Data platforms allow us to organise and structure the flood of digital information in a sensible way when working remotely. They also enable us to work in virtual teams across borders, from anywhere. This type of flexibility is already the norm at CHG-MERIDIAN, and every day we learn something new. Find out here what data platforms are all about.
The best technical equipment is useless if you do not have full access to data and cannot communicate seamlessly with the corporate environment when working remotely. The digital workplace involves more than just providing mobile devices; it is also about creating an environment where employees can access all the information and processes they need to make their work simple and successful. Building this environment is only part of the equation; you also need to train employees on how to use virtual spaces to communicate and share information. Read on to learn more about the day-to-day digitalisation of remote working at CHG-MERIDIAN.
According to the findings of the latest D21 Digital Index, 46 per cent of employees are given a laptop to work on, but only 16 per cent have remote access to their data. This lowly figure becomes a particular challenge when the bulk of the workforce suddenly has to work from home.
There are various ways to give remote workers access to company data, such as using a VPN to access the company server. At CHG-MERIDIAN, we decided to use a private cloud. Our cloud-based desktop virtualisation makes working remotely much more comfortable by providing a desktop environment on the remote user’s device via the internet. This allows us to create entire workplaces in the cloud, which can be accessed from anywhere via an internet connection. To the employee, the software looks like their usual PC in the office, but it is actually running in a central data centre.
Since employees access company and customer data from a range of devices and locations, the aspect of data security, authentication, and encryption is hugely important. According to Cloud Monitor 2019, a study by Bitkom Research on behalf of KPMG, compliance with GDPR is the top criterion when choosing a cloud provider.
There are some factors that companies have little control over, such as the connection that their employees have to the wide-area network. That is why network coverage and bandwidth should always be taken into account when developing remote working solutions.
Collaboration tools and virtual meetings are becoming increasingly important, but research by Forrester shows that technical problems can hinder the successful use of these tools. When asked about obstacles to deployment and adding value, companies cited a lack of resources and tool compatibility, as well as difficulties with integrating tools from different vendors and securing multimedia traffic (audio, video, messaging). The performance and reliability of the technology and the fact that many employees are not on the system yet were right at the top of the list.
There are many collaboration tools on the market, and they all have their advantages and drawbacks. Performance and the ability to integrate into the existing software landscape were important factors for us when choosing a product, which is why we opted for Microsoft Teams from the Office 365 suite. Choosing the tool is only the beginning, as you also need to learn how to collaborate effectively. We proactively support our employees in this respect. How do I switch between monitors? How do I enter presentation mode? How can I transfer conference calls from my smartphone to my desktop PC, or vice versa, without losing the connection?
Collaboration tools can link people and share knowledge across time zones and physical locations, making work more efficient and productive. But the prospective users have to be on board.
The way in which procurement and service management are handled should also be considered when discussing the right platform strategy for the digital workplace. How can new devices be ordered remotely? What happens if the device is lost or damaged? How can you ensure that employees can continue working without any downtime, and are not frustrated by long periods of waiting? At CHG-MERIDIAN, we have set up our own self-service portal where each employee can select the mobile devices they need just like they are used to with large e-commerce sites. They can also use it to request a replacement device if theirs has been lost or is defective, for example. Delivery to their home address is simple and straightforward.