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When we resorted to remote working in 2020, we believed it to be a short-time fad brought on by sheer necessity. Now, from the poorly planned work-from-home strategies of two years ago to the thriving hybrid work model that has recently emerged, the way we work has gone through a swift evolution.

The first couple of years post-pandemic focused on workplace digitization to ensure a secure and collaborative means of working. From 2020 to the end of 2022, the will-we-won’t-we tug-of-war between remote/hybrid working and return to office kept the business world focused primarily on employee productivity.

But it’s 2023 now, and this focus too, seems to have shifted. For the first time since the five-day working week was implemented due to the growing unrest among the labor force almost a century before, employee requirements have become the driving force behind deciding the future of work.

What’s New in Today’s Digital Workplace?

Enhancing employee experience through a human-centric digital workplace is the talk of the town since the beginning of the new year. In fact, The Future of Work 2023 Report by Infosys says that from 2022 to 2024, businesses have been focusing on automation, and adoption of digital tools to create a digital workplace in an effort to foster a human-centric culture.

The report says that an overwhelming 73% of senior executives and managers surveyed said that flexible and remote workplaces will grow in the future and 41% of the companies said they are planning to increase remote working hires in the next 2 years.

In the last 2 years, we saw that remote working improves talent onboarding since the blurring of geographical boundaries brings more employee flexibility. And the hybrid model does wonders with employee retention. This is one of the main reasons why Forrester Predictions 2023 warns leaders that forcing employees back to the office will meet with “disastrous results”. It says that undoing hybrid and remote working will result in a loss of productivity.

Set against this context, organizations are faced with the most obvious choice – adopt digital workplace technologies with the goal to improve employee experience.

Digital Workplace Technologies that Improve Employee Experience

The Gartner 2023-2024 Tech Adoption Roadmap for Infrastructure & Operations says that there will be a 14% increase in the adoption of digital workplace technologies from the period 2021-2023 to 2022-2024. This increase will be driven primarily by the need to ensure a great digital employee experience.

The Gartner report validates this rise in percentage with some employee experience statistics. Employees expressing satisfaction are 60% more likely to stay with the organization and are 69% more likely to be high performers.

This data becomes even more crucial in the face of one of today’s biggest business challenges – scarcity in talent, an aspect we discussed in detailed in one of our recent whitepapers.

Among the digital workplace technologies already deployed by organizations, Gartner says, 60% improves speed and agility, and 40% enhances employee experience.

It also says, Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is already a favorite among CIOs and IT decision-makers as it is a high value, low risk technology.

How DaaS Enhances Digital Employee Experience

With employee experience being a critical factor for business success, it is a priority for organizations to invest in digital workplace technologies like DaaS, which invariably provides a high return on investments.

DaaS addresses employee experience challenges in many ways, from providing remote access to business applications to ensuring minimum downtime. With DaaS, employees get the support to remain productive without loss in effort or time, without the risk of data breach or loss.

A few ways that DaaS empowers employees:

  • Onsite and offsite employees are constantly connected to the virtual infrastructure because DaaS enables working from anywhere.
  • By providing a virtual workplace on even their personal devices, DaaS ensures that any personal applications installed on the device are well and truly separated from critical business applications.
  • The IT team can monitor all virtual machines from anywhere and perform software updates and maintenance remotely, which means that employees don’t lose time waiting for IT support.
  • If any device the employee is working on malfunctions or become inaccessible, all they have to do is switch to another device. Their data and applications are device agnostic, and thus, accessible from anywhere.
  • Employees do not have to worry about corporate data theft or loss even if their device gets stolen. DaaS comes with concrete security, and nothing is saved locally.

(Learn more from our COO, Maneesh Raina, as he explores in detail how DaaS ensures great end user experience.)

The future of work is employee centric. As we make the shift to a human-centric digital workplace that is driven largely by employee expectations, organizations must realign their IT strategies with a fresh perspective. The workplace of the future is not about numbers but more about experiences. And with digital workplace technologies like DaaS, which provides the ideal infrastructure for seamless operations, organizations can ensure that these experiences are both meaningful and repeatable.

Customer commitment is the most critical aspect to focus on to achieve product excellence and deliver customer value. In fact, a customer-centric approach to product design and delivery is crucial to its success.

Over the last 10 years, Anunta has been leading the Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) market, delivering value and excellence in our customers’ virtualization journeys. While our custom-built innovative DaaS products have our customers at the center, this approach doesn’t end at the product design stage. Customer centricity is at the core of everything we do – from product design to delivery to support.

Yes, we are proud of the fact that outstanding customer experience is one of the key drivers of our success and growth. But how do we measure the success of our customer commitment? How do we ensure we are on the right path in our customer initiatives and engagements?

Measuring Anunta’s Customer Happiness through Our Net Promoter Score (NPS)

As a data-driven organization, Anunta relies on different metrics to analyze the success of our customer endeavors like Net Promoter Score (NPS) and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) survey results. Conducted quarterly, our NPS surveys have been telling us how happy our customers are – with an amazing score of 74.

To understand why this score is happy news for Anunta, it is important to understand what NPS survey is and what it measures.

NPS is the gold standard of customer experience and happiness metrics. It measures the loyalty of customers to a brand or organization and does so with just one question.

“How likely are you to recommend Anunta/Anunta’s products to a friend or colleague?”

Customers are requested to choose a rating from 0 to 10, 0 being “highly unlikely” and 10 being “extremely likely”. Depending on their response, customers are categorized into three:

  • Promoters: Those who rate 9 or 10 are typically extremely loyal to the brand and can be trusted with spreading the word in their circle. They are our brand evangelists.
  • Passives: Those who respond with a score of 7 or 8 will most likely be satisfied with our products but they won’t be enthusiastic enough to evangelize us.
  • Detractors: Those who score between 0 and 6 are extremely unhappy with our products and services and may end up discouraging others from being our customers.

NPS calculation is simple – ignore the passives and subtract the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters.

For example, if 20% of respondents are detractors, 10% are passives, and 70% are promoters, then your NPS is:
70 (promoters) – 20 (detractors) = 50

While any positive NPS is good (which means there are more happy customers than indifferent and unhappy ones), most B2B tech companies score somewhere in 20s or 30s. It’s a very good score, no doubt, which is why Anunta’s 74 is an extremely impressive number.

Adding the Anunta Edge to Customer Experience

So how did we end up with this fantastic score? Our customer-first approach to all processes ensures that from delivery to support, the product and services are driven by our customer’s requirements.

  • Customer-centric product design: Anunta’s DaaS products are highly customized and uniquely tailored to customer requirements. They can be seamlessly integrated into the customer’s existing IT tools and processes, ensuring that their IT team doesn’t have to spare extra efforts.
  • Consumption-based pricing: Our pay-as-you-go model ensures user-based pricing, eliminating the need for capital expenditure. Moreover, it also helps customers scale up or down easily based on their requirements.
  • Proactive day 2 support: Committed to helping our customers build more agile, secure, and reliable desktop infrastructures, our end-to-end post implementation support ensures that customers can focus on using their virtual desktops to improve workforce agility and productivity, without having to worry about their infrastructure management and maintenance.
  • Dedicated Customer Experience Manager: Our CEM acts as the SPOC for all business and technical requirements, SLA reviews and deliveries, improving customer experience, and identifying opportunities of growth.

With end-to-end management of the customer’s virtual environment, Anunta ensures that IT leaders and their teams can focus on effectively driving their digital transformation strategies to further their business goals rather than be bogged down by infrastructure management and operations.

As an affirmation to our commitment to our customer-first approach, Anunta became a pioneer in the DaaS market to earn the prestigious “Customer First” badge from Gartner Peer Insights, earlier in 2022.

Recently, Anunta also won the CIO CHOICE 2023 award in the Desktop-as-a-Service category, making us the most trusted brand in the DaaS market. CIOs and ICT leaders nominated and voted for Anunta as their most preferred technology provider based on their own experience of working with us. Winning the CIO CHOICE Award elevates our position as a market leader in DaaS and showcases our strong customer focus.

The 5-star rating from our customers on Gartner Peer Insights and the CIO CHOICE 2023 award win, together with our impressive NPS of 74 distinguish us from other DaaS providers, ensure that when it comes to a customer-centric approach to engagements, Anunta leads the way.

IT leaders have to navigate a sea of challenges in today’s cloudy business environment.

Inflationary pressures make it difficult for businesses to acquire critical IT infrastructure. Companies struggle to hire and retain skilled IT personnel. As organizations actively accelerate their digital and cloud transformation strategies, maintaining digital and technological sovereignty is a massive priority. Added to these, data security and compliance in the face of persistent cyberattacks and strict regulatory laws has become more important than ever.

In short, executive and IT managers must figure out how to meet ever-increasing operational and security requirements with less budget, reduced staff, and lower levels of certainty about the immediate future.

Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) can become an important tool to address these challenges. Rapidly becoming a mainstream technology, a fully managed DaaS platform can help businesses attain cost-effectiveness, ease the workload of their IT teams, and ensure data security and compliance.

What is DaaS and how does it work?

DaaS is a desktop computing infrastructure that uses virtual machines to deliver desktop sessions to end users. All virtual desktops and applications are hosted in the cloud, and nothing resides locally.

DaaS makes it possible to deploy virtual desktop sessions quickly, and DaaS infrastructure can scale to support hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of individual users. That’s why businesses across a range of industries – such as healthcare, finance, insurance, professional services, and business process management – are turning to DaaS to:

  • Support remote or hybrid workers.
  • Reduce IT spending through pay-as-you-go pricing models.
  • Enhance data and application security.
  • Increase agility.

How DaaS improves reliability under inflationary pressures

A slowdown in global economic growth, inflation, and IT product costs have significantly increased the financial pressure for organizations across the globe. Most companies likely have less budget to support IT initiatives or maintenance operations. IT leaders now face tremendous pressure to do more with less budget, and are faced with the need to find innovative ways to maximize the ROI of existing IT investments while also making changes that reduce overall IT costs.

DaaS provides enhanced reliability during times of inflation as organizations can launch as many virtual desktops as they need, quickly and easily, without having to rely on hardware procurement. Virtual desktops also provide hassle-free de-provisioning as opposed to traditional desktops, resulting in zero wastage in idle hardware.

The pay-as-you-go subscription model saves cost while ensuring easy scalability – a feature that holds value while organizations gear up to weather the upcoming inflation.

How DaaS overcomes staffing shortages

The competitive hiring market has made it difficult for many IT organizations to hire and retain skilled engineers. Once consequence of IT staffing shortages is that IT teams may no longer be able to maintain the same level of inhouse operations that they traditionally have been doing. Engineers are stretched thinner, leaving less time to spend on work like patching and updating critical systems. The lack of skilled personnel may mean cutting corners when it comes to IT management and support operations.

DaaS helps overstretched IT teams do more with fewer personnel. Instead of desktop support, IT teams can focus on new digitization projects, such as cloud, automation, and data analytics.

With DaaS, IT engineers no longer have to worry about servicing or updating physical desktops. They can rely on DaaS providers to manage their virtual PC infrastructure.

How DaaS enhances security to ensure digital sovereignty

Digital sovereignty is the concept that the data collected and stored in a country is subject to the data laws and governance of that country. Any violation of these regulations will result in massive damages in cost and brand name for organizations.

When it comes to their data, especially sensitive customer data, organizations must have complete control and visibility on where it is stored, how it is used, and who has access to it. Data security (with access control and insulation against cyber threats) and regulatory compliance (varying across the industry) are becoming more challenging daily.

With DaaS, businesses never have to worry that the loss or theft of devices will expose sensitive data. They can also centrally monitor all desktop environments to detect signs of security breaches, and they can harden systems against unauthorized access using techniques like multi-factor authentication.

DaaS also helps organizations ensure compliance and avoid legal risks by giving them complete control over their data.

Anunta’s DaaS value proposition

While DaaS offers clear and distinct benefits of particular value for IT organizations today, the challenge that IT leaders sometimes encounter is the difficulty of getting started with DaaS.

Building a virtual desktop infrastructure from scratch requires a significant investment of staff time and financial resources, both of which are scarce in the typical business today.

Anunta offers a simpler approach. Our fully automated Vendor-Defined DaaS, deploys a new virtual desktop environment in a matter of hours and helps scale up or down easily based on requirements. An enterprise-ready virtual desktop solution, Managed DaaS is not only highly customized and uniquely tailored to enterprise IT requirements, but it also seamlessly integrates existing IT tools and processes, ensuring next to no disruption for the IT staff.

With the end-to-end management of the customer’s virtual environment, Anunta’s DaaS ensures that IT leaders and CXOs can focus more on their digital transformation priorities rather than IT infrastructure and operations, effectively furthering their core business goals.

This is a summary of our Gartner Analyst-validated whitepaper titled “Leveraging DaaS to Thrive in Today’s Cloudy Business Environment”. Download the whitepaper to understand more on why DaaS is the best solution to weather the stormy waters of today’s business.

During the Festival of Lights this year, Anunta celebrated a festival of its own.

As part of our CSR policy, Anunta is committed to giving back to the community and making a tangible difference in the lives of the underprivileged. The many CSR initiatives planned at Anunta are driven by the belief that even the smallest of gestures can make the biggest difference because we have the strength of numbers. Collective action from all Anunta employees has been the biggest force behind the success of each of these initiatives.

In the spirit of Diwali, we decided to spread love, happiness, and joy among the less fortunate as part of our CSR initiatives. Anunta organized ‘Daan Utsav,’ our very own festival of giving. In this two-week-long donation drive across our offices in Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore, we urged our colleagues to donate clothes, books, and toys to those in need.

In the two weeks that followed, we received overwhelming response from as our colleagues enthusiastically made their donations.

Why Daan Utsav?

We organized Daan Utsav because the idea of having our own festival of giving aligned well with both our CSR policy as well as the auspicious time of Diwali.

We have been organizing Daan Utsav annually and the response from our colleagues has always been inspiring. It falls under our “Joy of Giving” CSR initiative that is focused entirely on helping the underprivileged through financial and domestic resources.

Daan Utsav was conceptualized to help each employee in Anunta to experience the joy of giving. A drive like this where everyone openly participates helps us induct new employees into the “giving experience”. It also instils a sense of belonging in them, being part of a large corporate initiative with very tangible results.

A word about our partner, Goonj

For Daan Utsav, we partnered with Goonj, an NGO that undertakes disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and community development in 23 states across India. Headquartered in New Delhi, Goonj channels unused materials in urban homes to remote villages, distributing them among the deserving. They have built a strong, successful network of communities from urban to rural India, channelizing crucial and basic resources like clothes, food, books, etc. to address the gaps in education and livelihood.

Goonj’s model of development bridges the gap between the urban and rural communities, while creating a more inclusive and involved economy.

Goonj was the ideal partner for us in our Daan Utsav, as they source under-utilized resources from urban homes as tools for rural development, helping the less fortunate to live with dignity. Our collections through Daan Utsav would become crucial tools in building a comfortable life for the deserving.

The inspiring success of Daan Utsav

Daan Utsav was a tremendous success. At the end of two weeks, we collected over 100 boxes of clothes, toys, and books across all locations. Our HR team visited the Goonj offices in all three locations to hand over the donations, which will later be distributed across rural India by our very able partner.

Anunta has a very strong HR policy that is committed towards the upliftment of the underprivileged in our society. Daan Utsav is a great example how dedicated we are as an organization to put all our CSR plans into action.

“The Anunta Daan Utsav initiative was launched on October 2 with a simple request to our colleagues. Do you have any clothes, books, or toys that you would like to donate?” says Amar Salvi, our SVP of HR and Training. “The response from our colleagues across locations was prompt and in just a few days, the boxes were overflowing!”

“I am glad that we could collectively make a difference to the underprivileged through this association with Goonj,” Amar adds. “Looking forward to many such drives in 2023.”

“36% of manufacturing enterprises realize above average business value from IT spending in digitalization when compared with peers,” says a Gartner report on how advanced manufacturing companies are now capitalizing on the latest technology trends to drive value.

One of these technology tools that has been adding consistent value to manufacturing businesses is Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). In fact, the need for cost-effective digital transformation is already driving the industry towards desktop virtualization. The desktop virtualization market in manufacturing is expected to register a CAGR of 9.3% over the forecast period of 2021 – 2026.

A crucial advantage that DaaS brings in for the manufacturing industry is the massive time saving in device procurement and the subsequent cost saving. Manufacturing businesses heavily rely on devices with high-end specifications for their graphics professionals to develop CAD models and complex engineering simulations. These specifications vary based on project requirements, which is where the long road to hardware procurement begins. With DaaS, this road becomes much shorter.

How does DaaS tackle the IT hardware challenges in the manufacturing industry?

Anunta recently helped one of India’s leading steel manufacturing companies in addressing the twin challenges of time and cost involved in device procurement for their graphics team.

The customer had multiple projects which depended on devices with high-end graphics specifications. While the smooth execution of the project relied on these end user devices, there were multiple challenges associated with it.

One was the massive amount of time spent on device procurement. Because of the highly specific hardware configurations, this followed a long process that involved understanding the specifications, inviting bids from OEMs, finalizing the brand, procuring the end user device, installing the required software, and shipping the device to the end user. The average time taken for device procurement and deployment was a minimum of 6 weeks.

Apart from the time and cost involved in device procurement, another challenge lay in de-provisioning the device at the completion of the project. Since each project came with varying hardware specifications, device repurposing was a rare scenario, resulting in idle resources.

Anunta was able to help mitigate these challenges by moving the manufacturer to a DaaS infrastructure, specifically Azure Virtual Desktop (AVD). By leveraging AVD, we reduced the time taken for device procurement from 6 weeks to just 3 days, even with the high-end specifications. Moreover, we could also ensure hassle-free de-provisioning of virtual machines after project completion, resulting in zero wastage in the form of idle hardware.

The customer also benefitted from a subscription-based model, saving cost, and ensuring easy scalability.

Overall, Anunta was able to improve application availability dramatically with no major IT incidents, ensuring seamless and reliable manufacturing operations and processes.

What are the other benefits that DaaS offers the manufacturing industry?

  • Empowering a distributed workforce: DaaS provides seamless and secure access to real-time data, enhancing workforce efficiency and employee autonomy.
  • Centralizing all data: With data stored in a centralized platform, all stakeholders can access and share data. There’s also minimal risk of data loss as device failure has no impact on the centrally saved data.
  • Enhancing security and compliance: Leading cloud platforms are compliant to all regulatory standards.
  • Improving business agility and continuity: Seamless access to data and applications helps the workforce stay active during crises.

How does DaaS boost the growth of manufacturing businesses?

By eliminating the need to invest heavily in purchasing, maintaining, and upgrading hardware, DaaS contributes directly to the growth of the business. With no major infrastructural constraints, the money can be rightfully invested in other crucial operations for growth and market expansion.

There’s also the hidden advantage that DaaS brings in by enabling businesses in their ESG priorities by reducing carbon footprint and energy consumption. With a large-scale environment involving multiple plants and high-powered equipment, this is one advantage of DaaS that manufacturing businesses can truly leverage.

The manufacturing industry, that has long been tied down because of its massive fleet of on-premises equipment, impeding its digital transformation, can now adapt to the changing times. By simplifying its IT infrastructure and desktop management and eliminating security and cost concerns, DaaS has the potential to effectively boost the digital workplace transformation strategies of manufacturing businesses.

It’s no secret that happy workers are better workers – although if you want proof, check out what IDC says about how a positive employee experience breeds positive customer experiences.

Yet, it has become harder than ever for IT departments to keep workers happy. With more and more employees working remotely, ensuring that workers have access to the computing infrastructure, software, and support services they need to remain productive has become a core challenge for IT teams across the world.

One way to address this challenge is to embrace Desktop-as-a-Service, or DaaS. Because DaaS eliminates many of the friction points separating employees from a positive experience in using IT systems, DaaS helps workers to feel engaged and supported – even when they aren’t physically in the office.

Let me explain by elaborating on the user-experience issues that plague many workforces today, and how DaaS helps solve them.

The role of end-user computing in employee experience

In many respects, desktop computers are the essential link between employees and the companies they work for. No matter which role they play in the business or which systems they need to access, employees rely on desktop computers as their portals into the rest of the organization.

For that reason, desktop computers that result in a clunky experience can easily lead to underproductive, under-engaged, and demoralized employees. And the risks have only become greater as more employees have shifted to hybrid and remote work models since 2020.

Not only are situations like these bad for the business because they reduce productivity and increase the burden placed on IT teams. They’re also bad for employees, who are likely to become frustrated with their jobs and feel under-valued by their employers when they run into desktop computing issues that get in the way of their work.

Let’s also look at some of the most mundane yet significant limitations of traditional desktops:

  • Flexibility and mobility: Perhaps one of the most severe restrictions traditional desktops place on their users is the complete lack of mobility. We are talking about one cumbersome device placed in one location, entrusted with securing all data.
  • Data loss: Any corruption or damage to the hardware can result in the corruption or loss of data, making its recovery a near-impossibility.
  • New software rollouts: In a traditional desktop environment, new software rollouts have to be done using third-party tools, which do not guarantee 100% compliance on day 1.
  • Maintenance: Physical desktops – hardware and software – have to be updated and maintained regularly. Desktops may need hardware upgrades and replacements every 3 to 5 years. Operating Systems and software need regular updates for bug fix and security compliance. This maintenance becomes a challenging task in remote and hybrid working environments.
  • User experience: While high-end configurations tend to give a better user experience, others not so much. As physical desktops get older, the lower configurations and the age of the hardware contribute to slower performance, resulting in mediocre user experience.

Added to this, there is the very real threat of data loss associated with hardware failure. According to research, hardware failure contributes to 35% of data loss in organizations. If employees have to look over their shoulder everytime they handle a piece of corporate equipment for fear of damage or loss, it will not create a very happy work situation.

How DaaS supercharges employee experience

By using DaaS, businesses can virtually eliminate the risk that end-user computing problems like those described above will harm the employee experience.

With DaaS, on-site and offsite employees are constantly connected by default to the systems that they need to be productive. So, there is never a risk that employees won’t be able to access critical business resources or install the applications they require.

DaaS also ensures that the desktop environments employees work from are lean and mean. Any “cruft” that employees install on local devices remains isolated from virtual desktops, so it won’t slow down business critical applications.

IT support, too, is much faster and more efficient when employees have access to virtual desktops. The IT team can monitor and connect to virtual desktop environments from anywhere, without having to worry about how employees’ home networks are configured. They can access the virtual desktop that the employee uses, since it’s hosted in a server, to perform any maintenance activity like software updates, and operating system patching. Additionally, a VDI environment allows seamless software rollouts with a guaranteed 100% compliance from day 1 for every user.

And, in the event that the devices that employees use to connect to virtual desktops break down, they can simply switch to a different device in order to work around hardware issues. Since all of the data, applications and settings that workers need are stored in the virtual desktop environment, it doesn’t matter which device they use to connect.

Added to these advantages, DaaS provides the freedom to work from anywhere with its location and device-agnostic infrastructure. This mobility is reinforced by the iron-clad security it provides, making data theft or corruption a non-issue for end users.

These benefits are from a digital employee experience perspective. For employers, DaaS empowers their hybrid workspace in other ways:

  • It provides a secure hybrid workspace by eliminating the primary source of danger: insecure PCs.
  • By creating a seamless work experience for employees, DaaS enhances higher productivity and workforce scalability.
  • DaaS addresses all challenges in hybrid work by ensuring data security, network security, and software security.

DaaS: A win for workers and businesses alike

Put simply, DaaS helps to ensure that desktop computing infrastructure becomes a vector for employee efficiency and engagement, rather than a roadblock that separates workers from the business resources they need to do their jobs well. By delivering a smoother end-user computing experience, virtual desktops keep employees happy, while also protecting the needs of the business as a whole.

The healthcare sector has been grappling with looming cyber security challenges over the last several years. Healthcare records offer a high-value target for cybercriminals looking to make quick money on the dark web or initiate more focused attacks. Additionally, with lives potentially at stake, caregivers become increasingly vulnerable to disruptive digital acts, including healthcare ransomware attacks.

Healthcare institutes generate tons of data containing confidential and valuable insights. As the industry switches from paper and documents to a digitized setting, the attack surface keeps on expanding. With data being one of the critical pillars, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) and desktop as a service (DaaS) are earning good word among caregivers and patients alike.

Fear that critical patient information is always on the line? Keeping up with regulatory changes seems a challenging task? VDI solutions tackle these pressing issues with their innovative security offerings.

In fact, they are silently but rapidly becoming a potential weapon in the cyber security armory against ransomware attacks in healthcare. Ironically, data security and privacy have been a primary tight spot for organizations that delayed their migration to DaaS and VDI solutions. But now, the same leading-edge desktop virtualization technologies are finding use in identifying and combating cybercrimes.

This article explains how healthcare settings can profit from the security benefits of DaaS and VDI services.

Secure Healthcare VDI images

Creating an efficient image implies providing a lightweight VDI solution. Healthcare environments are characterized by numerous divisions in a mix. Hence, building the correct image for each domain is vital. For instance:

  • Executive staff (persistent image)
  • Labs and healthcare contractors (pooled image)
  • Department-based employees (both persistent and pooled images)

Each of these images will have its respective stack of policies focused on the end users. Accordingly, healthcare IT can deliver applications through user cohorts, and these images can remain light and clean.
By designing secure master golden images, IT admins can define updates to a single master image (in the respective division) and update that instance. Based on that, a reboot cycle for all the secondary images pointing to the master will make way for updates. Such management helps streamline a controlled VDI deployment.

Avoid Downtime during Crises

Like any other industry, downtime also translates to a loss of business in healthcare too. During system downtime, medical practitioners cannot respond to patient complaints, follow up on leads, or deliver care.
In healthcare, more than money is at risk. If computer systems are suspended, staff cannot book emergency appointments, and doctors and nurses cannot confirm medications or procedure timings. Eventually, lives are on the line.

During natural disasters such as a fire outbreak or floods, paper documents could get lost, compromised, or tattered. If the equipment has sustained damages, medical records saved on-premise might also get lost. Computers can freeze amidst a task, resulting in unsaved documents and lost progress.

DaaS keeps healthcare records in independent, centralized servers in real-time. As such, the odds of data loss with onsite files or hard copies reduce when medical staff save information on the cloud.

Besides, VDI solves general problems, such as load balancing, which often leads to standstills. If a single server fails to manage a process, DaaS vendors distribute the demand over multiple servers, ensuring healthcare institutes do not short-circuit during peak times.

Stricter Authorization to Avert Ransomware in Healthcare

An inquiry revealed that a Huntington Hospital (the US) employee grabbed the records of 13,000 patients without access permission. The now-former employee has been convicted of a criminal HIPAA offense. Worse, the hospital had to provide one-year complimentary identity theft protection services as prevention.

In most healthcare ransomware attacks, security loopholes occur from internal sources, including disgruntled workers or contractors who want to access the systems for vested interests. To avoid critical medical records from falling into the hands of suspicious people, healthcare needs more than a simple password approach. Simply put, a comprehensive VDI role-based access control (RBAC) matrix.
DaaS-based RBAC grants resource access to medical staff on a need-to-use basis according to their roles at the healthcare facility. This approach to identity and access management (IAM) allows only those with valid reasons to log into the virtual servers without compromising patient privacy.

Those with permission to use virtual desktops will require approval via digital certificates, biometrics interaction, or multi-factor authentication (MFA) before accessing relevant data to perform their duties.

Data Encryption as an Additional Security Layer

Private sensitive details, including protected health information (PHI) and electronic health records (EHR), are among the popular prizes for threat actors. Therefore, the guidelines for caregivers analyzing patients’ data entail stringent data protection requirements that come with hefty fines if not fulfilled.

Perimeter security approaches, such as firewalls, to strengthen the cyber security fabric are no longer capable enough to thwart today’s healthcare ransomware attacks. Complementing them with VDI’s data encryption feature is a must in a layered approach to data security.

Whenever EHRs float across multiple systems, their confidentiality and integrity become vulnerable to various risks – Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks, accidental exposure, and insider threats. Encrypting them in transit, mostly via the transport layer security (TLS) protocol, protects from many of these cyber risks.

Encryption encodes EHRs and PHI in such a way that only legitimate users can access them. It denies unauthorized third parties who do not have the required decryption key from reading or modifying classified information. In other words, even if a would-be interceptor physically nabs a server with encrypted information, that data remains completely undecipherable without the correct secret key.

Encryption does not guarantee the integrity of PHI – at rest and in transit. That said, as data is in constant evolution, healthcare settings can leverage it to check their backup integrity.

Frequent Security Patches and Updates

Unpatched software is among the primary reasons behind ransomware attacks in healthcare globally. Network threats are continuously evolving as malicious actors keep innovating their intrusion tactics. Cybercriminals often exploit critical security holes only a few hours after a software’s public launch. For small- and medium-scale healthcare centers, keeping software updated without triggering serious operation disturbances is challenging.

As such, regular software and app updates are crucial to boost the protection of confidential resources from potential healthcare ransomware attacks. Conventional IT security models do not execute timely updates or as often as necessary, thus exposing healthcare data and networks to digital intrusions.

DaaS vendors regularly install patches for their clients (healthcare settings), who can continue leveraging the cloud services without operational downtime. This reduces their chances of becoming victims of ransomware and saves them time in the process. When the staff reside in remote locations, VDI software solutions help ensure all employees are up-to-date and remain productive.

Secure Data Access from a Single Location

Moving healthcare data to DaaS allows medical staff to accumulate diverse databases in a single place. No doubt, the bulk of patients’ data is safeguarded. However, saving them in multiple sources – hard drives, spreadsheets, and hard copies – keeps petty items, such as a post-surgery note or a prescription, at the risk of getting misplaced or lost.

Storing medical records in a DaaS infrastructure opens new avenues for data management and integration (DMI) protocols. DMI is a complicated and evolving area. Simply put, it incorporates procedures and policies that companies implement to ensure that the right people have timely access to accurate information.

For hospitals and clinics, having plain and updated records is paramount before service providers shift or merge them with other data. If errors occur, for instance, in medical histories, patient details, prescriptions, or financial information, the healthcare institute can end up draining piles of cash and public backlash. Not to mention the physical harm if patients do not receive accurate treatment.

DaaS to Make Healthcare Cyber Security Smarter

Safeguarding critical resources in virtual servers is not only an IT issue but a paramount aspect of overall business strategy. The continuous rise in the sophistication of ransomware attacks in healthcare has influenced caregivers to realize the security benefits of the DaaS architecture.

Besides, the recent ransomware attack at the Chicago-based CommonSpirit Health is evident enough that cyber security intrusions continue to plague the healthcare system. Hence, organizations are inviting IT security pros to boardroom discussions for a well-thought-out security roadmap.

Today, virtual desktops are gradually replacing desktop setups in healthcare institutes. The perks end-users get to experience are hardware-agnostic desktop access, easy IT maintenance, better data security, and so on. Moreover, the security advances that VDI services boast are motivating healthcare that has been reluctant to embrace the technology to at least reassess their feasibility.

The intertwined nature of providing care reflects how an attack on one section of healthcare organizations can trigger a domino effect. While DaaS is not the silver bullet against ransomware in healthcare, it will keep classified medical resources organized and as secure as possible.

The banking, finance, service, and insurance (BFSI) industry has been among the primary end-users of IT products. Whether launching mobile banking (M-banking), enhancing customers’ savings hygiene, or offering doorstep services, financial institutions have never shied away from tech-driven innovations.

Ironically, that has not been the case with Desktop as a Service (DaaS) until the past few months. Considering the recent tectonic shifts challenger banks have undergone, BFSI incumbents have slipped under immense pressure. Cutting-edge virtualization solutions have enabled early adopters to eat away at the market share of traditional banks. Additionally, COVID-19 has underscored that customers expect banking services at their fingertips.

Hence, financial service providers are making rapid but cautious moves toward DaaS solutions to address these critical challenges in the banking industry.

Whether managing funds or offering investment suggestions, financial institutions deliver multiple services to customers. The very nature of these services makes the industry ideal for utilizing DaaS solutions.

The data they handle envelopes personal identifiable information (PII), which is highly confidential and demands stringent regulations. Moreover, customers are scattered across continents, and bankers need technological nimbleness to serve them on an as-needed basis.

The conventional on-site systems cannot deal with these evolving business requirements. As a result, financial institutions are increasingly betting on DaaS solutions that deliver on the promises of better performance, security, and cost-efficacy.

This article discusses why DaaS is a go-to solution to address the challenges in finance.

Securing Data at the Endpoints

Financial institutions store and process tons of classified customer information on a regular basis. From contact details to banking details, this gold mine of PII makes any banker an appealing target to cybercriminals. Moreover, the BFSI vertical is witnessing an upsurge in users preferring financial technology (FinTech) apps, such as M-banking and electronic payments, to traditional banking methods.

However, this expansion brings with it an astonishingly complex matrix of exposures and threats. Banks alone endured about 2,500 cyberattacks in 2021, a massive 3.5X rise from the 2020 numbers.

Besides, new security challenges in finance crop up with the pervasiveness of remote working culture. Bankers now access corporate systems and data from home routers, public Wi-Fi, and personal devices – otherwise called bring your own device (BYOD).

Virtual desktops do not keep or process any critical information. Instead, it resides in companies’ servers and data centers, where it is highly secure. When financial institutions include DaaS in their BYOD architecture, employees and users no longer have to use personal devices to log in and consume data.

Rather, each personal device turns into a window to virtual applications. These virtual desktops mimic a sandboxed, segmented work setting that exists safely beside users’ personal applications. This separation of apps from endpoints enables banks’ IT teams to manage and monitor data security, access, and auditing.

Changing System Configurations on Request

Over the past decade, the basic needs and preferences of an average consumer changed drastically no matter the industry. Now, quick service and convenience are among the deciding factors in client satisfaction.

BFSI incumbents’ core legacy systems are technologically inept at keeping pace with the ever-changing customer demands and market dynamics. These on-prem systems have a rigid configuration and need to be replaced as finance organizations mature.

DaaS solutions offer flexible desktops which are instantly scalable. As desktops are virtual, bankers can set their configurations based on business objectives. Their IT teams can add or remove users or system resources after completing the tasks.

Optimizing IT Budgets

Financial institutions allocate the lion’s share of their budgets for IT infrastructure. First, they purchase physical workstations from a vendor. Then, they need electricity and adequate air conditioning to run these systems. Not to mention a skilled, dedicated IT staff required for maintenance purposes. All these steps pose serious challenges in finance in terms of time and cost.

Virtualizing BFSI assets enables banks to move from capital expenses (CAPEX) to predictable operating expenses (OPEX). Many established DaaS vendors provide an entire stack for a per-user, per-month subscription price.

This pay-as-you-go model allows banks to foot only for tools, virtual desktops, and resources they are currently using. In addition, they can scale up and down as needed while having an expert IT panel to keep their workstations updated and protected 24/7.

When the time comes for a system refresh, financial service providers can buy thin clients, which are comparatively cost-effective, versus physical desktops that are compute- and energy-intensive.

Further, financial establishments can set up a BYOD policy, where bankers can serve customers from their own devices. As they do not have to deploy these systems on-premise, organizations save on maintenance-related costs.

Minimal Downtime during Unforeseen Events

Any minor issue with local workstations can trigger a halt in financial operations for a few hours. Even worse, a major devastating event, such as an earthquake or a large-scale cyberattack, can extend the standstill for days (if not months).

Several DaaS packages come with a foolproof disaster recovery (DR) plan to ensure uninterrupted operations in financial settings, even when a catastrophe occurs. DaaS replicates the entire financial process on multiple data centers situated across the globe.

The virtual resources remain highly available, and IT admins can reconfigure secure access to systems if a location is out of order. So, if one server or data center crashes due to any unexpected event, VDI’s at-length redundancy and backup capabilities redirect bankers’ access to identical workstations.

Moreover, if any employee loses their devices or leaves them somewhere, the risks of data theft/loss are nil. Virtual desktops are not tied to any specific device. This geographical separation of servers minimizes the risk of operational standstills in financial institutions and thus ensures a smooth client experience.

Keeping Regulators Happy

Effective corporate administration and solid risk management boost the financial stability that banks can achieve by collaborating with market actors and policymakers.

Considering the sensitivity of the information financial institutions preserve, they are always under pressure to fulfill security mandates, including the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Non-abidance to such BFSI norms can result in swift, silent, and brutal outcomes.

Many such compliance standards are already hovering around the corner as different countries lock down their “digital boundaries” in their own way. Case in point, the European Union’s (EU) General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This banking regulation requires banks to comprehensively examine their offerings to assess and correct any possible security leaks and confirm whether the firm is EU-native or not.

DaaS helps financial establishments to stay compliant with technical standards and ease regulatory pressure. After all, teaming up with a service provider versed in the BFSI sector and having the necessary certifications makes the regulatory landscape significantly more negotiable. Furthermore, vendors offer compliant VDI tools, summarized in service level agreements (SLA) and data center compliance norms.

Serving Clients in Various Time Zones

Money makes the world go round. Providing financial services to global customers involves resolving their queries at anytime from anywhere. Today, customers are tech-savvy and make transactions online. They expect their service providers to respond equally fast.

As such, financial service firms must be flexible and agile enough to fulfill the demands of their “always-on” clients. Bankers have to sit behind a desk the entire day while working on traditional desktops. Once they log out, catering to customers living in the other hemisphere becomes a grave challenge in the banking industry.

Accessible from any Internet-powered device, anywhere, anytime, DaaS solutions enable finance experts to attend to customers residing across regions, whether on the road, at the office, or at home. At the same time, they can access financial applications and data on the go.

Unleashing DaaS to Tackle the Challenges in Banking Industry

A bank’s tech expertise and the quality of banking software services it receives linearly affect its market competitiveness.

DaaS solutions are transforming the way financial establishments perceive operational functionality and risk processing. They have reinvented the groundwork of the BFSI space by turning conventional desk-side firms into web-delivered service providers. Hence, bankers can focus on expanding their clientele and strengthening their infrastructure.

In general, banks have been sluggish in leveraging DaaS solutions due to security and compliance concerns. However, recently, they have started to fully explore the potential and realize the benefits of desktop virtualization technology.

Desktop as a Service houses tremendous value potential when it comes to combating the challenges in the banking industry. Unfortunately, those with a piecemeal migration strategy can miss out on grabbing the entire value. For instance, companies first to cash in on M-banking have already become industry heavyweights.

Thankfully, financial institutions are quickly learning that BFSI’s future lies in virtualization. As a result, they are increasingly including DaaS in their digitization journeys to remain relevant, bolster IT security, and offer more diverse services to customers.

Desktop virtualization technologies are undoubtedly here to stay and are a flourishing trend of measurable outcomes. Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), two prominent solutions in the industry, have cemented their place as the go-to IT solution for workplaces of all sorts.

The steps involved in VDI implementation are the same as those in any large-scale tech project: understanding needs, setting objectives and milestones, researching, choosing vendors, and planning and strategy.

That being considered, organizations must take necessary measures throughout the VDI implementation process to optimize their working efficiency. This article explains seven common VDI/DaaS issues that most (if not all) companies often make.

Seven common mistakes organizations make in VDI implementation

Cost-effectiveness at the Cost of User Experience

Keeping users at the center of End User Computing (EUC) efforts should be a no-brainer for organizations. Unfortunately, most of them turn a blind eye to this aspect of their VDI implementation process. While business leaders have budget limitations, emphasizing only cost-cutting and neglecting user experience will lead to net loss down the line due to sub-par productivity.

Case in point, a company picks a public cloud-based multi-user model to reduce its capital expenses (CAPEX). Such a framework enables numerous users to share the resources and costs of a particular virtual machine (VM). However, if the cloud environment is not appropriately sized, these cost reduction tactics can later shape into performance issues that eventually annoy end-users.

Purchasing the best VDI service is all about squaring end-user experience with CAPEX. Besides, organizations must invest in monitoring tools that allow them to gauge UX and make necessary tweaks when things go south. These tools help them assure they are delivering a splendid end-user experience by capturing what is flashing on their employees’ physical monitors.

The total costs of ownership (TCO) for desktop virtualization solutions can outshine that of traditional physical desktops. Hence, companies should realize the benefits these technologies will come with and ensure they ink a valuable deal.

Seeing all Service Providers through the Same Lens

All DaaS/VDI vendors appear identical from a worm’s-eye perspective. They offer packages with similar functionalities at varying price tags.

Desktop virtualization services by public cloud hyperscalers allow users to work only in a single – “Mono Cloud” – setting. On the flip side, multi-cloud DaaS solutions equip companies with the flexibility to switch between various public clouds. As such, they can change their EUC environments – by transferring some data from one public cloud to another, for example, without hampering their VDI implementation strategies.

By dint of the circumstance, businesses must consider the following factors while comparing different service providers:

  • Security: Multi Factor Authentication (MFA), data backup, and anti-malware software
  • Mobility: Access to critical resources anywhere, anytime
  • Uptime: At least 95% (Industry standard is 99.99%)
  • After-sales support: Resolving queries quickly and accurately
  • Scalability: Easy to scale when required

Case in point, a VDI service package bundled with 90% uptime and no resting data encryption can cost more money even if the upfront expenses are low. Conversely, a VDI solution offering 99% uptime with transport layer security (TLS) 1.3 and 256-bit encryption would be an excellent buy. While the initial costs could be high, the overall return on investment (ROI) will be impressive.

Inadequate Resource Planning

Before kick-starting VDI implementation, organizations have the opportunity to lay out a map for resource allocation. VMs will consume tremendous network bandwidth, storage, and memory to function optimally. If companies cut back on these computing requirements early on, their operation efficacy will take a hard hit.

As such, organizations must avoid planning out resources based on current or near-future needs to stitch an IT fabric, they will utilize in coming years. With that in mind, they should assess the resources they need and their status before, during, and after deploying the VDI solution.

Case in point, monitoring RAM, network bandwidth, and storage usage of every computing device. This alongside the requirements of mission-critical applications to determine the final resource requirement. Moreover, taking some additional units beforehand can help prevent system freeze or outages.

Understanding the difference between what those modules should be doing and how they actually operate is essential. Besides, businesses should be deeply acquainted with the hosts or applications in use to avoid guesswork, which could lead to inaccuracies.

Not Educating Staff about VDI Implementation

Nabbing new VDI/DaaS solutions is just one part of the entire story. Users must be aware of their entire feature sets and how to unfold their full potential. Organizations should inform about the tech-based changes in the workplaces across the board in advance. They need to provide their employees with adequate training on virtual desktops.

That includes how to run virtual desktops – whether on a virtual private network (VPN) or own web-browsing devices – what login credentials to use, and how to access and save data. Training employees will help prevent future troubles.

For this, businesses must perceive their employees as stakeholders and shadow their activities to determine how they can map them into their VDI implementation. In addition, companies must communicate any downside so that employees can inform the concerned authority on issues, including long login times, device lag, and video streaming difficulties.

When deploying DaaS/VDI, organizations should work in phases and follow up with their employees after each phase to check on them and receive feedback. They need to learn their preferences and needs to ensure fluid adoption.

Not Managing VM Sprawl

Virtualization or VM sprawl has been a longstanding challenge and can be particularly detrimental in a DaaS/VDI environment. IT teams should standardize graphics and images as much as possible to slash the degree of cleaning and maintenance each of them requires.

If a department, for instance, needs certain programs, the company should move them out through the configuration manager option (or virtualizing the apps completely) after the user logs in. This offers a single image for all users instead of a different image incorporating those essential programs.

Companies using multiple files should oversee user expectations and organize the images by the task in a distributed desktop environment. Case in point, a salesperson who will communicate via VPN and requires rapid response times, a web developer who consumes a lot of RAM, and a newbie who should be denied permission to access those applications or use USB drives.

Henceforward, IT teams should preserve the documents and disable inactive virtual desktops as employees update or leave the company.

Purchasing New Set of Equipment (Unnecessarily)

Some service providers convince end-users to replace their entire existing infrastructure with new hardware to migrate to desktop virtualization. Not to mention a string of thin clients. However, that is not the case. Businesses must never be frugal on spending sufficient capital but efficiently utilize traditional IT assets.

With desktop virtualization platforms, companies no longer have to spend on hardware and its maintenance. The office computers and laptops they already have will work absolutely fine unless they do not support internet connectivity.

Besides, VMs need not be wired to a thin client or server. Employees can also use tablets and handheld devices (based on remote access and network capabilities). That is where the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) software comes to the rescue.

Companies should avoid wasting bandwidth on their hardware during VDI implementation and rather stick to existing servers if possible. Moreover, they should not squander money by allocating a thin line/virtual desktop for each employee. Instead, they should check whether they can share these if feasible, for instance, part-time employees who work alternating shifts.

As such, organizations must use their current IT equipment until they wear out before buying new ones. If they need additional devices, they can allow BYOD for a while to understand the effect of this decision.

Taking Security Lightly

With desktop virtualization services, all the data reside in a centralized location and are off-limits to everybody unless authenticated and authorized. Organizations can disable access by decommissioning their employees’ virtual desktops in a few clicks. With all these facilities, several organizations cease thinking about their security infrastructure.

However, VDI implementation does not mean the C-suite can relax, as digital intrusions could still occur via disgruntled employees, rogue system admins, social engineering, and network sniffing.

While choosing desktop virtualization services, businesses must enquire about the security features, load balancing, and security upgrades and patching. Following is the checklist:

  • Firewalls: To authorize users to access business-critical data and applications
  • Intrusion Detection and Prevention System (IDPS): To monitor and mitigate cyberattack(s)
  • MFA: To authenticate every employee and stakeholder entering the cloud network
  • Regular backup: For disaster recovery and business continuity
  • TLS 1.3 and 256-bit encryption: To safeguard resting and in-transit data

Prepare Now to Prevent Glitches in Future

While this summary underscores some critical pitfalls to avoid during VDI implementation, the list can extend further as DaaS/VDI adoption increases. As such, companies must not live under the impression that migrating to desktop virtualization is a smooth process.

Mistakes occur, and more of them are unexpected. Therefore, companies should log and learn from their mistakes before including them in their VDI implementation.

Artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solutions are some of the groundbreaking technologies promising notable changes to the business economy. Consequently, several small and midsize businesses (SMB) are engaging in digital transformation initiatives to unlock true digital value.

While digital shift is a hot topic in boardroom discussions, most SMB runners fail to understand its meaning thoroughly. The basic mistake they commit is deploying technologies without any reasonable cause and not forming a relevant, sustainable strategy. They get enthusiastic about the technologies and adopt them without understanding their long-term usage and effect on the business.

Digital is always on the move, making SMBs feel overwhelmed. As such, they need to be accurate on the fundamentals instead of over-sophisticating an already challenging transition.

This article digs deeper into eight digital transformation mistakes SMBs should keep at bay.

Vague Goals for Digital Transformation

Most SMBs have a confused and blurred vision for digital transformation as they cannot define relevant specifics or build a coherent strategy. While entrepreneurs boast intent and a stack of innovative projects, they cannot specify the reason behind the digital transformation.

When the goal is not set, and key performance indicators (KPI) are not mutually agreed upon, business persons will have a distorted view of the problem they want to fix. As such, they end up investing in the wrong technology, which could disrupt the entire digital journey.

SMBs must perform the upfront hard work to create a well-articulated, easy-to-understand digital transformation plan with specific, measurable, and feasible goals. Moreover, the process should begin at the top and then scatter across the enterprise.

Setting Unrealistic Deadlines and Milestones

Having a plan at hand is quintessential before commencing the digital transformation journey. SMBs must be clear on what results they expect, for instance, better overall workplace efficacy, increased profit margins, or streamlined complex operations.

Irrespective of the goals, being unreasonably bullish from day one and creating concrete deadlines to accomplish them will always backfire. C-suite executives must understand that digital transition is a “marathon,” and not a one-off affair. The entire process will take time, effort, and numerous risks to come to fruition.

To keep digital transformation on track, SMBs should define milestones and interim goals to gauge its impact in due course. As a result, they can better manage the deliverables and clearly understand the transitioning pace. Moreover, organizations can adjust their strategies (if necessary) and avoid getting overburdened with deadlines.

Enterprises should keep the larger picture at the center while shifting to a digital-native ecosystem rather than celebrating short-term gains and wins.

Ignoring In-house Staff Training

One of the digital transformation mistakes that SMBs often commit is falsely assuming that their workforces are already tech-savvy. However, that is not the case every time, particularly regarding new corporate-grade VDI solutions built to scale and might not be easy to use. An underskilled workforce poses a significant long-term risk.

The C-suite often believes that a quick demo or intro of the technology will do the trick, following which employees will learn it themselves. No matter how skilled employees are, the senior management must keep them and their handling of digital solutions on the watch.

As employees are already versed with the traditional platforms, they will likely resist the foreseeable digital transformation. Hence, SMBs must invest in well-structured training programs laden with quality documentation to instill confidence in their employees to work on business applications.

Not Bringing Employees Onboard for Digital Transformation

Any SMB is about the stakeholders who contribute to overall growth, the most critical being the employees. They will feel insecure and intimidated due to tectonic changes to their work environments. As such, before diving into the ocean of new-age technologies, it is crucial that these stakeholders can swim. The success of the entire transformation rests upon employees’ involvement in digitalization.

This is where chief executive officers (CEO) play a pivotal role. First, they must demonstrate to employees the digital tool and its benefits, and be approachable. For instance, if the reason driving the transition is slumping revenue, CEOs must convey the same. Then, they should explain to employees that digital transformation can equate to higher payscale and better career opportunities.

Also, CEOs can single out early adopters who can help their co-workers with using the tool and boost their morale.

While all businesses create a sound strategy, most do not pass it down. Employees are more likely to hop on the transformation ride when they know not only the logistics involved but the “why” behind the move. They need to cultivate a sense of purpose to build loyalty and enthusiasm for the cause.

Communication and transparency are paramount when it comes to triggering digital transformation across the board. Otherwise, employees cannot fully leverage the technology and transition smoothly.

Considering Digital Transition a One-off Event

Often, SMBs assume that digital transformation is a one-time setup, results of which will persist for ages. Digital evolution is a never-ending procedure as some new innovator surfaces every other week (or month).

Business leaders fall into the mental trap of believing that their job of digitally transmuting their organizations is done. Such thinking can make them lax and miss out on effective methods that could considerably benefit their enterprises.

Digital transformation is never a destination, as per general belief. It is a dynamic process where SMBs are constantly on their toes to encounter the challenges of the fast-evolving market conditions.

The purpose here is to become a flexible business that can keep pace with changes rapidly and is ready to embrace (appropriate) technologies as soon as they emerge without any resistance.

Planning for Digital Transformation too Far in Advance

Going digital is more about doing than planning. SMBs can get involved in endless loops of analysis paralysis, which hinders the transformation initiative. Excessive planning for the digital transition initiative can increase the odds of inaccurate assumptions or the inability to predict future needs.

To tackle this, SMBs should institutionalize lean startup mindset at every corporate rung. Lean startup mindset prefers experimentation to a top-down strategy. This approach rapidly and iteratively builds an innovation to become a minimum viable product (MVP) that businesses release to customers. Then, they refine the innovation based on customer feedback.

Not Offering Internal Operations the Automation Touch

No matter how far SMBs go to integrate prominent technologies, including the Internet of Things (IoT) or AI, they cannot achieve desired outcomes until they automatize the processes within the firm.

Digital transformation starts from the inside, automating how teams collaborate and organizations move away from legacy business models. Introducing a customer relationship management (CRM) platform, for instance, is one of the best ways to streamline internal corporate operations.

CRM software logs all the internal tasks, builds logic networks, and decodes customer-related data earlier stored in spreadsheets. If executed properly, CRM platforms can help automatize several routine and crucial tasks.

While rolling out CRM software, determining the most suitable feature set is pivotal. Most SMBs do not leverage the complete feature sets and only introduce tools based on recommendations by competitors’ business developers. However, blending a CRM with automation tools can help save money than purchasing a product companies will not fully utilize.

Paying No Heed to KPIs

If SMB owners do not have pre-defined relevant metrics to quantify their results, they cannot measure the growth. This could sabotage the whole digital transformation journey.

As the shift to digital is an enterprise-wide application, businesses must define KPIs that will consider all organizational aspects. Case in point:

  • Digitizing operations KPIs: Measure business sustainability, time saved in completing manual processes, and employee productivity
  • IT uplift KPIs: Measure reduced costs, new solutions, and the revenue of tools
  • Digital marketing metrics: Measure user lifetime value, the number of leads generated, return on marketing, and client acquisition
  • New ventures KPIs: Measure new launches and access to markets

Getting Digital Transformation Right

Over the past few years, SMBs across continents have accelerated their shift to digital. However, a venture as colossal as digital transition will never be a straightforward path. In addition, the chances of facing multiple barriers to success will be high.

Businesses have to dodge a slew of mistakes and sloppy waters while focusing sharply on the end goal. That said, they can either succumb to cutthroat market competition due to subsequent fears or embrace these challenges and collectively find solutions to script a success story.

By getting the basics right and implementing a crystal-clear roadmap tailored to business needs, SMBs can reap the benefits of digital transformation.


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