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.
Back when most of the IT experts of today began in the industry, the only infrastructure that was readily available and dependable was on-site servers and networks that were bulky, expensive, and time-consuming to manage and maintain. The last ten years have witnessed tremendous advancements in information technology. Now, IT engineers can design, develop, and implement a company’s entire IT infrastructure within a cloud environment in a fraction of the time it used to take. This good news isn’t just for the IT experts, but for the everyday business owners as well!
Because cloud infrastructure is readily available, you can take advantage of high-powered cloud computing through Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). Although DaaS may sound complicated, it’s not. You can use any internet-connected device to access your operating system, applications, business data, and even your desktop settings.
What does that mean for your business? It means anywhere, anytime secure access to your company’s workflow. But that’s just the beginning of the high-impact benefits for forward-leaning companies that choose to leverage the power of Desktop as a Service.
Eliminates Grunt Work
Using a DaaS saves your IT department from having to do mundane grunt work such as application licensing, patching, and troubleshooting.
Outside of the fact that DaaS lowers your IT management cost by shifting that responsibility to the cloud provider is the fact that your organization has to spend less effort on maintaining your IT assets. Even companies that have outsourced their IT maintenance to a 3rd party still have a measure of IT housekeeping that they must do internally. DaaS makes IT maintenance and management hands-free for your staff – allowing them to be more effective and efficient in the tasks they were hired to do.
If you’re tired of employees complaining about their computers – or about the IT support – if you’re sick of doing endless updates, upgrades, patches – all to avoid the blue screen of death – DaaS is where you want to be. Most cloud providers offering DaaS have proven their ability to maintain their promise of 99.99% reliable uptime. That’s good news for your workflow and for your ability to focus on your work – not IT issues.
DaaS puts your company’s workflow in your hands instead of at the mercy of IT roadblocks, ransomware, or a natural disaster like hurricanes, fires, and tornados.
You don’t have to worry about a local network crashing – because there is none. It’s all in the cloud. You don’t have to think about losing data if your laptop dies – because your actual “computer” is virtual and all your data is stored in the cloud. Instead of having an operational IT system and a Business Continuity strategy backup system, you’re using your Business Continuity system every day in the cloud.
Since your data is stored at a secure facility offsite; or, in the case of IronOrbit, stored at multiple data centers, it is protected against onsite server failure or natural disasters. Having redundant backups provides a safety net. If a natural disaster impacts data center one, data center two kicks in automatically.
IT support teams in businesses take reasonable precautions to guard against cybercrime. These security measures cannot compete with the security technologies employed by cloud providers delivering DaaS options for businesses.
Critically DaaS shifts the security burden away from the individual device and places it within a data center infrastructure designed for the highest levels of protection. To put it simply, it would be cost-prohibitive for a small to mid-size business to hire even one IT security professional to protect their in-house systems to the level of a Tiered private cloud hosting partner.
Data is no longer vulnerable on a local device but held – and regularly backed up – in a secure hosted environment; it is also encrypted and can be made accessible only through multi-factor authentication protocols. The addition of a designated managed service provider also has its advantages. Systems are monitored 24/7. For example, a managed service provider can prevent someone from stealing data using a USB. That’s why enterprise-class organizations, the military, and the government are overwhelmingly looking to cloud providers to host their workflow. The security is there.
Enhanced Flexibility, Agility, & Mobility
We’ve already noted that cloud infrastructure along with new virtual desktops for your staff can be deployed in record time in comparison to traditional on-site IT setups. But that’s just a baseline. Consider the fluctuations of the marketplace over the past few years. The companies that survived and thrived were the ones most able to, in the words of Mohammad Ali, “Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee.” Companies need a high level of agility combined with decisive leadership that can act quickly. DaaS allows you to scale up or down easily, add or reduce capacity, and change directions on the fly if needed.
Once you’ve moved your IT system to a DaaS, mobility becomes much easier. Modern companies are flexible enough to have their employees work from anywhere and on any device of their choosing. To thrive in the new cloud ecosystem, companies will need every tool available to be resilient. Teams will have to expand and contract at a moment’s notice, and they will need to respond quickly to opportunities the moment they appear. DaaS is a building block that makes all of that possible.
Being agile and flexible enables organizations to pivot if need be to remain resilient. Mauro F. Guillen writes, in a recent HBR article, that “successful companies often pivot to a business model that’s conducive to short-term survival, and long-term resilience and growth. Pivoting is a lateral move that creates enough value for the customer and the firm to share.”
The focus is now on productivity, elasticity, and value to the customer. These are the main characteristics that will drive the proliferation of DaaS in business.
Reduces Upfront Costs
DaaS reduces enormous upfront costs. Imagine all the hardware you’d have to invest in just to get started. In-house IT infrastructure and computers have to be purchased and implemented with the next 3-5 years of business operations in mind. Recent events have shown that it is impossible to predict the next year much less project 3 to 5 years out.
Even during times of stability, it is often a challenge to budget for hardware replacement. CFOs have to also account for the depreciation of capital expenditures. From the moment you open the box on a new computer, the value depreciates. With many companies still in recovery mode, many are having to delay refreshes altogether, even at the risk of struggling with outdated technology.
DaaS provides the luxury of keeping IT aligned with workflows no matter how dynamic and volatile they may become.
Since DaaS is subscription-based, you’re renting equipment. This subscription-based model moves expenditures from a capital expenditure (CapEX) to an operational expenditure (OpEx). You’re only going to pay for what you use; therefore, if you use a lot, you’re going to pay more. Correspondingly, if you don’t use very much, you pay a minimum amount. This is a CFO’s dream come true because it streamlines operations in ways that lower overall operational costs.
CFOs love DaaS and other cloud-based solutions because of the budget predictability provided by packaged solutions but the fact that they can move CAPEX expenses into the OPEX column. This provides a range of financial and tax efficiencies. #1 in those efficiencies is that your company doesn’t have to pay a large amount of money for in-house servers and networks to be installed. And when your business grows, you don’t have to factor bigger, better servers (with bigger and better prices) into your budgets. Moving IT expenditures from CAPEX to OPEX gives you the flexibility to utilize your cash reserves for other, pro-growth initiatives. Having a fixed and predictable monthly fee certainly makes budgetary planning and forecasting much easier than the break and fix nature of on-premise servers or even in-house VPNs.
Energy Conservation Helps the Environment
You’re only one company, but you want to do your part for the environment – and you want your consumers to SEE you doing your part for the environment. Because DaaS allows you to use your devices for longer and to partner with eco-conscious cloud platforms, you can do your part for the planet without it costing you more to do so.
A study conducted by the Carbon Disclosure Project found companies that utilized cloud computing saved a total of $1.3 billion annually and reduced carbon emissions by an equivalent of 200 barrels of oil.
Just imagine the hardware and electrical power needs of even a small-size company. An organization saves tremendous amounts of energy by moving its IT system to a DaaS environment because no onsite servers are gobbling up massive amounts of electrical power. More employees working from home means fewer carbon emissions from vehicles traveling to and from work every day. When you start to consider the number of companies and the number of employees involved, the amount of carbon emissions is significant.
As our lives, work, and thinking turn increasingly towards protecting the climate, conserving energy by leveraging shared data centers will become more attractive and competitive. As this move to remote data centers matures, operators will begin to assess “greener” options for on-site power generation. Data centers are an excellent opportunity to integrate on-site energy generation facilities such as hydrogen applications, solar panels, or a combination of heat and power solutions (CHPs).
Marc Garner, VP of Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division.The Vice President of Schneider Electric’s Secure Power Division, Marc Garner wrote in Data Center Dynamics, “Technology has become a key enabler for both businesses and consumers alike, and throughout 2020, dependency on digital infrastructure has increased dramatically. In fact by 2035, Schneider Electric estimates that all IT will consume 8.5 percent of global electricity – compared to 5 percent in 2021 – and data centers are expected to take up a large share of this demand. Many of today’s data center operators, from hyperscalers to cloud and colocation service providers, have already led the market by example, and publicly declared ambitious commitments towards Net Zero, adopting more sustainable approaches to digital business.
Microsoft, for example, has started transitioning to using renewable wind energy – a trend that will likely only continue to increase as awareness and demands for renewables from end-users and governments surge.”
Your business is moving into the future, whether your IT systems are ready for it or not. Using virtual desktops in a DaaS environment ensures you’re always working on the latest version of your operating system and applications. That in and of itself is a compelling reason to move to DaaS,
but that’s only the beginning. Consider that DaaS also gives you a built-in business continuity system. Because your data and workflow are securely housed in the cloud, you never have to worry about how much time, money, and lost opportunities you’d sacrifice if your company’s on-site server goes down.
As Gartner describes in a recent report, technologies utilized by organizations are increasingly conceptualized and implemented outside of the traditional outsourced IT department. Gartner found that the total business-led IT spend averaged around 36% of the total formal IT budget. Business leaders rightfully see digital transformation as an organization-wide discussion, and no longer the sole purview of the IT department.
This article categorized 6 key benefits for companies moving to DaaS. Depending on what priorities are driving your organization at the moment, you may be drawn to one specific DaaS advantage or another. Think about both short and long-term goals in your choice. You might consider DaaS to make hardware refresh more affordable in the short term but also reap the cost and business benefits delivered by DaaS as it has a deeper impact on the continued growth and success of your business long term.
VPN and hosted desktops Desktop-as-a-Solution (DaaS) are the two most popular remote workflow access solutions currently in use. One has been around for a while, and the other is comparatively new but quickly building momentum.
According to Future Market Insights, the DaaS market will grow at a CAGR of 18% from 2019 to 2029, while the global VPN market will reach over $107.5 billion by 2027. As more organizations look to these solutions, you must understand the differences between VPN and Desktop-as-a-Service —which is precisely what this post will help you do. You’ll learn the difference between VPN and DaaS, plus tips on how to where each might fit.
What are VPNs?
Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) enable you to connect to networks across the internet securely. VPNs leverage advanced encryption, tunneling, and masking systems to create a secure internet connection between users and a network. As a result, make it extremely difficult for cybercriminals and prying eyes to access your data as it is transmitted across the internet, making them a popular choice for cybersecurity and privacy-focused businesses.
There are many benefits to using a VPN, including:
Obscurity – VPNs use encryption to conceal the destination of your data packets and prevent tracking.
Flexibility – VPNs are compatible across multiple platforms, and a single provider can offer the service to numerous devices and platforms, all from the same user account.
Getting past restrictions – VPNs are an excellent tool for accessing location-specific content or bypassing internet censorship.
While VPNs are cost-effective and with several attractive benefits, they aren’t without their drawbacks. Common VPN flaws include:
Performance – VPNs can slow down internet speeds due to encryption requiring significant amounts of bandwidth. This latency can impact the performance of databases and business software applications.
Risk – VPNs aren’t an all-in-one security solution and often provide a window of vulnerability.
Scope – Printing and scanning via VPN can be problematic depending on the type, size, and volume of your printing and scanning. VPNs also limit business assessing and monitoring capabilities.
What is Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS)?
Desktops-as-a-Service or DaaS is a cloud-based service that securely delivers virtual apps and desktops to business devices or locations. DaaS delivers virtualization of desktops on high-performance servers packaged in a predictable and straightforward pay-as-a-go subscription model, making it easy to scale up or down on-demand.
In today’s business standards, teams expect to access and do their work from anywhere on any device. Business leaders look for affordable, simple solutions to deliver apps and desktops to their workforce securely. DaaS provides a practical managed solution for organizations like security and centralization on a pay-as-you-go pricing model. It simplifies operations by delivering desktops and apps securely to your workforce.
The top benefits of DaaS are:
Flexibility – Teams can securely access applications, remote desktops, and data from anywhere on cost-effective devices, enhancing productivity.
Scalability – DaaS further advocates for quick scalability for business applications and desktops when needed.
Business continuity– DaaS ensures safety and security for all business needs by offering a disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity plan. You get rapid recovery in the event of cyber-attacks
Cost savings – Only pay for what you use through monthly or yearly subscription allowing for predictable operational costs.
Security – DaaS provides a secure access point for users in the cloud. It ensures that data is securely stored and protected against data loss or theft.
Integration – DaaS provides seamless integration with modern-day mobile and desktop apps such as Office 365 and more.
Collaboration – Some DaaS offer the benefit of collaboration where users can manage their cloud services or choose a provider to manage it on their behalf, promoting productivity.
VPN Vs. Desktop-as-a-Service
VPNs and DaaS are both excellent remote support tools. Comparing them head-on doesn’t do any of them justice, as each operates differently with a few similarities. There are several reasons to choose DaaS over VPNs. VPNs are ideal for security and privacy. DaaS goes a step further to provide better remote support, more security, reducing costs, scalability, flexibility, and more benefits.
Discover more about IronOrbit DaaS Infinity Workspace solutions. From core to cloud to edge, we deliver hosted desktops services that enable nearly 20,000 global customers, including the Fortune 500 companies, to thrive in their ongoing quest to work remotely.
If you found this review helpful and want to adopt DaaS designed to support your agile organization, get in touch and book a demo today.
As businesses regain their balance, the leadership must focus on renewal, not recovery, if they want to stay competitive in their market.
If there’s a lesson to be learned about the pandemic, it’s the importance of being adaptable. Another critical quality for survival was speed. There wasn’t much time to deliberate. Companies had to act fast. Acting with speed and agility wasn’t tied to the size of the company. It was less about ability and more about choosing to be quick and adaptable.
Covid-19 changed how we live and work on multiple levels. We’ve seen accelerated changes in consumer and business behaviors that are likely to persist. Strategies meant to restore things as they were before the pandemic will prove frustrating.
Business leaders need to look beyond recovery. As Rebecca Brooks points out in her article for the Forbes Agency Council, the pandemic revealed the flaws in our systems. All of them. Whether they were socio-economic, corporate, or governmental. “That’s why I’m not trying to lead my company back to where it was in December of 2019,” she writes. “That place and time are gone. I want a renewal— not a recovery — so that our people are equipped and prepared to handle the challenges we’ll face today and tomorrow.
Because businesses and consumer behavior will never be the same, business leaders are looking for technology, specifically digital technology, to lead the way. Digitizing operations use the technology to replicate an existing service in a digital form. Becoming digital means using technology to transform the service into something significantly better. Companies can’t afford to drop the value propositions that work, at least not right away. Nor can they afford to settle with running the business as they had before the pandemic. It is a different market now. In this climate of rapid change and delivery, there’s nothing worse than complacency.
Be Inspired by Technology
The whole idea behind digital transformation is to leverage all the potentialities of technology (namely cloud computing, the Internet of Things, and artificial intelligence) to create and deliver better products and services.
Why is the ability to be inspired by technology such a prized commodity? Because now you can conceive an idea, get it funded, bring it to life, and scale it easily, quickly, and more economical than ever before. Andrew Hessel, a distinguished research scientist at Autodesk, said, “The gap between science-fiction and science is getting really narrow now; as soon as someone has the idea and articulates it, it can be manifested in a short time.”
A recent Gartner report on identifying future work trends recommends several methods for creating a future-of-work strategy. The recommendations include using the visionary imaginations of science-fiction writers. Apparently, there are many organizations already employing science-fiction writers to develop bold ideas. Gartner points out that creative thinking is critical for moving past incremental innovation. People often become trapped by cognitive biases (what they know and expect from everyday experiences). They become unable to see potential futures because they are weighed down by the limitations of present conditions.
While the crisis of covid-19 has boosted innovations in technology, it has also created shock waves of uncertainty which are particularly felt by investors and multinational companies. Having witnessed the vulnerability of long-distance supply chains, many business leaders are looking for more local options to replace global manufacturing partners.
The Spanish clothing retailer ZARA, founded in 1975, is one company that has been ahead of the trend. While most clothing brands floundered during the pandemic, ZARA was able to keep things moving because they had a shorter supply chain. Not an easy feat to pull off, especially when you have 2,270 stores worldwide. Most western brands use offshore manufacturing in Asia, where labor is much cheaper. The time between design and delivery of the finished product could be months.
Because ZARA used local manufacturers, they moved quickly from design to delivery in a matter of weeks. ZARA also benefited from having no stockpiles of unsold inventory, and they were able to respond to consumer trends promptly. This strategy of using local suppliers turns out to be an effective model. Other companies: in other industries have begun to follow its example.
The clothing industry was one of the markets hit the hardest during the pandemic. The manufacturing of clothing requires the work of many people. Consider that, in Asia alone, the clothing industry employs 43 million people. So, when clothing sales fall 73.5 % in the United States, Bangladesh loses out on $3.2 Billion in canceled clothing exports.
Worldwide, factory jobs will soon be a thing of the past because everything has been automated. Low-skill labor of all kinds will slowly continue to disappear over the next decade. It is anticipated that 1 out of 16 people will have to change occupations between now and 2030. This era of occupational transitions will require the need to train millions of people for new jobs. What benefits, such as sick leave or unemployment, be available for all workers (including gig workers)? The main areas of job growth will be highly skilled occupations: including teachers and training instructors.
According to McKinsey & Company, consumer behavior that shifted in response to Covid-19: such as ordering groceries online and virtual healthcare, will continue at higher levels. E-commerce is booming. The virus also initiated a reversal of some behaviors, such as investing in the home. As the pandemic subsides, some consumer behaviors disrupted by Covid-19, including entertainment, leisure air travel, and remote education, will eventually make their comeback.
Hybrid or Fully Remote Workforce
During a video roundtable discussion entitled “What’s Up AEC?” Nvidia’s Senior Solutions Architect, Jimmy Rotella, said, “We had always seen a remote workforce coming. Analysts say that the pandemic has actually accelerated the work-from-home movement by 5 to 10 years.”
Now, there is a real focus on employees having options. They can work from home, in the office or both. In fact, the “employee experience” has become equally important as the customer experience. Providing a great experience to both customers and employees is a defining aspect of a company’s brand.
· 83% of workers do not believe they need to be in an office to be productive
· 43% believe they would be more productive working from home
· 70% of those surveyed between the ages of 16–44 want to be more mobile at work
· 88% use smartphones for work daily
· 49% use a tablet minimum of three times per week.
Now that the pandemic is winding down, organizations continue to think about how they want to work moving forward. Most employees now have a taste of what it’s like to work from home, and they want to keep it that way if possible. The trend for most companies has shifted in favor of remote and hybrid working scenarios. Owen Hughes writes, in his attention-grabbing article SPENDING ON TECH IS ABOUT TO ROCKET. BUT IT WON’T BE THE IT DEPARTMENT DOING THE BUYING, that the growth in IT spending will be around companies digitizing operations (moving to the cloud) and becoming digital.
Welcome to 2025
The post-pandemic acceleration in the adoption of technologies is pushing us into the future at breakneck speeds. The new word for this rapid adoption of new technologies is tech-celeration. Experts estimate the acceleration is at least 5 years. Healthcare and higher education are among the industries that have probably seen the greatest push towards tech-celeration. For example, in the United Kingdom, the National Health Service built a telehealth system over a weekend and rolled it out to doctors across the country by the end of the following week. There were similar scenarios in the United States.
Although e-learning has been available to the public since 2000, it has been relatively dormant in university settings until the pandemic. Now, the online education market is expected to quadruple in revenue by 2026. Educational institutions are more open to using computers for distance learning and developing more robust online degree programs.
IT Moves to Center Stage
According to analysts, the surge in IT spending this year won’t come from traditional IT departments, but other areas of the business undergoing digital transformation. These units see IT charged as a cost of revenue or cost of goods sold.
John-David Lovelock, research vice president at Gartner, said: “IT no longer just supports corporate operations as it traditionally has, but is fully participating in business value delivery. Not only does this shift IT from a back-office role to the front of a business, but it also changes the source of funding from an overhead expense that is maintained, monitored, and sometimes cut, to the thing that drives revenue.”
Mark Samuels’ May 22, 2018, article warns readers of the many pitfalls associated with digital transformation even as it acknowledges its importance to business renewal. A few years later, this urgency to transform into digital companies is as intense as ever. Like the acceleration of remote work, the pandemic pushed up the digital transformation agenda for everyone.
Covid-19 created the opportunity for new businesses, as well as new types of businesses to emerge. According to the earlier referenced survey, the number of new business start-ups has doubled in the USA since 2019. During Covid-19, however, many workers in the United States were furloughed, laid off, or simply dropped out of the labor force for other reasons, and thereby embraced the opportunity to create the start-up of their dreams. New job titles have appeared on the horizon. For example, the research company Econsultancy tracked the use of the chief data officer title on LinkedIn for two years. In April 2016, 2,899 people were identified as chief data officers; by February 2018, there were 11,418.
Because of the changes brought upon by the pandemic digitization increased faster than ever thought to be possible and pressured many companies to move faster than they would have liked. It is now an on-demand economy (compliments of the cloud ecosystem). This is a new industrial revolution driven both by fear of digital disruption and the opportunities created by the cloud ecosystem.
The disruption caused by Covid-19 also offers a path to higher productivity and broad-based growth. Digital enterprises like Netflix, Google, and Facebook will only continue to get bigger. The Amazon model of fast and direct delivery will continue to blaze a path through online shopping.
Although the pandemic has contributed to a slowdown of globalization, the world has grown too integrated for globalization to be stopped. According to The Economist magazine, the biggest missing piece of the global puzzle is for business and government leaders to make interdependence work with resilience. Technology, and how people use it, will surely play a critical role.
Even before the pandemic lockdown, social media, mobile, analytics, cloud computing, and the Internet of Things pressured companies to become more digital. Digital technologies deliver ubiquitous data, unlimited connectivity, and massive processing power. Digital technologies enhance both the customer experience as well as employees.
Becoming a digital company means delivering new and improved product features. Too many executives rush into transforming their companies to become digital. Digital business transformation is a long journey. Leaders need to commit to the long haul while sustaining existing business.
Take notice of industry trends and identify which ones will have the biggest impact on your organization. Identify where your company has the greatest competitive advantages. Play to those strengths. Build relationships with providers who are dedicated to your success and whose expertise you can leverage.
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