Accelerating Remote Work: It’s All About Experiences

If you’re prioritizing the acceleration of remote work right now, how are you delivering fast, spread out and great experiences every time?

Coming out of the acute crisis climate of COVID-19, many organizations faced the struggles of forced change, but also found some upside in the disruption.

Now is a time of both urgency and opportunity when anything is possible. What are you prioritizing?

Many organizations we work with are prioritizing the acceleration of remote work as a cornerstone of their digital transformations. When we talk with them about remote work, the conversation always comes back to experiences – both for employees internally and with customers externally. More specifically, how fast, spread out and great can those experiences be every time?

To answer that question and provide guidance on achieving that goal, we created the Best Practices Guide, Ready for Any Eventuality: Accelerating into Today’s Remote Work Reality in partnership with Cisco.

In the guide, we examine 4 core remote work capabilities – network, data center, collaboration and security – from the perspective of:

  • Compelling lessons learned so far
  • What organizations know now
  • Best practices for delivering effective experiences
  • How Softchoice can help

Here are some key highlights from the guide.

Key Highlights 

Network:

The location and scope of remote work will continue to change with every iteration of the next normal.

Best Practices:

Transition to a modernized digital network that supports quality user and application experiences.

Data Center:

The data center is fundamental, but the architecture can be complex and precarious. There is an opportunity to optimize and modernize.

Best Practices:

Achieve increased capacity and performance in the data center through simplified architecture.

Collaboration:

For both internal and external interactions, users expect rich, elegant and life-like experiences.

Best Practices:

Deliver an “office” quality experience every time through expanded capabilities, streamlined licensing and effective adoption.

Security:

Security must touch everything, but there also must be a balance between security and productivity (especially with distributed employees).

Best Practices:

Promote confidence in security when the boundaries of working are still in flux.

Staying focused on the experience

At Softchoice, experiences trump technology every time. If you’re looking to accelerate remote work and remain ready for whatever is to come, fast, spread out and great experiences are a vital goal. It’s important to be both intentional and decisive in how you proceed in your digital transformation.

When urgency and opportunity collide the way they are now, the partnership is paramount. Softchoice offers expertise based on precedents, broad Cisco knowledge and complementary capabilities to help you decipher, plan for, implement and enable adoption of the options that can help you deliver effective experiences to your employees and customers.

For ideas and advice on how to accelerate remote work with fast, spread out and great experiences every time, download the Best Practices Guide.

 

Striking the Balance Between Security and Productivity – [Infographic]

As an IT leader, you want to help users to be as productive as possible To do this, you need to provide a frictionless technology experience

But in today’s security landscape, protecting users and data is non-negotiable. The result? IT leaders face a dilemma between productivity and security.  

With too much protection, real agility becomes impossible. Too little protection, however, leaves the organization vulnerable to disaster.  

The complexity starts there and keeps growing as other factors enter the equation:  

  • Today’s end users want a flexible, human technology experience that works wherever they do. 
  • Trends like the cloud, BYOD and SaaS provide more options – and more vulnerabilities 
  • Regulatory compliance requirements are evolving, often so fast it’s a challenge to keep up.   
  • The need for cost-effective solutions that are easy to deploy and maintain isn’t going away 
  • The sheer number of security vendors, categories and products becomes overwhelming fast. 

 We created the infographic below to outline the need for balance between productivity and security and how organizations are unleashing their potential without compromising protection.  

  

Productivity AND Security, Not Productivity vs. Security 

 Fulfilling the mandate to provide end users with the technology they need to be their most productive isn’t always easy. Making the right technology decisions with so much at stake poses a real challenge.  Furthermore, balancing productivity and protection is much harder when users don’t fully understand the critical role they play in IT security.  

 Providing the right user with access to the right applications and data requires an end-to-end solution based on experience, expertise and strong partnerships in the security space. Working with a partner like Softchoice helps you cut through the complexity and select the best solutions for your productivity and security needs.  

Looking to learn more about enabling your users for collaboration without compromising protection? Explore Softchoice productivity and collaboration solutions 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft 365 Collaboration and Productivity: Webinar Recap

Realizing the productivity of M365 and modern collaboration

If one thing drives the modern workplace, it’s technology.

From new work devices to the rise of the cloud, mobile and big data, technology has changed the way we do our jobs. But with new opportunities, the “digital office” brings new challenges.

Users want a technology experience that meets their rising expectations. They don’t like interference with the way they prefer to work. IT departments want to deliver modern workplace solutions. They can’t compromise on security or control. Businesses want to maximize productivity and user satisfaction. They want to avoid unnecessary duplication or added costs.

Without a solid plan, you could find your digital journey fraught with high costs, security threats and dissatisfied users.

Microsoft 365 addresses these challenges by providing a “universal toolkit.” It’s a holistic platform that combines usability, productivity, and security. The result: a secure solution supporting communication and collaboration delivered through the cloud.

In our recent webinar, Softchoice cloud solution architect Anil Verma explores the business trends that inspired Microsoft 365. He also explains how the solution addresses today’s productivity and security challenges. We cover the key highlights in the article below or watch the full webinar:


Introducing Microsoft 365 

The inspiration behind Microsoft 365 is the need to provide a secure, rationalized experience to users regardless of device. It acts as an intelligent fabric, combining Windows 10 with Office 365 and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS). It also provides IT departments with a centralized point of management and built-in security. Users sign in and access the full suite of tools and apps through a single team membership via Azure Active Directory (AD).

Another key component of Microsoft 365 is Microsoft Graph. This set of APIs allows the platform to deliver dynamic, personalized user experiences using the public cloud. It also layers in a reactive, predictive security posture based on real-time data.

To accommodate various work styles and preferences, Microsoft 365 offers a purpose-built productivity toolset. The suite includes SharePoint and Office applications as well as a unified collaboration hub supporting chat, social and other ways to create and share.

Microsoft 365 combines Windows 10 with Office 365 and the Microsoft Enterprise Mobility Suite (EMS)

Securing your digital transformation 

“Businesses and users are going to embrace technology only if they trust it,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. The idea that security is critical to winning the trust of any organization informs every aspect of Microsoft 365.

Traditional security strategy employs a “castle and moat” approach. This method puts a single layer of protection around the network perimeter. But in the era of mobility and the cloud, thousands of data assets may be moving in and out of the network at any given time.

Instead, Microsoft 365 shifts its focus from the “moat” to protecting the “king and queen.” These are the critical data assets that require classification and protection throughout their lifecycle. This multi-targeted approach covers vulnerabilities in your data, identities, applications, devices, and infrastructure. Using the public cloud allows the platform to handle data classification and protection at scale. Single identity through Azure AD provides conditional risk-based access to authorized users only.

Through the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph, Microsoft 365 provides advanced, up-to-the-second threat intelligence. To do this, it combines raw public cloud compute power with high-volume security data. This compute power offers predictive protection from common threat vectors, including ransomware, phishing and “living off the land.” It also permits data classification at scale, removing the need for impractical manual methods.

Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph

Made for modern collaboration 

New technologies have given rise to new possibilities – and new expectations. Mobile devices and social media have altered the way we communicate and work together.

There has also been a fundamental shift in organizational structure. Gone are the days of static hierarchies, scarce information and individual productivity. Today, more workplaces thrive on abundant information, experimentation and collective value creation.

Microsoft 365 is purpose-built for this new era of collaboration. It takes a holistic approach to support effective teamwork anywhere, on any device.

Organizations create more content than ever. Yet many of them struggle to classify, manage and control it. Microsoft 365 addresses the need for centralized content storage and version control using intranets built on SharePoint.

Microsoft 365 also strives to accommodate various communication styles and preferences. With Yammer, it offers a social media and crowdsourcing network for the enterprise. Through the Stream platform, it supports video engagement. Meanwhile, the Planner tool provides streamlined project planning and organization around tasks.

All of these collaboration elements come together in Microsoft Teams. Teams unifies core communication and collaboration applications like Skype, SharePoint, Exchange and OneDrive in a single dashboard. Through it, users also have access to a wide range of tools, including chat, content sharing, and working groups.

Microsoft 365 also leverages the public cloud to drive personalized experiences. With it, users can track a range of powerful, personal usage analytics and insights through a private dashboard.  Microsoft has also made significant investments in accessibility. The Microsoft 365 platform layers in accessibility features throughout to support inclusive, efficient content creation and collaboration for users with disabilities.

Journey to a modern workplace 

To get the most out of any technology, it’s imperative that your people use it. But the typical lifecycle of technology adoption goes through highs and lows.

Adoption challenges arise when users fail to connect the technology with business outcomes. Often, training and communication plans are an afterthought. Undefined success criteria makes it difficult to measure success. Lack of executive sponsorship often makes the difference between a successful deployment and weak adoption.

Building an adoption plan is key to helping your users be their most productive. Ensuring the plan aligns with business goals from the start helps drive adoption. To this end, many organizations are looking to experienced partners for help.

Whether you’re looking to embark on your Microsoft 365 journey, or accelerate return on your investment, we’ll help you all the way from migration to optimization. Our adoption framework builds on our experience with thousands of modern workplace deployments.