Forget Settling into the New Normal: Consider What’s Next Instead

Posted on 28 October 2020

While technology was unquestionably playing a sizeable role in our personal and professional lives pre-COVID, there’s no doubt that the pandemic has accelerated many organisations’ digital transformations.

Remember 2019? Back then, we could see that remote working would one day become the most popular option – but nobody expected that day to come so soon, spurred on by the shock to the system that was a global pandemic.

With the events of 2020 having acted as a catalyst for digital transformation, why stop now? We’re not looking to get too settled into the ‘new normal’ when there’s so much to gain from preparing for what comes next.

More than Migration

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the sum of digital transformation in this pandemic is as simple as people using Zoom to the point of exhaustion. In reality, many organisations – our customers included – have used this time to investigate how they can best use the technology they already have, the new technology causing a stir, and the future technology that sits just beyond the horizon. 

One such point of interest has been the cloud, with many making the concept synonymous with terms like ‘remote working’ long before we were all confined indoors. There are, however, many more ways to use the cloud – as various industries have discovered during 2020.

The retail sector, for example, is being encouraged to use cloud computing solutions such as machine learning, while universities are digitising their library services and facilitating virtual learning via Microsoft Teams, and SaaS apps are now a regular part of most office roles; the future of business is no longer 100% rooted to the premises.

Securing Your Perimeter Today & Tomorrow

While we’re looking to the future and what comes next – what comes after working at the kitchen table and lockdowns – we’d be remiss not to consider the rising security threats poised to take advantage of the chaos.

Not only do organisations have opportunists and brute force hackers to consider, there’s also the changing security perimeter. Suddenly, there are more devices in the organisation’s environment – personal phones, laptops for remote working etc. – and the security perimeter becomes a lot trickier to safeguard.

This becomes an even more treacherous road to navigate when factoring in furlough schemes, redundancies,  the changing joiner/mover/leaver process, and the separation of the IT team from their colleagues.

Right now, in the ‘new normal’, organisations are holding it together through VPNs and single sign-on, but the world after this one will challenge IT teams to take control back over the security perimeter, enforce new mobile device management policies, and execute automated processes to ensure data is safeguarded no matter where employees are working from.

Simply put, the threats will continue to increase while the new perimeter must keep up.

A Cultural Reset is Coming

Lastly, there’s the idea of the culture to consider, and how organisations will look to their new and retained staff six, twelve, and eighteen months down the line.

With remote working likely to continue being in effect during that time, we can expect to see organisations relying more heavily on the likes of Microsoft Teams for more than just meetings and calls. 

Suddenly, Teams and its contemporaries have found themselves serving a function in protecting a business’ culture, with collaboration on projects enabling individuals to feel as thought they’re still working closely with colleagues. 

Elsewhere, internal webinars, quizzes, and regular organisation-wide briefings have all been considered to support employees and ensure that, despite the chaos going on all around us, the company culture is still intact – albeit, digitally.

There’s plenty of reason to expect this to become the norm, and so it’s reassuring to note that new features to Microsoft Teams will help to keep track of employee wellbeing and sustain the culture as the situation continues to evolve.

Moving Forward

While we can’t credit COVID-19 with the demise of office work, we can definitely acknowledge that it’s played a significant role. Discussing its impact as the ‘new normal’, however, limits us to resting on the hand we’ve been dealt. 

Instead, organisations will benefit from continuing to look forward at what comes next – what new technology is on the horizon and how will it further shape these circumstances? What will the working day be like in June 2021, and will you be prepared to meet your employees professional needs and wellbeing? Have you recovered from the rapid pivoting to remote work, maximising the potential of the solution of choice, or do you wish you’d chosen differently?

All of these points come down to an organisation’s willingness to embrace digital transformation, riding the wave that has been 2020. So before settling into what might be considered as the new normal and feeling overwhelmed with the year’s events, do yourself and your employees a favour: look much further ahead. You’d be surprised at how bright the future’s looking.

If you’d like to know more about securing your digital transformation, just get in touch with a member of our dedicated team – they’re more than happy to help.

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