Traditional IT companies centered around a hardware sales and servicing model are becoming null and void. Businesses today are working with ICT (Information & Communication Technology) or Managed Services companies who work with these businesses to understand their operational and strategic goals. They then, and only then, proceed to recommend, deploy & maintain relevant technology solutions to assist in the delivery of these goals.
Such providers are embracing a new approach to workplace management that places user experience and data security at the top of the priority list. It tackles the issues of distributed teams, remote employees, use of multiple devices, evolving business models and complex security issues by supporting and allowing employees to use the right digital tools for the task at hand, wherever they are.
Modern Workplace Management; a term coined by Microsoft that is being accepted in the market — is about simplifying device management. Cloud-based mobile device management (MDM) tools can now manage both mobile and desktop devices, broadening the management reach. When modern management is implemented, user identities reside in the cloud so devices can be quickly enrolled from the internet with security policies and applications, providing users with secure and productive devices while also meeting business needs.
But what does this modern approach to workplace management mean in reality? What should you be looking for from your ICT partner? And what are the benefits you and your team can expect to enjoy?
The Pillars of Effective Modern Workplace Management
Pillar 1: User Experience Rules
Good user experience extends far beyond an aesthetically pleasing environment for your colleagues. It’s about making that user more effective and productive in their role. Users expect organisations to deploy systems and resources that enable them to be productive anytime, anywhere with zero downtime. Whether in the office or remote the experience should be the same and modern workplace management facilitates this. Your employees shouldn’t have to be in the office to stay 100% connected to your business; seamlessly. It also gives your users the controlled freedom to access and download applications that enhance how they work.
Pillar 2: Data Security Rules
With such freedom puts an onus on IT teams and providers to have clears means to monitor governance and to protect company data. Modern workplace management doesn’t need to employ traditional data security protocols that locked data down. Instead, it provides a strong security alternative by adopting the cloud as a more secure place for (most) corporate data and leveraging cloud access control mechanisms (including data mining) to restrict access to corporate data to only those that need to know.
Implementing a Modern Approach to Workplace Management
1. Manage the User’s Digital Identity
Modern workplace management applies strong authentication (multi-factor) to authorised users who log in with recognised company credentials and then applies authorization based on policies that can be enforced across all of your devices, operating systems, applications and networks. The user can be anywhere, using any hardware yet once the log on their user credentials will be identified by your infrastructure and grant security rights accordingly.
2. Enhanced Security Protocols
The IT team retains complete control of data security. When a user asks for a service, IT assesses the risk to determine the level of trust and which policy to enforce based on proactive monitoring, user behaviour analytics and, ideally, machine learning to detect threats.
Your Path to Modern Workplace Management
Many businesses will transition to this way of working over time, with customers initially using a blend of traditional and cloud-based workplace management, with the latter becoming the dominant workplace management solution over time. You can dictate the pace at which you move to modern workplace management.
Microsoft has outlined four paths to modern management:
- “Cloud first” –New organisations or spin-offs can go straight to modern management because they can create a cloud-first approach for all workloads.
- “Big switch” transition – Enterprises with legacy components in their IT infrastructure may consider a “big switch” approach. This means transforming to a modern style all at once. This approach may suit smaller enterprises but prove too complex for larger enterprises.
- Group-by-group transition –A group-by-group transition profiles users and determines the order in which each group will transition.
- Co-management – In this approach, devices are managed with traditional (System Center Configuration Manager) and modern management (Intune) tools. This means organisations can take an iterative approach. Workloads are modernised over time, providing a bridge to full modern management. Many enterprises take this approach, as it delivers the best of both worlds until a full transition is completed.
For advice on the most suitable path for your business speak to your ICT or managed services partner about creating a roadmap to modern workplace management that works for you. Ensure this path fits your organisational culture, resources and needs.
‘It’s our goal to deliver exceptional end-user experiences for our customers, driven by our innovative, customer-centric technology solutions’
Antonio Pogliani, Head of Managed Services, Intact
The Business Benefits
The immediate benefit is often seen to be cost-based but adopting a modern approach to workplace management will deliver a range of benefits and capabilities to the organisation:
- Optimises the lifecycle of your PC assets
- Security patches and/or new capabilities are always up-to-date, automatically applied
- Uses enhanced security protocols— conditional access, single sign-on, Azure AD and some internet-initiated remote actions: restart, remote control, factory reset
- Can leverage software-as-a-service (SaaS) apps in line with modern users’ expectations and reduce the application portfolio
- Use cloud storage: Data in the cloud is really safer and reduces support, backup and storage costs
- Reduce corporate infrastructure: SaaS services and cloud storage reduce your intranet infrastructure reliance, and with that the cost of maintaining these components
- Simplified device management
- Adopt a BYO-style experience — even on corporate assets — where the user is an admin
- Faster, remote enabled new user device set up
- Retirement of servers over time
The ICT team at Intact are here to assist you in your journey to modern workplace management. Migrations from on-premise managed to co-managed to cloud-native managed IT operations can be facilitated in accordance with your business needs, budget and resources. To find out more about our approach to providing innovative, customer-centric technology solutions get in contact here.