By Rob Miller
When the coronavirus pandemic struck, organizations across industries needed to respond fast with new ways of working. For many office workers, that means remote connectivity from home.
Remote access on a massive scale introduces new IT challenges. To conquer them, you need effective hardware and software lifecycle management. Want to optimize management of your IT lifecycles? Follow these four steps:
- Move devices front and center.
Hardware such as PCs and mobile devices give employees a foundation for efficiency and effectiveness. If hardware is outdated or unable to support workloads, employee become frustrated, and productivity bogs down.
Working from home only ups the ante. Employees are using different internet service providers (ISPs), at different connection speeds. Other family members might be using the home network, slowing performance. To mitigate these constraints, organizations need to ensure that employees have up-to-date devices and bandwidth to get the most out of remote connectivity.
- Shift applications to the cloud.
Software is as important as hardware. Think of employee-enabling software in three categories:
- Productivity suites – These include familiar programs such as Microsoft® ExcelTM, PowerPointTM, and
- Communications technology – Email has long been crucial to enabling employee connection and productivity. Videoconferencing software is rapidly rising in importance.
- Core industry-specific applications – Businesses run on their mission-critical software, such as patient-care technology for healthcare or inventory management programs for retail.
Keeping all this software up-to-date and secure is both time-consuming and costly. Cloud-based subscription models offered by packages such as Microsoft 365® and Google G SuiteTM make software lifecycle management easier, and the costs more predictable. They also ensure that applications are patched to mitigate against cyberattacks that capitalize on known software vulnerabilities.
- Map employees for better IT management.
An effective way to optimize worker-focused IT lifecycle management is through employee journey mapping. By tracking user behavior, you can visualize each employee’s technology use throughout their tenure with the organization. Effective monitoring lets you understand not just what employees say they need, but also the technology they’re actually consuming and how they’re consuming it.
Journey mapping leverages ongoing employee feedback to identify pain points and become more responsive to changing needs. It also helps you better meet the varied requirements of different functions and demographics – such as Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials, and Gen Yers.
- Remember, it’s all about employees.
At the end of the day, IT lifecycle management is about meeting employee needs. That begins with talent acquisition and retention. Younger employees look for companies that provide the best technology experience.
Employees also want to replicate familiar capabilities like social collaboration. And they require the same high-speed, reliable connectivity from home as they have at the office. All these factors place a premium on deploying the latest high-performance hardware and user-centric software.
Ultimately, effective IT lifecycle management doesn’t just improve employee experiences. It also improves customer experiences. Business magnate Richard Branson famously said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.” That’s a lesson for customer satisfaction and loyalty. It applies equally to the management of your hardware and software lifecycles.
Rob Miller is vice president of Fulfillment Services at Pivot.