According to McKinsey & Company (July 2020), as the pandemic begins to ease, many companies are planning a new combination of remote and on-site working, a hybrid virtual model in which some employees are on premises, while others work from home. The new model promises advantages such as greater access to talent, increased productivity for individuals and small teams, lower costs, more individual flexibility, and improved employee experiences.
While these potential benefits are substantial, history shows that mixing virtual and on-site working might be a lot harder than it looks. The downsides arise from the organizational norms that support culture and performance—ways of working, as well as standards of behavior and interaction—that help create a common culture, generate social cohesion, and build shared trust.
According to a Stanford research (June 2020), an incredible 42% of the U.S. labor force now working from home full-time. About another 33% are not working and the remaining 26% – mostly essential service workers – are working on their business premises. So, by sheer numbers, the U.S. is a working-from-home (WFH) economy. More strikingly, if we consider the contribution to U.S. gross domestic product based on their earnings, WFH employees now accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity.
As the 2020 pandemic has taught us, you should be set up for remote work or it can cost you a lot. Actually, we all work partially remotely from home checking emails etc. but if you aren’t set up for working remotely, high chances that you’re taking unnecessary security risks and using unproductive workarounds and that your employees are already using cloud apps which may or may not be secure.
Companies assess different technologies to help their team work remotely, consider migrating to document sharing, document hosting and more. Most importantly companies consider their on-premise business applications such as their accounting software and ERP systems and move them to the cloud.
According to a Gartner Forecast (July 2020), the worldwide public cloud services market is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2020 to total $257.9 billion. Public cloud services serve as the one bright spot in the outlook for IT spending in 2020. “The use of public cloud services offers two distinct advantages during the COVID-19 pandemic: cost scale with use and deferred spending,” said Mr. Nag, research vice president at Gartner. “CIOs can invest significantly less cash upfront by utilizing cloud technology rather than scaling up on-premises data center capacity or acquiring traditional licensed software. Any debate around the utility of public cloud has been put aside since the onset of COVID-19.”
Cloud Environment Benefits:
Moving to a cloud environment for all business applications and desktops will help companies prepare for the future postpandemic organization working model. Transforming infrastructure into a unified workspace create a better employee experience, eliminating endless stacks of apps, systems, and sign-ins across mobile devices like laptops and smartphones that are distracting employees from productivity. Additionally, moving to the cloud ensures easy access to data from anywhere while keeping flexibility, scalability and data security level required while achieving higher productivity with employees working from anywhere.
With respect to business workflow process, implementing a cloud based ERP software platform as NetSuite delivers the opportunity to leverage covid-19 pandemics’ influence on working model to enhance performance and maximize business potential. Working from remote in a process oriented eco system requires synchronization that often may get stuck when teams do not have access to their systems, for example, a Purchase order flowing through an approval route may be get stuck if the approving manager cannot reach the system and approve the business transaction. This gap in synchronization may cripple the entire organization and prove very painful. Cloud business applications ensures this crucial process synchronization.
Flexera study (June 2020) indicated the pandemic increased the use of cloud computing resources among enterprises and small and medium-sized businesses. The study show a trend of the global crisis driving cloud adoption-40% of companies included in the study said COVID-19 is accelerating their move to the cloud. When dealing with the “WFH” model, 74% of responders are expecting new challenges caused by a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, so organizations are implementing a variety of technology changes to prepare for future shutdowns.
According to the 2020 Remote Work-From-Home Cybersecurity Report (May 2020), sponsored by Pulse Secure: Despite security issues and concerns resulting from the massive and sudden increase in WFH initiatives, 38% of U.S. companies observed productivity gains during remote work and a staggering 84% anticipate broader and more permanent WFH adoption beyond the pandemic.
WFH adoption accelerated cloud app growth and business continuity challenges
The research indicates that three-quarters of businesses now have more than 76% of their employees WFH compared to almost 25% at the end of 2019. While a third of respondents cited their business being “ill prepared or not prepared” for remote working, 75% of businesses were able to transition to remote working within 15 days. Surprisingly, less than a third expressed cost or budget problems, demonstrating the urgency to support their business. Additionally, 54% expressed that COVID-19 has accelerated migration of users’ workflows and applications to the cloud.
For companies still fully on premise, remote work is complicated. On-premise installations can be accessed remotely, however, maintaining security while allowing access is a complex combination of passwords, firewalls, VPN barriers, and architectural limitations.
In contrast, cloud solutions are already developed and built with remote work in mind from security aspect and they are accessible from anywhere with an internet connection.