Dec 09 2020

CDW Tech Talk: How Supporting Remote Workers Ensures Business Continuity

Successful businesses will apply lessons learned from the pandemic when reopening offices, says Microsoft Chief Architect Tony Surma

“We tend to overestimate what’s going to change and underestimate the lasting impact,” Microsoft Chief Architect for the U.S. Commercial Partner Ecosystem Tony Surma said Tuesday during a CDW Tech Talk. He added, “We are going to be eventually coming back to a workplace, and that’s going to be different.”

In the session, titled “The Table Is Set for Success: How Leaders Must Capitalize on Technology in the New Normal,” Surma detailed how business leaders should embrace lessons learned during the pandemic when workers begin returning to their offices.

First and foremost, he said, offices generally won’t look the same, as they are likely to maintain some hybrid configuration of in-office operations and remote work. To enable this continuing transformation, 89 percent of CIOs will accelerate public cloud investments, Surma projected. Prior to the pandemic, closer to 50 percent were increasing investments in public cloud, he said.

Cloud Computing and Data Analytics Improves Business Continuity

“How do you get to digital transformation?” Surma asked. “What is it that is going to be able to differentiate and drive an organization to leverage technology and bring that value to the marketplace?”

Reimagining work requires leveraging “tech intensity,” a Microsoft phrase for the application of innovative tech across the enterprise. Surma shared a formula: Tech intensity = (Tech adoption x Tech capability) ^ (Trust).

“The key is trust. How do we make sure you have trust in the tech and its providers and associated services?” Surma said.

Ultimately, successful organizations must demonstrate business continuity, he said. To do so, they must:

  • Make data-driven decisions to ease decision-making when it matters the most
  • Reopen and maintain safe work environments, simplify opening work sites and ensure they are safe
  • Create clarity for the workforce and ensure employees and health leaders can easily follow guidelines

“The more we can make clear and streamline the work processes, the better our employees and agents of change can drive forward the business,” Surma said.

With that acknowledgment, reopening will not be a phased process but rather a “dialed” process, he said. Things will happen in ways experts cannot predict. To prepare for this reality, businesses must be ready to repeat processes through resilience, adapt by applying lessons learned, advance through waves and even retreat when changes in the community warrant it.

Cloud Computing and Data Analytics Ensure Smooth Operations

Surma outlined key digital leadership imperatives to meet customer demands:

  • Leverage the power of the cloud.
  • Use third-party experts for return-to-work apps.
  • Call on citizen developers.
  • Exploit data for advanced analytics and AI.
  • Hold portions of IT capacity in reserve for emergencies.

When workers return to offices, businesses may deploy solutions like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Teams to facilitate resource management. Workers can schedule room availability, and the applications can show how rooms are bring used for capacity management. When offsite, the same applications can enable employees to coordinate and hold meetings online. 

Businesses, in turn, can scale services to employee presence with the goal to “keep employees as productive, safe and energized as possible, whether they are remote or they are in their environment at a workspace,” Surma said.

Follow BizTech’s full coverage of CDW Tech Talks here. Insiders can register for the event here.

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