How your cloud strategy can enable more flexible work

As more organizations embrace flexible work and hybrid work models, cloud strategy plays a critical role. Learn how you can empower your employees with a great experience in the cloud. 

ARTICLE | 5m read
April 20, 2021

Flexible work is here to stay. 54 percent of enterprise business leaders expect their companies to adopt a flexible work model post-pandemic. In these hybrid working conditions, employees split their time between working remotely and working in shared office space. But while this work model offers numerous benefits for both employees and employers, the status quo of work technology is not ready—a striking 98 percent of business leaders admit their workers experience frustration with their core applications, and 23 percent say this frustration occurs every day.

For your organization to thrive in a world of flexible work, you need a cloud strategy and technology that will empower your workforce wherever they work. Using Fieldwork’s latest Pulse Poll findings and cloud insights from Conecto A/S, the 2020 Citrix EMEA Partner of the Year, this article explores how to marry your cloud strategy and flexible work model to simplify the adoption of new technology, improve the employee experience, and secure mobile workers.

Cloud strategy can speed the adoption of new technology

Flexible work requires agile technology—adopting the tools and apps employees need quickly and seamlessly. However 59 percent of enterprise executives say their employees rely on more than 10 apps to perform their daily work. This results in a lot of context switching between different tools, which leads to greater exhaustion, lower productivity, and much of the aforementioned frustration. The more you can simplify the use of your core applications, the more you can empower flexible workers with a great employee experience—and your cloud strategy is key to making this possible.

One of the advantages of cloud technology is how it facilitates the rapid adoption of new apps and tools that fit how employees want to work. Cloud technologies are continually evolving into services that enable “full agility in their IT platform,” according to Conecto’s CTO and Partner Christian Fenneberg: “Imagine a department wanting a new tool or system and being able to deliver that in hours or days—instead of requiring months of planning, purchase of hardware and a complex implementation before any services can be offered to the user. Cloud tech means IT departments can support business projects in a timely manner.”

Use performance analytics to improve the hybrid work experience

Beyond the full IT agility that Fenneberg described, a great hybrid work experience also requires technology that performs reliably and at a high level. This might sound basic, but a remarkable 42 percent of executives said apps that are too slow or unreliable were a major source of employee frustration. Adding to this frustration is a lack of visibility into the cause of the poor application performance, which could include everything from aging hardware to slow network speed to employee error.

This makes it important to integrate analytics into your cloud strategy that can measure the performance of different applications and their environments. These cloud analytics give IT the insight they need to target application and system improvements for flexible workers—all while optimizing IT budgets and resource use. As Fenneberg said, “Before we bought based on estimates and were stuck with it for 3–5 years before we estimated (maybe wrongly) again. Now we are able to fine tune the cost and performance to the usage of the system and prove it as well. So if we decided to use systems whose performance did not deliver a good user experience, we would be able to change to higher performance systems within minutes.”

How cloud strategy can help secure flexible workers everywhere

As hybrid work models enable employees to be productive from anywhere, it’s vital to ensure security for your mobile workforce. However, securing remote workers who use a variety of devices from a variety of locations is not easy—especially when you want to do so without hurting your employee experience. 39 percent of business leaders are concerned that apps with excessive security hurdles are causing frustration among employees, suggesting it’s important to balance great security with a strong user experience. As Fenneberg said, "Conecto has focused on the employee experience for a number of years and the agility in choosing EXACTLY what is needed at any one point in time is a tremendous benefit.”

With these dual mandates for security and employee experience in mind, 63 percent of organizations have adopted single sign-on (SSO) to secure employee access to applications. Using SSO, you can avoid relying on network-slowing security technologies like VPNs and provide unified and secure employee access to all the cloud applications they need. So as your flexible work model empowers employees with more mobility, security solutions like SSO help enable zero trust security alongside an exceptional employee experience.

It’s time to marry cloud strategy and flexible work

Planning your cloud strategy and moving toward a hybrid work model are not separate initiatives. As you look for ways to improve the employee experience for flexible workers, adopting cutting edge cloud technologies is a great way to do so while improving your IT costs. “Cloud has matured so rapidly,” Fenneberg said, “When we are truly able to deliver backend resources with a devops model, this will change the IT cost model at any organization. Pure cloud or hybrid solutions are preferable to any on prem solution.”