What is the contribution of IT to a resilient enterprise? A few, certainly not conclusive, considerations by Stefan based on Maslow’s pyramid of needs.
Connectivity as a central basic need
What is the central goal of basic IT provision in a company? I mean, it can be summarized under the title “Ensuring connectivity”. To be able to work at all, I need mail, voice, video conferencing, shared data storage. Because nobody works alone: We are all integrated into a social environment of colleagues, suppliers and customers. Only together we can achieve our goals.
Often too little attention is paid to how inefficiently many companies still organise themselves because they do not make adequate use of the possibilities of modern means of communication. Bosses can be visited at meetings and do not notice that their meeting participants cumulatively accept an unproductive hour’s travel to and from the meeting for every hour of meeting and then move from one company location to another in the same city. Or sales representatives – instead of being where their customers are – have to keep returning to the company headquarters. Of course: a session physically held at the same location is somehow richer and feels better. Or maybe just much more familiar? If you conduct regular sessions via video conferencing, you will also find that over time, they get to the relevant points more quickly and the participants start to think about their statements more carefully. And anyone who – unlike me – used to be able to operate a telephone with cryptic commands of the type *123#456789 will sooner or later also have the tools under control. But of course the following always applies: form follows function – the right vessel for every occasion must be chosen.
“My workplace is where my laptop is”
One becomes a little more aware of the travel problem as soon as one is no longer within the same city. Remote access is made available to employees in the field so that they can work on the train, for example.
However, the IT employees who provide this infrastructure usually do not have to use it themselves in their daily work. In my personal experience, hardly any other infrastructure is so often neglected and normal productive work is often not ensured. The field service employee receives VPN software that throws you out of the application with every small drop-out of the mobile data connection or freezes it for minutes until the system finally recovers. Or the only browser installed on the Citrix environment is a 10-year-old Internet Explorer, which does not display half of the web applications correctly. And, of course, all the other software tools that you would actually need are missing. Today, those who choose a remote-first approach are well positioned. Those who can work productively from home, the customer or on the road will probably be able to do so in their own office. Conversely, experience shows that this is much less certain.
What is the ideal solution?
As usual, no single solution can be defined as the right one for everyone. Google Apps and Microsoft provide the broad market with super cloud solutions. In addition, there are many other providers who can address certain problems even more specifically. We also have a number of collaboration solutions in our portfolio for meeting & task management, enterprise chat and video conferencing. We focus especially on customers in industries with particularly high data protection or security requirements who want their data processed in the EU or Switzerland. There are certainly enough solutions on the market.
However, it seems to me to be much more important, especially with regard to basic IT supply, that the “right” requirements are made. In doing so, the work situations that are common today really must be adequately taken into account. After all, these have actually not been modern for some time now, but simply normal. From part-time work, home office and geographically distributed teams to outtasking of company tasks to external service providers who are practically integrated into the processes like internal employees: yes, the world has become more diverse. But it certainly does not have to become more inefficient because of it.
Okay, connectivity check. Security – the next level – will follow shortly.
About the author
Stefan is Managing Partner at linkyard and advises clients on the digitalisation of their business. In addition, he is a lecturer for information security and project management at a university of applied firstname.lastname@example.org | +41 78 746 51 16