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  • Writer's pictureDoug Ennis

COVID-19: How Organizations Finally Embrace The Cloud

The Corona virus has grabbed the world's attention and applied pressure on organizations to plan for many “what-if” scenarios.  Nobody wants to catch the “Rona”.  Hysteria or not, the call to action is real and has many organizations and their IT departments examining large scale or emergency-based work from home (WFH) strategies. Those organizations who have already embraced digital transformation are better prepared to combat loss of productivity. One Bridge encourages businesses to do more with existing and underutilized tools/applications by pilot testing those tools. This is good practice because it provides takeaways on current state, changes required, potential gains, and whether WFH functionality is something worth considering on a larger scale.

WFH strategies aren’t new. Whether driven by expansion, geographically diverse workforce, empowering road warriors, or DR/BC (Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity) concerns, many organizations have examined or adopted some manner of remote work.  My awakening to the benefits of WFH was in a past life performing numerous DR/BC audits for customers.  Prior WFH culture sounded like people sitting on the couch in their PJs, computer in lap, TV on in the background, and laundry partially folded on the arm of the couch.  Yet, helping customers navigate “what-if scenarios” like; if a disaster occurs, or even a mass illness, how can we maintain some semblance of business?  My epiphany? If we adopted software, methodologies, and collaborative workflows, most of the DR/BC challenges are substantially reduced.  Another epiphany: when adopting collaborative workflows that support WFH, general productivity and visibility increases.

What are the biggest hurdles for organizations to overcome? Leadership fixation on brick-and-mortar locations, and the fact that end-user experience is not the same in and out of office.  Many companies moved email and web hosting to the Cloud because the redundancies required, backups taken, and maintenance needed were a growing expense and being offline was unacceptable. So why did so many stop there?  It’s hard to tell, but one common factor was a reluctance to alter user behavior.  You can move a mailbox to the cloud without a user ever knowing. But what about the “H: Drive and the M: drive”?  Not wanting to change the manner or method of work is hard when successful WFH strategies require a cultural change.

So, is there any good news? Yes, there is! Many organizations already have the tools and applications required to be successful working remotely, yet they haven’t adopted them.  Lack of time, requirements, or not wanting to select a lemon are all factors holding us back. However, the first step just needs to be a step.  We’ve been recommending that our Office365 customers begin expanding their use of the Teams Suite even in a Pilot capacity. Not an Office365 customer? No worries - there are many trials or free versions available to fit to your organization such as Slack and Asana. Pilot tests should be scientific in nature, answering hypotheses with tangible results: What access is needed? Communication? Where is collaboration done?  How are projects, tasks, and issues communicated? Pilot testing is a great opportunity to gauge processes, training needs, and capabilities of applications available to you. With this information available, you can illuminate and negate inefficiencies, fulfilling requirements needed for the development of a successful WFH strategy or even culture.

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