Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) firms are in a unique position in the world of business. They merge artistic creativity with technical proficiency, and their projects touch millions of lives. As such, the IT needs for these firms are unlike any other. Enter IronOrbit GPU-accelerated INFINITY Workspaces – a platform that directly addresses and resolves these specialized requirements.
1. What are IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces?
IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces, for those unfamiliar, is a turn-key Managed Desktop as a service (DaaS) solution designed to facilitate seamless collaboration, ensure data security, and enable scalable IT infrastructure. At its core, it offers a platform that centralizes the myriad of software applications, data sources, and collaboration tools that AEC professionals rely on.
2. Scalable Infrastructure
AEC projects can range from small home renovations to grand-scale infrastructures like airports. Accordingly, IT demand can surge or decline rapidly. IronOrbit offers scalability that ensures firms only pay for the resources they use, allowing them to expand or contract based on project needs. This flexibility is essential to keep costs in check while ensuring that the IT infrastructure can handle the demands of large-scale projects.
3. Seamless Collaboration
Collaboration is a cornerstone for AEC projects. Various professionals – architects, civil engineers, structural engineers, and more – need to share their insights and expertise. With INFINITY Workspaces, real-time collaboration is facilitated, whether team members are in the same office or spread across the globe. The shared workspace offers a cohesive environment where 3D models, blueprints, and documents can be viewed and edited collectively, ensuring everyone is on the same page.
4. Data Security and Compliance
Protecting sensitive data is of paramount importance. INFINITY Workspaces provides state-of-the-art encryption and security protocols, ensuring that project data, client information, and proprietary designs remain confidential. Furthermore, for AEC firms that operate internationally, the platform assures compliance with various regional data protection regulations, alleviating potential legal concerns.
5. Streamlined Software Integration
AEC professionals use various graphic-intensive applications, from Revit and AutoCAD software to project management applications. INFINITY Workspaces enable integration of these tools, ensuring that users don’t have to hop between different platforms to get their work done. This integration increases efficiency, reduces the potential for errors, and ensures a more cohesive workflow.
6. Remote Accessibility
Modern AEC firms often operate in a decentralized manner. Whether it’s architects who need to visit sites, engineers who are on the move, or consultants from different regions, remote access to the workspace is crucial. IronOrbit ensures that the digital environment is centralized and accessible from any device, anywhere, at any time. This ensures continuity of work, regardless of physical location.
7. IT Maintenance and Support
One of the most significant challenges faced by AEC firms, especially smaller ones, is the need for regular IT maintenance and support. IronOrbit provides 24/7 support, ensuring that any technical issues are swiftly addressed. We partner with your IT teams to manage your infrastructure and day-to-day operations allowing you to focus on the big picture.
8. Environmental Sustainability
In an era where sustainability is more than just a buzzword, AEC firms are often at the forefront of sustainable design and construction. IronOrbit echoes this sentiment by offering a cloud-based solution. This reduces the carbon footprint associated with maintaining in-house servers and hardware. By choosing Infinity Workspaces, AEC firms can further their commitment to environmental responsibility.
The AEC industry is in a constant state of evolution, driven by technology, sustainability, and shifting client needs. To stay competitive and effective, firms must ensure their IT solutions are top-notch. IronOrbit INFINITY Workspaces address the unique challenges faced by the AEC sector, offering a solution that is flexible, secure, collaborative, and sustainable. In an industry that builds the future, it’s only fitting that their digital tools are equally futuristic.
Call us now to schedule a free consultation. 714-777-3222
You read about how cloud computing revolutionizes businesses’ operations everywhere you look. As overused as the expression might be, it happens to be true. Moving to the cloud does revolutionize how you do things. It also opens your business to more and more possibilities as your cloud strategy matures.
A January 6, 2023 Harvard Business Review (HBR)article, points out that:“Last year, many CEOs changed their outlook on cloud computing, essentially going from I’ll do it because that’ what my CIO recommends’ to ‘I want to be all in.’ Companies should focus on building out strong cloud foundations that allow them to take advantage of the most important benefits that cloud provides.”
That’s why Gartner predicts public cloud spending to reach $600 billion this year.
But is a public cloud environment the best way to go for your company?
What is cloud computing? It’s important to remember that not all cloud computing is created equal. In this article, we will explore the different types of cloud computing environments and their benefits to help businesses determine which one best suits their needs, but first, let’s review.
What is Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing delivers computing services, including servers, storage, databases, software, and other resources over the internet. Instead of owning and maintaining physical hardware and software, users can access these resources remotely through a network of servers.
One of the most significant advantages of the cloud is that it allows small businesses to leverage the latest computing technology at a much lower cost. Cloud computing enables users to access services on-demand, scale up or down as needed, and pay only for what they use without costly hardware and maintenance. Cloud computing has become an increasingly popular technology among businesses of all sizes thanks to its flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness. However, not all cloud computing is created equal. There are different types of cloud environments. Exploring the different types of cloud computing and their benefits will help you determine which one is best suited to your business needs.
The cloud is a collection of web-connected servers and software that can be accessed and used over the internet. This means that you don’t need to host or manage your own hardware and software. Furthermore, you can access these systems from anywhere with internet access. Cloud computing is all around us, from checking our Gmail inbox to watching our favorite shows on Netflix. The emails, video files, and other information we access are located on a server somewhere in the world. Still, we can access them quickly, easily, and inexpensively thanks to modern cloud computing technology.
Public, Private, and Hybrid Cloud
The type of cloud you should deploy for your business depends on several factors, such as the purpose of your cloud environment, regulations governing data storage and transmission, and other considerations. There are three primary deployment models for the cloud: public, private, and hybrid. All three models provide users with any time, anywhere access to files and applications that drive their businesses, but they do so in different ways.
The public cloud is a service offered by third-party providers that use shared infrastructure to provide services such as storage, applications, and computing power. Public clouds are the most cost-effective and flexible option for businesses that require scalable solutions, as they are charged on a pay-per-use basis. Additionally, public clouds offer ease of use, as there is no need for maintenance or upkeep of the infrastructure, and updates are automatically applied.
A private cloud is an infrastructure owned and operated by a single company or organization. Private clouds provide more control and security over data, as they are not shared with other users. Private clouds are often used by businesses that require a higher level of protection, such as financial institutions or government agencies.
Hybrid clouds allow businesses to store sensitive data in a private cloud while taking advantage of the cost-effectiveness and scalability of public clouds for less-sensitive data. A hybrid cloud combines elements of both public and private clouds, allowing businesses to take advantage of both benefits. This model is ideal for companies that require scalability and flexibility but also need to maintain high security and control over their data.
Which type of Cloud is Best for Your Company?
Now that we’ve explored different cloud infrastructures and their unique features, it’s crucial to determine which type of cloud is the best fit for your business. Each business has special needs and considerations, such as budget, security, compliance requirements, and resource constraints.
Take time to evaluate your business needs and choose the type of cloud infrastructure that best aligns with your mid and long-term goals and objectives. Whether you’re a small business or a large enterprise, selecting the correct type of cloud can save you many headaches and sleepless nights. The right cloud helps you streamline your operations, boost efficiency, and stay competitive in an ever-changing business landscape.
Small to Mid-Sized Businesses (SME)
A public cloud is typically the most suitable cloud computing environment for small to mid-sized businesses. Huge third-party cloud service providers operate public clouds and offer services to multiple organizations or individuals over the internet. It resembles an apartment building owner renting out rooms to individual tenants.
Public clouds are cost-effective, as they operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, with no upfront costs or long-term commitments. They are also scalable, meaning businesses can quickly expand their computing resources as their needs grow.
Public clouds also offer a range of services, including infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS), allowing businesses to choose. For example, with these three different types of service, a PaaS solution provides a platform for developers to build, test, and deploy applications without having to worry about underlying infrastructure.
Whereas IaaS provides users with virtualized computing resources such as virtual desktop, storage, and networking, allowing them to build and manage their software applications and systems.
SaaS delivers ready-to-use software apps over the internet. Users don’t have to install and maintain their apps. They just log on and begin working.
Limitations of Public Cloud Computing for Small to Mid-Sized Businesses
Public cloud providers usually have a wide range of security measures to protect against cyber-attacks, which is critical for businesses that must keep their data and systems secure.
Overall, a public cloud can be attractive for small to mid-sized businesses. At least at first glance. But once you look under the hood, there may be a few things to give you pause. For one thing, there is little room for you to control your environment. There is little wiggle room for customizing any aspect of the infrastructure to meet specific needs.
For another, if you expect a speedy resolution to problems, you’ll probably be disappointed. Support and troubleshooting problems can become disruptive if they take a long time to resolve. When submitting trouble tickets to public cloud providers, the response time and support quality vary widely, making it difficult to predict how quickly they can help you resolve issues.
A third and final consideration has to do with compliance. SMEs must often comply with strict regulatory standards, particularly if they work with government contracts. Meeting HIPAA or NIST requirements can be challenging in a public cloud environment.
Large & Enterprise Level Companies
The most suitable cloud computing environment for large and enterprise-level companies is typically a private or hybrid cloud. Single organizations operate private clouds. These cloud service providers host on-premises or in a data center owned and operated by a third-party provider. In the case of IronOrbit, we own and control our data centers.
Private clouds offer greater control over computing resources, allowing organizations to customize their environment to meet their needs. Private cloud providers also can provide better cybersecurity and privacy layers, keeping data within the organization’s system. Hybrid clouds combine public and private cloud environments, allowing organizations to take advantage of the best of both worlds. For example, a private cloud can keep more sensitive data. The public cloud can be the place to store less sensitive data. Hybrid clouds provide the flexibility to scale up or down as needed and offer cost savings by utilizing public cloud resources for non-sensitive data.
Large and enterprise-level companies typically have complex computing needs that require significant resources and high levels of customization. Private and hybrid clouds offer the flexibility, control, and security to meet these needs. However, it is essential to note that private and hybrid clouds require significant infrastructure, expertise, and maintenance investments. Organizations must also have robust security measures to protect against cyber attacks.
Overall, private and hybrid clouds are the most suitable cloud computing environments for large and enterprise-level companies requiring high-level customization, control, and security.
No matter what type of cloud infrastructure a business chooses, moving to the cloud presents an opportunity to reimagine how they do business and the value they bring to their customers. Cloud technology enables firms to be more agile, flexible, and responsive to changing market demands. By leveraging the scalability and flexibility of the cloud, businesses can streamline their operations, improve their customer service, and gain a competitive advantage.
With the cloud, businesses can access new technologies and tools that were once out of reach, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and big data analytics. This can help businesses better understand their customers, identify trends, and make data-driven decisions. Ultimately, the cloud helps business leaders change their perspective. Some may even have a paradigm shift that dramatically impacts long-term vision and direction.
They wrote that Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, Takeda uses “edge” technologyto help hemophiliacs monitor their enzymes at home. Edge
computing complements cloud computing by enabling data processing and analysis closer to the data source, dramatically reducing latency. This level of real-time mission-critical application would not be possible without cloud technology.
The article also introduces us to ENGIE, a French energy company that uses cloud technology to transform itself into a renewable and low-carbon energy provider across 70 countries. By creating a single, unified view of each customer using a PaaS tool, ENGIE can make customer insights accessible across all 24 business units. Here’s a case where a cloud computing platform enables ENGIE to quickly deliver tailor-made solutions for customers, such as its partnership with the University of Iowa to help the school become coal-free by 2025.
“Cloud is too important to a business’s fundamental competitiveness to be treated as an IT program. It’s about creating a platform for the efficiency, innovation, and growth that will determine the future success of your business.” Bhaskar Ghosh and Karthik Narain,
What CEOs Need to Know About the Cloud in 2021
Understanding the different types of cloud and their benefits can help you determine which cloud deployment model is best suited for your business. Whether you choose public, private, or hybrid cloud, cloud computing can help your business reduce IT headaches, boost productivity, and enhance security, all while leveraging the latest computing technology at a lower cost because you’re not having to re-outfit your IT infrastructure.
But the bottom line is cloud computing, not matter which type of environment you start with, will make all the difference in the sustainability of your company. Companies should develop cloud-first strategies and look towards building cloud economic capabilities, called FinOps. The longer companies delay, the more opportunity they waste to generate value. As the HBR article mentions, “FinOps capabilities can monitor and track spend, determine the unit economics for various cloud usage scenarios, and translate the business’ consumption needs into optimal cloud offerings and pricing arrangements.”
Moving to the cloud is a gateway opportunity for businesses to continually build on technology and nurture the possibilities of creating new digital value propositions for their customers. Beyond the surface-level benefits of increases in scalability and agility, cloud computing provides free-flowing access to new technologies, tools, and resources that help companies innovate and differentiate themselves in their respective markets, which is essential for staying ahead and driving growth. In this way, cloud migration is a foundational step to digital transformation.
We recently attended an AEC conference in California. One of the top-of-mind concerns was handling the prevailing trend to work from home, specifically how to overcome the challenge of mentoring junior architects and engineers with senior-level staff. On the one hand, if you force employees to return to the office, you risk losing out on potential talent at the hiring stage or risk people leaving to work somewhere else.
Mentoring is a crucial component of career development, but it can be challenging to establish a meaningful mentor-mentee relationship when working remotely. As remote work continues to become more prevalent, the challenge of mentoring employees in a virtual setting has become increasingly important. However, with the right tools and strategies, it’s possible to overcome these challenges and ensure that employees receive the guidance they need to succeed.
The Right Strategy
In a February 6, 2023 article for Forbes magazine, Dr.Gelb Tsiprusky recommended pairing senior staff with a junior talent for ongoing virtual mentoring sessions lasting between 20 to 30 minutes. Dr. Tsiprusky presents evidence showing the effectiveness of connecting junior teams working remotely with senior staff members. Dr. Tsiprusky recommends that these monthly 20-30 minute meetings have a checklist to address individual and collaborative tasks, obstacles, resources, and professional growth. Mentors should also co-work with mentees for at least an hour each week via videoconference, working on their assignments while being able to ask questions and receive on-the-job training.
During the co-working session, mentors and mentees can share what they plan to work on, turn microphones off but leave speakers on with video optional, and ask questions as needed. This speaker on approach replicates the benefit of a shared cubicle space and helps build bonds and integrate junior staff into the company culture. Use virtual whiteboards and screen sharing to demonstrate tasks graphically or visually. The goal is to facilitate on-the-job learning and contribute to professional growth in a remote work environment.
Two are Better than One
Studies also indicated that having one person from the junior staff’s business unit and another from a different team gave cross-functional connections. This broad perspective gave the junior staff a better understanding of organizational culture and how the company addresses needs in the industry.
The Right Tools
At IronOrbit, we believe technology can play a vital role in helping to bridge the gap between remote workers and their mentors. Our cutting-edge computing solutions, including faster GPUs and more powerful SKUs, provide the computing power needed to support remote mentoring. At the same time, our highly scalable and modular systems make it easy to tailor the technology to your specific needs. In addition to providing top-of-the-line technology, IronOrbit is also committed to the highest standards in security and compliance. Our daily offsite backups to a dedicated Disaster Recovery facility protect your data. At the same time, our collaboration-ready virtual desktops make it easy for mentors and mentees to work together from anywhere.
Our virtual desktops are also tailored specifically to your needs, making it easy to provide the resources and software necessary for successful mentoring. And with our 24/7/365 US-based support, you can rest assured that you always have access to the help and resources you need to ensure your mentoring program succeeds. Regarding remote mentoring, technology can be both a challenge and a solution. With IronOrbit’s advanced computing solutions and commitment to security and compliance, you can ensure that your mentoring program is effective, efficient, and successful, no matter where your employees work.
If you’re struggling with your hybrid work model, please call us. We’re here to help.
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” -Evolutionary Theory, Charles Darwin
When Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella took the stage in Seattle at the last Ignite Conference, the theme was “Do More with Less.” He talked about the importance of companies remaining agile and resilient. These skills are essential for success moving forward.
There are five challenges that will follow us into 2023. They are the following:
1. Staff Shortages
2. Supply Chain Issues
3. Economic Downturns
4. Energy Crisis
5. Cyber Attacks
1. Staff Shortages
About seven months ago, Microsoft published a study showing that43% of the workforce is contemplating leaving their jobs in 2023 because they’re simply burned out. The following statistics represent 31,000 people across 31 different countries over two years between February 2020 to February 2022.
Increase of Weekly Teams Meetings by 252%
6 Billion more Emails Sent
32% Increase in online Chatting
Increase in After-Hours Work by 28%
The pandemic lockdown took its toll on all of us in one way or another. Half of every adult reported symptoms of anxiety or depression. For many, the days were full of staying alive and healthy and keeping our family safe. A study by Ernst & Young showed that 54% of workers left previous employment because their supervisors weren’t empathetic to their struggles. These same managers didn’t care about anything that happened in their personal lives. Experts are now attributing much of the Great Resignation as a by-product of this “business-as-usual” mentality.
The question of hybrid work has yet to be decided, far from it. As companies determine how they can be most attractive to the best candidates, many are flexible with their work environments. The most popular long-term strategy seems to be a compromise, a variation of the hybrid work model. Either two days at home, three days in the office, or three days at home and two days in the office.
Hewlett-Packard is a good indicator of what the future enterprise office might be. HP is a huge multinational enterprise company with approximately 60,400 employees. The company wants to hire the best candidates and keep them as long as possible. HP did an internal investigation and found that almost two-thirds of all the employees wanted to spend only 20% or less working at the office. Alan May, HP’s Chief People Officer, said, “We know that when team members feel they have a balance, they are more productive and more likely to build a career at HPE.”
People who work at HPE choose when and if they want to come into the office. The setting at the office now reflects smaller spaces designed for close collaboration and socializing. Gone are the large conference-style rooms. People in the office will still sit on a Zoom call or a Microsoft Teams meeting.
The article points out how major climate threats confront supply chains everywhere. Companies must take a proactive stance on anticipating weather-related problems and how to respond to them. The article also pointed out that most companies are not prepared to handle the crisis if it should occur. There are no business continuity plans and no alternative sites identified as replacements. Becoming more resilient goes beyond ensuring short-term operational continuity during crises. Supply chain resilience comes down to your ability to work around supply chain disruptions with whatever existing capabilities you have in-house. Work to build protective measures into existing supply chains to better deal with shortages and rising logistical costs. You can also improve your company’s resilience by not counting on commodities with wildly escalating market prices.
Leverage digital technology to solve issues and problems before they happen. You already know supply chain problems will continue into 2023. Machine learning and big data tools can help identify the main problem areas and help source alternatives. Custom cloud services and solutions can accelerate innovation and value across supply chain networks.
Our blog from earlier this year explored how digital manufacturing can be a game changer. Digital manufacturing is the application of cloud computing systems to manufacture services, supply chains, data collection, warehousing, and processes. Digital manufacturing technologies link systems and processes across the production environment to create an integrated approach to manufacturing. This strategy encompasses everything from design and development to producing and servicing the final products. Traditional factories were analog environments where everything was built by hand and have become Smart Factories.
The window of opportunity is open but will only remain for a while. Remember, things move fast, and the stakes couldn’t be higher for manufacturing to get innovation right. Writing about transforming businesses through technology and innovation, Ethan Karp is the President and CEO of a non-profit manufacturing consulting group called Magnet.In his Forbes article, 4 Reasons 2022 Can Be A Game Changer for American Manufacturing, Karp recognizes the opportunity for American manufacturing.
Supply chain disruptions, like a cancerous cell, have significantly contributed to the following two challenges, the economic downturn and the energy crisis
3. Economic Downturns
Supply chain constraints have done their share of stunting economic growth. Supply chain disruptions lead to things that weaken a country’s economy. Things like shortages of critical goods, price inflation, factory closures, and unloaded shipping containers. Economic experts cast gloomy predictions for 2023. The forecast calls for ongoing inflation, higher interest rates, and depressed economic growth. As counterintuitive as it might sound to invest money while the global economy becomes increasingly unpredictable, companies should bolster their position by adopting digital technologies. Embracing digital technology to optimize processes and improve efficiencies on multiple levels enables organizations to be lean, more resilient, and adaptable.
Digital technology solutions can optimize your workflow by significantly improving productivity, streamlining, and advancing processes to benefit your entire team and your customers. Relevant data can be accessed in real-time by those who need it when they need it. The boost in efficiency will save precious while creating a more fluid workflow between departments. Employees perform better and accomplish more in less time.
Take a Clue from Recent History
During the Recession of 2007-2009, the companies that prioritized early cost restrictions, starting with implementing emerging digital technologies, were able to increase profitability and, in some cases, continue growing. Having business-critical data in a cloud computing environment provides a reliable and secure infrastructure. Cloud applications ensure business continuity and increase the ability to pivot.
4. Energy Crisis
Cyclic demands for energy combined with slow supply recovery after the pandemic contributes to an unpredictable global energy situation. As uncertainty and volatility in the energy market continue to mount, Europe faces complete depletion of natural gases by the Spring of 2023. The European energy crisis will restrain industrial production and push Germany deeper into a recession as we move into 2023. Using digital technologies, utility companies can use the enormous amount of data from distributed energy resources in situational intelligence.
Doing More with Less
Digital twins are available to allow utilities to detect current problems and wasteful energy drains, prevent escalations, predict future situations and optimize the flow of electricity. Digital twin models can be used to solve the demand for more electricity with less carbon output and a more affordable cost. Leveraging data, analytics, and software solutions, digital technology can help global energy companies meet the challenge of providing reliable power and strengthening the future of energy.
5. Cyber Attacks
If you travel to Northern California, there’s a roadhouse biker bar called the Alpine Inn, a few miles from Stanford University. Just inside, there is a plaque that reads:
BEGINNING OF THE INTERNET AGE
On August 27, 1976, scientists from SRI International celebrated the successful completion of tests by sending an electronic message from a computer set up at a picnic table behind the Alpine Inn. The message was sent via a radio network to SRI and through a second network, the ARPANET, to Boston. This event marked the beginning of the Internet Age.
None of the scientist present that day had any security concerns about what they were building. They were trying to get the thing to work. What they made would soon become the digital backbone for our modern banking, commerce, infrastructure, health care, energy, and weapons systems. There was no consideration given to the idea that this would become an interconnected system one day.
In her foreboding book,THIS IS HOW THEY TELL ME THE WORLD ENDS, Nicole Perlroth tracked down one of the men at the picnic table on August 27, 1976. His name is Dave Retz, and he shares an ominous foreshadowing of things to come.
Two years before they pulled up to Zott’s (now the Alpine Inn), air-traffic controllers at San Francisco airport started complaining that beams of “unknown origin” were interfering with their radars. As it turned out, SRI’s radio frequencies had infiltrated the airport’s traffic control. But even then, the idea this invention might one day threaten to bring down airplanes, disrupt water supplies, or rig an election hardly fazed the men and women building its basic blocks. Some four decades later, in 2020, San Francisco International Airport officials had just discovered that the same stealth Russian hackers probing our nuclear plants, grid, and states had hijacked an internet portal used by airport travelers and employees.
I asked Retz what, if anything, he would take back. His reply was immediate and unequivocal. “Everything can be intercepted,” he told me. “Everything can be captured. People have no way of verifying the integrity of these systems. We weren’t thinking about this back then. But the fact is,” he added ruefully, “everything is vulnerable.”
Cyber-attacks threaten more than business-critical data. When you consider Frost & Sullivan’s reporting on accelerated growth over the next eight years, you realize the enormity of the challenges ahead. The research firm projects that the earth will have a complex network of 200 billion devices, averaging 20 connected devices for every human being on the planet. As IoT-connected devices become more sophisticated in their capabilities, vulnerabilities to attack will rise too.
Cybercriminals continually poke and prod for vulnerabilities and broader attack surfaces.
In an article for CSO Online, Apurva Venkat writes, “There is a significant shift underway from on-premises to cloud-based services. Crucial elements of many business processes are on the cloud now, easing file sharing and workforce collaboration. We continue to see increasing efforts by adversaries to target cloud-based assets.”
She quotes Nick Lowe, director for Falcon OverWatch [CrowdStrike’s managed threat hunting service that provides deep and continuous human analysis, 24/7, to identify novel attacker tradecraft designed to evade standard security technologies] at CrowdStrike,“So now, more than ever, it’s critical for organizations to deploy that mix of technology-based controls and human-led hunting to be best positioned to combat these evolving cloud threats.”
By next year, Gartner predicts, 60% of enterprises will phase out most of their VPNs for Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA) which provides secure remote access to business-critical data based on clearly defined access control policies. As we pointed out in an earlier blog, robust and holistic cybersecurity protocols must be considered a cost of doing business. Security is vital at all times, particularly during the economic upheaval.
Just as the critical challenges are interconnected with each other, so are the tools we’ll use to ease some of these challenges. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies continue to impact our business and personal lives, and they will continue to do so. In many cases, we need to be fully aware of how much AI influences what we do at work or what we purchase online. We’ve grown accustomed to having things suggested to us. Ready-to-use technologies are increasingly becoming available to us via the cloud.
Boundaries separating transformational digital technology tools are blurring together. As we move into 2023, AI, the Internet of Things, virtual and augmented reality, and cloud computing will move in tangent. The availability of one will mean the availability of another. All forms of hybrid working environments, business decisions, and automation of routine tasks will continue to converge in ways that will enhance each other. Consider how modern smartphones make many applications available to us from one device.
Investment in technology will position your company for stronger resilience and out-term growth, especially during periods of volatility and uncertainty.
Modernizing your company’s IT environment has never been more critical for future survival. No industry is off the hook regarding the need to transform digitally. Modernization is necessary to keep pace with your competitors. Legacy systems could suddenly break down or no longer be serviceable. There are several urgent reasons for you to modernize your IT infrastructure.
Modernization delivers fantastic benefits to a company, including:
· Better User Experience
· Improved Efficiencies
· Enhanced Operational Visibility
· Great Accountability
Modernizing your IT infrastructure also increases your company’s resiliency and scalability and provides a solid foundation for digital transformation.
Customers today expect a fast, seamless digital experience from banking to retail, transportation to hospitality. A seamless cross-channel experience is expected by today’s customers, regardless of their demographic. One example: Over 50% of U.S. Adults, 18+ now do banking on their mobile devices, according to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey. That includes a surprisingly high 42% of the Boomer segment.
For financial institutions, it’s become table stakes. But other industries have some catching up to do. Finding the sweet spot for integrating new technology can be a challenge. Implementing new technology can be an adjustment for employees to learn and use productively. IronOrbit has the tools and strategy to help get your company on the golden path to modernization.
IT is no longer a Back-End Role.
Modernization is about technology, and it’s also about cultivating a new mindset regarding how the business operates and how it can deliver unique value propositions to its customers. An example of an outdated attitude is to think of the CIO as being restricted to all things IT. A modern approach would include the CIO to drive recovery and future growth.
Most business leaders believe IT plays a significant role in supporting business outcomes. Seventy percent of C-level executives still view IT as confined to saving money, keeping the lights on, and ensuring an internet connection.
Modernizing means unifying business and technology to future-proof organizations, including scalability and agility, and developing growth strategies.
A recent IDG survey of 200 IT leaders revealed positive modernization results, even before the completion of the process. The report found that although one in four organizations completed less than one-quarter of their initial IT modernization goals, all achieved improved quality of service, better customer satisfaction, cost savings, increases in uptime, and the creation of new streams of revenue.
The Digital Mindset
A mindset is a way of thinking and orienting to the world that shapes how we perceive, feel, and act. Having a digital mindset means conditioning ourselves to see how connectivity, data, algorithms, and AI create new possibilities for delivering value. Business leaders who cultivate a digital attitude can position their organization for optimal success and resiliency.
Finding the Sweet Spot
Developing new ways of thinking and new ways of working takes time.
Here are three good places to start:
1. Assess the readiness of your IT for future business and growth priorities. 2. Review the business strategy based on tech-driven outcomes. 3. Align a technology strategy to achieve business impact and enablement.
The last thing you want to do is skip steps. Take the time needed to assess where your IT infrastructure is now and how it impacts your business to where you want it to be a few years from now.
IronOrbit can help you decide which workloads should migrate to a cloud environment. Additionally, we offer
· Minimize disruption as your organization transitions to new technology
· Availability 24/7 365 Days a Year
· Automated Operations and Self-Service options
· Full Back up and Disaster Recovery Availability
· Over 30 years of Business Technology Experience
IT modernization is challenging because it involves change management. Modernizing is also an ongoing process because technology constantly evolves at an ever-accelerating rate. The engineers and IT innovators at IronOrbit pride themselves on staying ahead of the curve and continuously developing improvements and better ways to contribute to the success of our clients.
Reasons Why Remote Work Benefits Employees & Companies
Remote work benefits employees and companies is the resiliency of having the technology in place to mobilize workforces overnight. The remote work environment is here to stay. It is true; we were all sent home to work remotely under duress. Employees and companies discovered unexpected benefits from a work-from-home (WFH) environment. Remote work has its pros and cons, but mostly, people like being able to work remotely.
16% of Companies Worldwide are 100% Remote in 2022
41% of US Workers are Fully Remote.
2022 is almost over, and companies are still trying to decide whether to continue having a remote workforce, head back to the office, or devise a solution combining the two. Employees and many job seekers want the flexibility to work from home.
85% of IT Leaders Who Have Deployed Remote Desktops in Their Firms Would Recommend It
(Source: The State of Remote Work in 2021)
80% of US Workers Would Reject a Job Offer That Didn’t Include a Flexible Work Environment
(PR Newswire Study 2021)
As the CEO of the research firm Ladders says,
“This change in a working arrangement is impossible to overhype. As big as it is, it’s even bigger than people think.”
Gartner reports that remote work is a cornerstone of the post-pandemic future of work. A Gallup poll from the beginning of the year showed that half of the remote-capable employees prefer a hybrid work environment. The popularity of the flexible work phenomenon is as beneficial for the company as it is for employees. There’s a more extensive selection of qualified candidates for the growing digital economy opportunities. Having the technological capacity for a productive virtual environment could help define who gets to work in a digital economy and which companies will thrive.
Benefits to Companies Offering Flexible Work Environments
Employee mobility is part of the digital economy. In the digital era, a modern IT infrastructure means having to untether workforces from having to work in a specific location. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a cloud-based technology that enables work to happen from anywhere on any device. Working from anywhere on any device eliminates the costs of leasing office space, buying furniture, paying for utilities, and other overhead expenses. The elimination of overhead costs is significant. By allowing remote work, IBM eliminated 58 million square feet of office space and saved $50 million in real estate expenses. The cost savings are significant for small businesses as well. The JCA insurance agency no longer pays for a 4,000-square-foot office and the overhead that goes with that. Watch Video. Being a remote employer helps JCA’s bottom line.
Increases in Focus and Engagement Produces Higher Productivity
The experiment on mass WFH orders showed that people got more work done. They no longer had to commute and didn’t have the distractions of working in an office environment. Many studies show that remote work leads to increased productivity and better performance. Hiring new employees is an expensive process for companies. The average expense is around $4,000 and usually takes weeks, sometimes months, to fill. A recent Stanford University study showed a 13% increase in productivity; workers took fewer breaks, were more satisfied with their jobs, and reduced attrition rates by half.
The disadvantages of not setting up the capabilities to work remotely cut deeper than being less attractive to job seekers or losing existing employees who want more flexibility. Establishing a remote-ready IT infrastructure means leadership is being proactive; they’re at once forward-leaning and remembering the lessons of the pandemic.
The Virtual Workspace
A recent Gartner study predicts that 70% of Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) leaders deploying DaaS will exceed their budgets due to a lack of proactive cost management. The configuration of each virtual machine impacts the amount of money spent on DaaS. IronOrbit prevents clients from spending on services they don’t need by having multiple options for its INFINITY Workspaces. There is an INFINITY Workspaces solution to fit each use case. For example, power workers need more run more GPU-enabled applications like Autodesk’s Revit. Process workers need basic applications such as Microsoft Office.
Aside from the obvious benefits to an organization workforce mobility can bring, having the IT infrastructure to shift from office to home at a moment’s notice fortifies a company from future volatility and unexpected disruptions. Having a cloud-based IT environment makes a company more resilient. Cloud computing has become a proactive measure that safeguards business continuity. Companies can scale up or down quickly, and the process is effortless. Sharing information becomes more efficient when you combine cloud technology and managed services. Things like product development and decision-making happen faster. Connectivity boost productivity because your workforce, including your IT department, can focus on more value-to-the-customer tasks.
Technology There When You Need It
When the pandemic lockdown occurred, businesses on the cloud could adapt to the new remote working norms quicker and more efficiently than those that weren’t.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
Leveraging IronOrbit’s technology allows companies to provision desktops quickly. A workspace can become accessible to users from anywhere while maintaining the required security protections to meet the highest compliance standards.
It was the day the lockdown began in Washington.
One of our clients, Mark Gallant of the Truss Company View Case Study, sat in an emergency meeting. Everybody was under a great deal of stress, except for him. Company leaders asked, “How are our employees going to work? How can we continue to serve our customers?” Mark smiled because he knew they already had a ready-made solution to the problem. Months prior, they had moved to IronOrbit’s cloud environment. Now, they had to have everyone grab their computers, go home, and log on.
Your company might be one of those organizations still making decisions on the question of your work environment. Whether it’s back to the office, completely remote, or a combination of the two, one thing is clear. Business continuity in the digital economy demands a flexible and elastic IT environment. One that moves when you move. The longer you wait to migrate to the cloud, the more you risk losing your competitive advantage.
IronOrbit can ensure your company has the resiliency it needs to future-proof against almost any scenario.
The terms digitization and digitalization are often mistaken for one another. They mean different things, and it’s important not to confuse them.
Digitization is not digital transformation.
Why is it Important to Know the Difference?
Understanding what the two words mean is not just about semantics. To confuse the two sets up unreasonable expectations and shortchanges the importance of digital transformation. Bewilderment could put your company in jeopardy. You think you’re accomplishing one thing when you’re doing something else. These two things have to go in sequence. To skip steps or jump ahead for expediency creates problems down the road.
Digital Technologies Are Raising the Bar Every Day
Let’s begin with the fundamental building block known as digitization. Digitizing is a primary building block. You must digitize operations if you’re going to remain competitive. But keep in mind that digitizing is only half the story.
What is Digitization?
Digitization, or digitizing, is the conversion of analog to digital technology. Digitization improves what we’ve always done in companies. Digitization minimizes using paper because you’re no longer using paper and pen. You’re inputting data into a desktop or mobile device using keyboard strokes. Sometimes, you’re simply scanning a bar code or QR Code (QR codes store far more information and responsiveness is ten times faster than bar codes).
Digitizing existing processes has the following benefits:
Better Customer Experience
Lower Operational Costs
Improved Decision Making
Secure & Accessible-Anywhere Information
Once you replace analog with digital processes, you’ll notice significant reductions in print volume and costs. Digital files transfer quickly, update instantly, and are much easier to track. A standard KPI of digitizing would be a cost-cutting metric. Using digital technologies and digitizing data improves productivity and can create new revenue streams.
Enhanced Productivity & Outcomes
A digitized company has the distinct advantage of having faster, more agile, and more scalable workflows. Adopting new tools happens more quickly and efficiently than with legacy systems. The entire information infrastructure becomes connected to quarterly goals and business outcome targets. Digitizing offers significant operational improvements such as boosting efficiencies and enhancements with customer experience. Plus, digitizing opens the door to innovations impossible in an analog environment.
What is Digitalization?
Digitalization indicates a company is in the process of moving to the second half of the story. You know you’re a digital company when you begin delivering new customer value propositions that are digitally delivered. That is becoming digital.
Gartner defines digitalization as going beyond digitization. Its use of digital tech changes a business model and provides new revenue and other value-producing opportunities.
Brand New Value Propositions
What problem can you solve for your customers that you never considered part of your mandate? Move beyond traditional products and services to solve your customer’s problems.
Digitalization involves a paradigm shift in the culture and changes the business model. That is why digitalization could lead to a complete digital transformation of your business. The journey involves creating strategies that leverage digital capabilities to innovate new value propositions.
Digitization vs. Digitalization
Digitization involves a one-time implementation. On the other hand, digitalization demands developing new processes and strategies over time. The best-case scenarios would be accumulative, with a tiny success building upon another.
Digitization is about operational excellence. As an improvement of existing processes, you do the same things you’ve always done, only better.
Digitalization is about rapid business innovation to deliver new customer value propositions.
The Importance of Using the Right Technology
Because not everyone in your company is tech-friendly, investing in technology that is easy to use and accessible is crucial. Everyone from C-level executives to managers and frontline employees must work together to drive digital innovation and business outcomes. Companies that make digital tools accessible throughout their organization achieve higher proficiency levels. With these gains in place, it’s easier to reimagine every aspect of business operations.
More About People Than About Technology
While digitalization is still mainly about using digital technology, the processes and strategies that arise require new skills and the adoption of new ways of doing business. Realizing the full benefits of digitalization means investing in new skills training and developing process agility. Transformational benefits arise from creating a company culture that inspires widespread frequent experimentation.
Most business leaders still rely on outdated organizational structures to implement strategies. They are unaware of how structure inhibits agility. Business strategy must, at all times, be fluid. People, processes, data, and technology synchronize continuously to identify and deliver innovative customer solutions. Another handicap of traditionally structured corporations is that it is too slow.
The journey requires organizational changes that are customer-centric. The journey leverages technology and needs leadership support. Digitalization empowers and enables employees and customers by leveraging technology and opening all company levels to experimentation and exploration. That’s why the IT Director needs to be a part of the business planning discussions.
Digital Business Design
People refer to the business design as business architecture. Most people think of architecture as the purview of the IT department. If you have a business architecture function, it’s usually part of your IT division. By contrast, digital business design is the responsibility of senior executives and IT leaders.
Ultimately, all businesses must become digital to thrive in a digital economy. The ones that will be most successful at this will be those that design themselves for it. Digital design, not strategy, will separate the winners from the losers.
Just to Recap
Digitization converts information from a physical format to digital. Digitizing is a prerequisite building block of digitalization. Digitalization is the more advanced stage that can lead to digital transformation. Digital transformation is about futureproofing and resiliency.
Modernizing operations means digitizing as a fundamental first step. Digitizing can lead to digitalization. A company can implement a series of digitalization projects like automating processes, developing employee skills, and innovating new ways to leverage digital technology, but digital transformation is more than implementing various projects.
Digital transformation is a long slow journey that requires company-wide involvement and participation. Few companies are designed for digital. Becoming a digital company is a challenge. The path to successful transformation is not straight nor easy to navigate. Much effort goes into deliberately synchronizing people, processes, and technology.
Digitization can lead to digitalization which can lead to digital transformation. Only companies going through the process of digitalization can choose to become digital. While digitizing and digitalization are about leveraging technology, digital transformation is a revolution that changes the design of the business. While none of these are sufficient to guarantee the next level, any step forward is an investment in your company’s future well-being.
The transformational aspect empowers entire organizations and delivers new service levels to your clients.
IronOrbit enables organizations to modernize their information infrastructure, link workflows, and scale productivity. More than a technology service provider, IronOrbit can help you understand where your infrastructure is today and where you want it to be tomorrow.
Focus on targeted objectives and tap into the power of cloud-based transformations.
Wherever you are on your digital transformation journey, IronOrbit can help. The most important thing you can do for your company is to take the initiative to advance the infrastructure of your business. What change could you make today to help streamline operations and become more resilient?
Sometimes it helps to have a knowledgeable sounding board on your side. Whether your business still has an on-premises server or has already moved to the cloud, we can help you identify valuable opportunities for future innovation and growth.
At a recent design and manufacturing conference, a question came up. “Is the industry ready to make use of new technologies?” The answer came back, a resounding no. Most companies have skipped the step of digitizing their existing processes, so they’re not ready for new digital inputs. Perhaps an excellent intermediary step would be to reimagine business as usual by partnering with a managed service provider (MSP).
Shifting to a managed services environment is a critical step for many businesses. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with wondering about your next best business decision, then you’re not alone.
Many companies haven’t figured out how to change themselves enough to grapple with legacy challenges, let alone how to solve new, more complex puzzles like digitizing operations. By having an MSP like IronOrbit, companies can take their time becoming more comfortable with the idea of digitizing. When companies are ready to digitize, they won’t need to do major surgery on their IT infrastructure or data architecture before they begin. Instead, they’ll have a reliable partner who can focus on providing the right technology at the right time.
The Growing Skills Gap
In January 2021, a McKinsey study found that 87% of companies worldwideare aware of a skills gap. Gaps in IT departments will become increasingly conspicuous as emerging technologies continue to get a foothold. In the digital age, companies need to move fast. Ongoing IT education is prohibitive for many organizations. Even if the financial resources are available, the process is too slow. There is a genuine need for businesses to move faster than before. Whatever they can do to enable their operations to be more transformative and innovative with their use of technology, the better off they’ll be for whatever happens next.
As soon as an IT, enterprise resource planning (ERP), or e-commerce business solution is down; an organization instantly loses profits. Efficiency and expertise are necessary for getting these solutions back up and running. Bracing for the storm of increasing demand and decreasing labor power, business leaders may feel stuck when making their next move. If this is the case, managed services could be a solution. Here are the factors to consider.
Bridge the Skills Gap
A recent Prudential survey reports that businesses that focus on continuously expanding employee skills have a tremendous advantage over those companies that don’t. When critical business technology goes down, companies can’t wait for internal IT teams to figure it out. Having a managed services partner like IronOrbit can efficiently solve the issue; moreover, a predictive analysis might prevent such disruptions in the first place.
Your Perfect IT Partner: Five Things
When considering a managed services partner to fit your business, there are five key characteristics to consider:
Cost Savings – With IronOrbit’s managed services expertise and ability to efficiently solve IT challenges, you’ll notice significant cost savings by filling the skills gap and preventing extended downtime, lag issues, and recurring IT problems.
An Increase in Productivity & Efficiency– Supporting your business and employees is IronOrbit’s reason for being. IronOrbit’s Managed Services free your internal IT, so they can focus on other priorities and increase your business’s efficiency.
Quick Response Times – IronOrbit’s support staff is available when you need them so you can increase efficiency. IOCentral’s self-help automation tools make it fast and easy to open support tickets and check status around the clock, three hundred and twenty-five days a year. IronOrbit guarantees a consistent and reliable communication line to address urgent issues efficiently. Access to IronOrbit Resources and Specialized Expertise. IronOrbit service providers are certified professionals who have the expertise your business needs.
An Extension of Your IT Department – With IronOrbit’s Managed Services, you’re not just getting a solid and secure IT infrastructure; you’re getting a partner who can liaise between your IT department and your ERP and e-commerce providers for the most effective solutions. Your team will have more time to spend on furthering business-critical activities than solving IT problems.
Finding What Works for Your Business – IronOrbit has the expertise and innovative technology to best support you and your team regardless of the business needs. IronOrbit’s Smart Managed Services enables you and your teams to step away from any IT needs to focus on critical strategies for sustainable business growth. You’ll have more bandwidth to experiment and figure things out. Plus, you’ll have a technology partner ready to provide options for any challenge that may appear on the horizon. Companies face innumerable disruptive threats and risks. IronOrbit’s Smart Managed Services ensure smooth sailing for your IT environment now and in the future. We’ll be there whenever you’re ready to do more of anything, including digitize operations.
Please call us now at 888-753-5060 for a free no-obligation consultation.
Seamless collaboration is the future for many industries. But it is indispensable for the future of the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction industry (AEC) sector. A recent McKinsey report found that 80% percent of average cost overruns come from change orders. Imagine how well the industry would perform if that statistic weren’t there. Years before the pandemic erupted, the AEC industry rapidly moved toward remote and hybrid work models. Competitive firms wanted to make it easy for the right talent to join their project teams.
According to the World Economic Forum, 98% of people surveyed want to work from home for the remainder of their careers. A Gartner survey found 82% of businesses plan to retain a remote work environment. Enabling remote work is only one part, albeit a foundational one, of an increasingly complex question. As more work goes on outside a corporate office environment, businesses will use cloud technologies to make applications and files available from anywhere on any device. The question is how to stay current and competitive with the rapid changes in the industry.
The AEC industry continues to undergo tectonic shifts away from labor-intensive methods to automation through digital technologies. The growth of digitalization paves the way for more rapid adoption of technologies such as Building Information Modeling.
The Promise of Building Information Modeling (BIM)
BIM is a computer-based tool used by architects, engineers, and builders to design residential housing to high office buildings. The time-saving and improved efficiency modeling potential is enormous where entire life cycles of buildings are manageable. Building owners can benefit from real-time monitoring of energy expenditure peaks and valleys, physical maintenance requirements, etc. Why not connect the smart features of the building into the BIM equation.
The power of BIM is growing as more and more cloud-connected technologies take collaboration and connectivity to whole new levels. Think about the integration of BIM so that cities can monitor civic resources like water and power consumption. Waste and recycling initiatives could become more efficient. But for all of that transformational power and potential to save money and build better and more efficiently, BIM is what Mitchell Hughes, author of the Future of BIM is Seamless Collaboration, calls a downstream tool. Hughes writes that architects, engineers, and building designers don’t want many upstream changes coming in from contractors.
Project team leads must make information and communication accessible across a well-managed, secure environment for architects and engineers to use what BIM offers fully. You want an easy-to-understand way for all project stakeholders, from the design captain to the contractor and building manager, to tap into the information they need. One way to do this is through the adoption of Desktop-as-a-Service (Daas).
DaaS is an evolution of the old Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)
The difference, and what a significant difference, is that DaaS is cloud-based. The fact that a company’s IT infrastructure is in a cloud environment accomplishes many things, not the least of which is relieving the company of the burdens of daily administration, upgrades, patching, and troubleshooting that goes along with an on-premises VDI deployment. Let’s face it, an IT refresh and managing many desktops and mobile devices can eat up much time; and, therefore, money.
The custom fit of IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces allows internal IT professionals the mental bandwidth and time they need to strategize with business leadership to develop initiatives that can have a direct and meaningful long-term impact on the company’s success. Not only improving efficiencies but also setting the stage for new digital innovation. Better Communication and Collaboration mean fewer change orders. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) would enable handling the necessary changes quickly and easily. The entire industry would become faster and more efficient.
The technology professionals at IronOrbit are passionate about helping companies unlock the full potential of being on the cloud. We’re also passionate about seeing the promise of BIM fulfilled. IronOrbit’s INFINTY Workspaces is not just DaaS, but a gateway into a multilayered cloud ecosystem offering unprecedented value and benefit.
Learn more about IronOrbit’s INFINITY Workspaces; download your copy of the INFINITY brochure.
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