Design IT that’s flexible and efficient

Building an IT infrastructure for the hybrid workplace that can handle future disruption quickly and efficiently.

REPORT | 4m read
January 4, 2021

Thanks to overuse, the word “disruption” has lost much of its punch. But perhaps the last two years have revived its original meaning. With 100 percent of IT leaders surveyed by Pulse reporting that their organization plans to adopt hybrid working for the foreseeable future, 2021 was clearly a turning point, and 2022 will be, too. Business leaders have realized that disruption — true disruption — will become a facet of working life going forward. Heading into 2022, their work should center around creating tech infrastructure that is flexible enough to adapt.

But historically, IT flexibility has come at the cost of another critical ingredient for organizational success: efficiency. That’s because keeping a large tech stack filled with reserve tools in case of sudden changes, or frequently switching tools and systems, can drain time and resources from IT, as well as the greater organization.

There is, however, a way out of this conundrum: a thoughtful tech adoption strategy.

Assessing and prioritizing organizational needs

So, where to begin? Our research from the past year provides some pointers. IT leaders surveyed by Pulse say their number one obstacle to digital transformation is a lack of understanding of cross-organizational business needs. This blind spot has prevented these leaders from being able to effectively prioritize short and long-term technology investments. Indeed, as the Work Your Way survey by Citrix and Onepoll demonstrated, many organizations have taken an undisciplined, trial-and-error approach to technology adoption, overloading employees and IT teams alike.

In the Work Your Way survey, 64 percent of employees said they were using more communication and collaboration tools than they did before the pandemic, and a staggering 71 percent said that these tools had made work complex. Are these IT stacks flexible? Perhaps. Are they efficient? Absolutely not.

A better approach starts with careful assessment of organizational and employee needs. Using a combination of helpdesk feedback, telemetry data, surveys, and interviews, organizations should conduct regular IT capability assessments, focusing on key areas such as app use, security, and management. Create cross-business councils that assess the impact of new technologies on employee experience before adoption, and follow up with empathy-driven techniques like design thinking and employee journey mapping to understand the impact of newly implemented tech.

Odds are your assessment will uncover a range of different needs. Your knee-jerk reaction may be to introduce a slew of new tools to address them, but this can lead to app sprawl, the archenemy of efficient IT. Instead, choose tools that offer add-ons and customizations to satisfy the needs of different teams at once. And look out for tool overlap. Evaluate for redundancies before adopting new tech and track app use across your organization to prune seldom-used tools.

64%
of employees are using more communication and collaboration tools than they were during the pandemic.

71%
say these tools have made work more complex.

Centralization: the foundation of flexible, efficient IT

Avoiding app sprawl is only one piece of the puzzle. Even if your tool count is low, using decentralized tools can weigh down IT teams by forcing them to juggle different systems, controls, and analytics. And because IT occupies such a central role in business operations, the woes of IT will become the woes of the greater organization. If day-to-day operations grow too burdensome, IT teams won’t have the bandwidth to adapt company IT infrastructure to evolving needs.

You can solve for this by housing all your tools in a centralized platform that allows IT to quickly push updates to employees, onboard new employees, and keep employee preferred apps secure. This type of technology not only streamlines daily management of a hybrid workforce, but also allows organizations to implement IT transformation projects incrementally, without having to completely replace existing systems or disrupt business. Consider a platform that includes a DaaS solution, so you can rapidly roll out cloud desktops for your hybrid workforce and scale up or down as needed.

Again, your 2022 tech adoption strategy should be defined by three principles: careful assessment of organizational needs, strategic prioritization to consolidate tools, and centralization of those tools so your organization can adapt nimbly to change. Do this, and you’ll empower your IT team and employees to focus on their work, rather than on the organizational and technological shifts happening around them.

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