A WHOLE NEW BALL GAME?

Jay Bhatt, CEO of Alfresco, spoke to Alan Pelz-Sharpe, Principal Analyst at Deep Analysis, to examine the processes and tools we need to build a new era of virtualised business efficiency in the post-COVID-19 world

It's a different world now and we all know it. Were it not for cloud connectivity and the wider web, who knows how we would have remained as productive as we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic? But now that we're starting to realise that 2021 will still be pretty different and already start to talk openly about plans for 2022 (as of Fall 2020), this is a good moment to step back and question our productivity going forwards.

Organisations in the new post-pandemic normal will need to think about how they measure, manage, report on and develop their worker's productivity quotients in new ways.

As Jay Bhatt himself said when in conversation with Alan Pelz-Sharpe, "This is a brave new world for management in terms of the workforce productivity challenge they face. No worker is going to openly tell their boss 'You know what, I think I'm probably only 70% productive right now and I take too many snack breaks'... so although most people are honest, there's a big challenge here."

Both Bhatt and Pelz-Sharpe agreed that our next steps involve the process that organisations have to go through in order to engineer what will be a hybrid working environment, where more people work from home more often and on more tasks.


"This is our opportunity to more directly engage with technology platforms that can help to enable a distributed workforce and provide means for seamless collaboration via easy to use web and mobile apps. This is our opportunity to use business intelligence and reporting to gain insights into how content is being used and by whom. This is our opportunity to lay a new tier of foundations for digital business in the decade to come."

SYSTEMS OF MERITOCRACY
What we can perhaps focus on now is what's actually being achieved. We have a chance to be more granular about workflows and look at who is actually 'getting stuff done' and achieving results. Digital workers have to prove themselves in renewed systems of meritocracy that are less forgiving than the office-based world of the past. Hanging around the water cooler to network, staying late in the office and being engagingly entertaining in meetings doesn't cut it any more like it perhaps used to.

This is our opportunity to more directly engage with technology platforms that can help to enable a distributed workforce and provide means for seamless collaboration via easy to use web and mobile apps. This is our opportunity to use business intelligence and reporting to gain insights into how content is being used and by whom. This is our opportunity to lay a new tier of foundations for digital business in the decade to come.

DO NOT GO GENTLE
Writing in CIO Magazine, Mandar Marulkar, Customer Success Director at Nutanix says that now is not the time to go gentle into the challenge ahead: "From the dot-com bust to 9/11 to the 2008 financial crisis, disruptions have stymied digital strategies. CIOs even have a cost-cutting playbook that starts with hardware haircutting and elimination of new projects, according to Forrester Research. But organisations that contained costs during past disruptions felt pressure from companies that took a pro-investment approach when the global economy rebounded."

If we can surmise that organisations in every vertical at this point need an elevating lift upwards, then it is perhaps no coincidence of terminology that their best option is to gravitate towards platform computing.

Although cloud adoption was well under way pre-pandemic, the gateway now exists to more broadly adopt a Platform-as-a-Service approach to major components in any organisation's technology stack. Being able to tap the benefits of managed services is a key driver for that elevation factor that businesses now need.

THE CHOICE FOR A NEW ITERATION
Moving out of COVID-19 longer-term, we can put ourselves in a position where we have enabled a new degree of intelligence to be applied at the software layer through low-code and no-code tools. Again, this comes down to productivity and giving our software engineering teams the chance to work on higher-level more value-added tasks as they no longer have to shoulder the grunt work at the admin and operations layer.

It is, in many ways, the next iteration of the buy vs. build discussion. Why reinvent any wheel if it can be delivered as-a-Service at a better implementation cost than it would have taken to build from scratch?

Both Bhatt and Pelz-Sharpe also concluded that we may still have to reconsider the way we think about work in many ways. In reality, some people will take 4 hours to accomplish a task and some workers will do it in 2 hours; and, essentially, this is still fine - we don't want a workforce of cookie-cutter robots with no diversity. Just because people have different ways of exhibiting their abilities, doesn't mean that we should automatically cut them out of the workforce equation.

But let's keep our feet on the ground. As we advance towards a more ubiquitous usage of cloud, we will still need to realise that some applications and data will remain on-premises. If this is a time for introspection where we 'take a good look at ourselves' and think about how much data we do actually need to store. Let's not encumber our forward march to productivity by putting any metaphorical anchors or shackles on ourselves in any form.

Many firms will be operating on what effectively represents quite a blank sheet as they now build their own personal version of the new normals - not because they don't already have defined business models, agreed process management protocols, favoured software development methodologies and preferred management principles - they do.

That blank sheet exists because we now have a chance to make things work the way we all really want them to on an individual and group level, and we've all lived through something that none of us can quite believe happened. Let's take that grounding humanising impact as a chance to embrace a new epiphany and get more content with our digital content.

More info: www.alfresco.com/events/webinars/modernizing-work-todays-distributed-workforce