience for providers such as managed services providers. Traditional appliances like remote access VPNs do not simply scale and enterprises are challenged during turbulent times like this to fulfil the demand of making secured access available. Hence, solutions like BeyondCorp and VPNLess access to on-premise apps combined with VDI Solutions from Itopia powered by Google Cloud provides the much-needed agility and scalability to meet ever-growing demands of accessing critical systems.
  3. Remote Friendly Support and Guidance – Using HCL’s cognitive artificial intelligence and conversational bot frameworks like Lucy, that leverage Google Dialog flow and Google ARCore and provides translations in multiple languages using Google Translator APIs, your global information workers are in great hands.  This improves the availability of the global IT Helpdesk team to handle more critical support issues at hand and focus on being more proactive than reactive to upcoming critical issues.
  4. Adaptive Security – Cloud-based Zero Trust Network Access approach using secure identity and context-aware access to on-premise web applications without using complex VPN clients. This solution is phishing- and malware-resistant with multi-factor authentication and leverages capabilities like Google Endpoint, Cloud Identity, Chrome Enterprise, and Cloud Armor to secure users. 
  5. Remote UX Monitoring – Monitor and measure real-time end-user adoption through Google Work Insights that aggregates organization insights on work pattern, product adoption, and team-to-team collaboration. 
  6. Compassionate Change Management – Enterprise gamification-based behavioral change strategy enabled through a badges, points, and mileage program can help accelerate adoption as well as build champions within the organization to deliver process and excellence in platform consumption. Using HCLs Enterprise Gamification Platform “Boost”, organizations can adopt user onboarding games, behavior change management leaderboards, and eLearning incentivization, along with appraisal process gamification to build change champions.

What makes G Suite the best fit?

G Suite is a “born in the cloud” platform leveraging years of expertise on artificial intelligence, combined with an intuitive user experience that helps enterprises reimagine how businesses work. This helps to power teams to be faster, smarter, and more collaborative than ever before.

  • Simplicity and familiarity- This is the same native Google platform that has helped a student finish their university assignments, a start-up deliver a powerful presentation to secure investment, a small business employee manage their day-to-day communication with their customers over email or voice/video conferencing, and a job seeker create their first resume and secure their dream job.
  • Enterprise-grade security
  • Device-agnostic functionality - G Suite provides meaningful and consistent functionality on all devices irrespective of underlying hardware or platform thus reducing dependency on a single operating system to fully exploit its productivity and efficiency. This is unlike many other collaboration offerings that have complex licensing and functionality policies.
  • Bot-driven support minimizes the need for increased technical support and of helpdesk teams to be always available on standby fixing repetitive functionality issues.
  • Cloud search functionality that actually “works” - It uses the same underlying algorithm that powers Google.com search. Some of the key differentiators are-
    1. Admins have full control over devices, users, and data.
    2. Security patches are well tested and rolled out automatically.
    3. Machine learning-driven functionality enabled with smart reply that generates three natural language responses to respond on the go, or when blocking a spam and phishing attempt, as well as focusing on the speaker during video calls while auto blurring background noise and video is an evidence that the focus has always been on great end user experience. 

Adopt and growth in the new normal

The HCL Fluid Digital Workplace Framework was designed with a singular objective– to simplify digital workplace management that could be trigged due to cost optimization, organization expansion, and business continuity plan change like the recent COVID-19 pandemic or upcoming digital transformation when an organization embarks on their cloud journey. And this makes the framework very relevant even post-COVID-19 where remote working, telepresence, and BYOD would be a new normal.

The agility and security capabilities that a digital workplace strategy provides will justify the ROI and greater investments in workplace technologies. A key tenant of this adoption is employee safety across the remote working environment.

At HCL, we believe that while travel is restricted, and several events and conferences cancelled, enterprises will have to adopt newer ways to retain their employees and customers. In this new normal, business will become truly digital, networking events will be digitalized even more, and enterprises will leverage this current “need to adapt” into standard business practices. The agility and security capabilities that a digital workplace strategy provides will justify the ROI and greater investments in workplace technologies. Key tenets of this adoption are employee safety across the remote working environment and a strong governance and security framework that can help companies rapidly deploy and set up a well-governed environment that respects corporate policies regarding retention, data-loss prevention, eDiscovery automation, conditional access, device management, and more.

We can help you achieve FLUID workspaces and move from survival to growth in the new normal. Feel free to schedule a consultation session with us to understand how.