A hybrid workforce is the future of work.According to the 2021 state of hybrid work report, a survey conducted to 1000 individuals among US companies with 1-100 employees last October 2020, 55% of employees expects their company’s work environment to be a mix of office and remote work—mostly remote or completely remote—while 67% of businesses don’t expect to return to the office 5 days a week. Pre-COVID-19, remote work is usually at the back of the minds of most employees and employers, but now, it is clearly becoming part of the workforce strategy among organizations.
But first, what is a hybrid workforce?
A hybrid workforce is a workforce strategy that facilitates the integration between the remote and office work arrangements to accommodate the flexibility of workforce demands today. As COVID-19 affected businesses all around the world in 2020, most employees had to suddenly shift their working styles from being on-site to working from home, as the virus has threatened the health and safety of the people. With the government vaccination program rolling in place this year, most businesses like Google and Ford Motor Co. have set their goals to return to the office at least three days a week and accommodate a hybrid workforce model.
What does the future require?
In our previous article entitled, “Drivers Behind Cloud Transformation Initiatives: A Closer Look,” the 2021 CEO Study of IBM identified these 5 essential questions when planning a move to the cloud:
- What is our essential strategy?
- What is our essential technology?
- Who is our essential workforce?
- Who are our essential leaders?
- What are our essential risks?
What does the future require then to answer these questions? In the same study, it was stated that the future requires “a focus on customer experience, and empowered hybrid workforce, and a design leadership approach that is emphatic, sensing, and strategic, to help organizations move towards becoming a virtual enterprise”.
Is your business ready with the infrastructure and business strategy to be competitive in the future? Are your employees empowered to be productive given the current demands in the workplace? Are customers getting a positive experience with the products and services that you provide?
Let us take a look at our recommendations for your cloud-first strategy to meet the demands and uncertainties of the current business landscape.
Essential Strategy: Open Innovation and Partnership
Based on the same study from IBM, 62% of outperforming organizations, or those organizations who reported high revenue growth, expected that technology infrastructure poses the greatest challenge to be competitive; hence, they prepared early for it. They focused on forward-looking risks and opportunities of emerging technologies like cloud transformation in their business strategies.
“Across 12 industries in the study, tech-savvy organizations realized a revenue growth premium of 6% during the COVID pandemic compared to non-adopters”, the study said.
With this in mind, shifting your business strategy to the cloud makes the most sense to drive growth for your business. This means being open to partnerships that allow your business to automate, monitor, and optimize your performance to provide the best client solutions. Products with dashboards that provide real-time data insights, and platforms that allow performing repetitive tasks to lift the burden out from your workforce so they can focus on providing essential data and services to clients; thereby increasing your client’s positive customer service experience.
Essential Technology: Digital Maturity with Cloud Computing
Digital maturity is how an organization responds and adapts to disruptive technological trends. The last thing that you want to happen is to get left behind while everyone else has moved forward. With the cloud, you are more exposed to the latest technologies and integration would be so much easier to implement. Also, you can save a lot in infrastructures as pay-as-you-go options are available and can allow higher productivity among employees as they can access data and perform their work virtually anywhere.
A specific example from our customer recently who performed a Disaster Recovery exercise after migrating their SAP environments to Cloud—they were able to shorten the Recovery Time Objective to less than 4 hours per production system on average across more than 20 production systems, while all the work were automated and coordinated across global remote teams. When they last performed this exercise on-premise, it required almost an entire week per system as each team silo such as hardware, database management, application management had to wait on each other before proceeding to the next phase of recovery, while some had to be physically present to perform their tasks.
As an organization, you can provide strategic value to your clients as you use innovative technologies in the cloud that are easily accessible and allows remote collaboration within your employees, suppliers, and customers. Also, cloud solutions allow scaling up or down business transactions on demand to support the fluctuating workloads of your organization.
However, not all organizations can transform completely to the cloud due to the need for on-premise infrastructure, especially those that rely on ground operations like companies in the oil and gas, or manufacturing industry. If your organization is not able to completely transform to the cloud, you can adopt the hybrid workforce model. This model allows meeting the need for most industries to stay competitive while taking into consideration the health and safety precautions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Essential Workforce: Hybrid Workforce
As employees start to feel the fatigue from working from home for over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic started, most employees expect their organization to be back in the office soon, but in a less office-dependent way. Either they’ll come to the office to work for 1-2 days a week or perhaps do their work somewhere else without compromising on productivity. This is where the importance of having your operations run in the cloud comes in. Given the flexibility and accessibility brought about by cloud solutions, organizations will be more equipped to support a workforce that can work anywhere they want. This model allows global teams to tap local talent in each of their operating time zones, and keep IT operations functioning 24x7 with online cloud-based tools and collaboration platforms.
Essential Leadership: Fail Fast, Learn Fast
The fail fast, learn fast mindset has been around for quite some time now. As leaders wanting to get onboard cloud transformation initiatives, cultivating this culture, wherein teams should be given the freedom to fail and learn from those failures, is how you empower people to continuously innovate. The principle behind this workplace mindset is not to romanticize failure but to encourage failure as an opportunity to improve.
With the abundance of cloud solutions available in the market nowadays, you are given the challenge to choose what solution would best fit your business needs. Developing this mindset all throughout the organization helps you to seek solutions that can easily be implemented and decommissioned as soon as those solutions no longer serve your purpose—meaning, you have more flexibility to be more iterative without the risk of losing a huge amount of investment to the point of no return.
Essential Risks: Cloud Security-First Approach
The most talked-about risk among business leaders today when it comes to implementing cloud solutions revolves around security vulnerabilities and threats. Cloud service providers host data from several customers, making it more susceptible to malicious attacks. As it is seen as a single point of failure, threat actors are more likely to target service providers which can be damaging to a lot of organizations. To mitigate this, you need to understand that there are certain metrics and security policies that organizations are required to comply with.
Taking a cloud security-first approach means putting security at the onset of your strategic planning. Thinking about how you would implement cloud solutions from that perspective allows you to rigorously see the potential vulnerabilities and threats. This, however, may seem to contradict the fail fast, learn fast mindset which can be confusing on your part. So, you need to understand the balance between the two when it comes to planning and implementation. While we recommend you to cultivate the fail fast, learn fast mindset, anticipating the security risks prior to implementing any cloud solution should always be part of your overall strategy.
Related Post: Developing your Cloud First Strategy
Cloud Transformation Supporting the Hybrid Workforce
Remote work isn’t going away anytime soon. In fact, it is the future of work. The need to adapt to cloud solutions is increasing together with this demand in our society today. These five essentials should be able to give you guidance when planning a move to the cloud.
As a cloud-based performance management and automation platform, IT-Conductor can be your solution of choice when it comes to automating, monitoring, managing, and optimizing your SAP systems. One use case, where we can see a relation to support a hybrid workforce, is the implementation of an automated end-to-end solution for system refresh. Given that system refresh is an administrative activity that involves several teams, it would be a challenge to perform this task considering a scenario that people are working remotely. With System Refresh as a Service, you would be able to construct an approach that can easily streamline all the tasks involved in performing system refresh into one, automated, end-to-end workflow. Not only will you save time coordinating this activity with all teams involved, but you’ll also get to reduce manual errors and minimize downtime that is necessary for your business.With the cloud supporting the hybrid workforce productivity, businesses are set to become outperforming organizations.