Digital Workplace Trends for 2021
Sivakumar Ramamurthy, Chief Executive Officer and Deputy Managing Director, Anunta Technologies
The COVID-19 pandemic forced enterprises around the globe to close their physical offices and rapidly shift to a virtual work environment. Remote working, which started as a temporary solution after the pandemic onset, soon became a permanent arrangement for most businesses. Ensuring business continuity, retaining relationships with customers, and helping the workforce remain productive were among the top business priorities.
As a result, the demand for cloud-based workplace technologies increased significantly to address the immediate needs of businesses. A key cloud-based technology that emerged as an optimal solution was Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS). Not only did DaaS provide a vital tool for employees suddenly thrust into working from home, but it also has provided a long-term solution for many businesses across a myriad of industry verticals.
While DaaS had been growing as a sustainable and scalable technology for workplace transformation, the pandemic accelerated it. According to Gartner’s Market Guide for Desktop as a Service 2021, the DaaS market is forecasted to continue growing by 253% between 2021 and 2024. In addition, the Market Guide identified Anunta as a Representative Vendor in the Managed DaaS and Vendor-Defined DaaS market segments.
As 2021 winds down, there are several key trends that have driven workplace transformation to date and that will continue to shape the workplace of tomorrow.
The Future is Scalable and Flexible
Traditional on-premises IT provides limited scalability and flexibility. When additional compute requirements are identified, the lengthy processes associated with obtaining people, hardware, and software are initiated. All that takes time, and these delays negatively impact business agility.
Prior to the pandemic, many organizations were testing and beginning to deploy cloud solutions, and these efforts were quickly accelerated based on the immediate need to support secure remote access. As a result, DaaS solutions quickly progressed into full production.
In addition to secure remote access, enterprises realized some immediate benefits, including scalability and flexibility. If the number of workers and/or computing requirements increased or decreased, cloud-based virtual desktops could quickly be adjusted to adapt to today’s requirements, as well as maintain readiness for tomorrow.
From a financial standpoint, DaaS enables businesses to reduce their total cost of ownership as it shifts the dependence on heavy capital infrastructure to a pay-as-you-go model while enhancing scalability. At the same time, ensuring an optimal end user experience and productivity is paramount; DaaS can ensure consistent access to enterprise applications and data from anywhere in the world.
Security has always been a challenge for IT departments. Prior to COVID-19, remote access in many organizations was limited due to security concerns. When the pandemic struck, employees began working from home for their health safety, and secure remote access transformed from a want to a need.
Rather than developing in-house solutions for remote access, the virtual desktop presented itself as the optimal solution. In addition to supplying cloud-based resources to users, security was built into DaaS services. The DaaS provider maintains the security posture with a highly focused technical team. This pool of experts would certainly be unattainable for a small business and even for most medium-sized enterprises.
Going forward, cyberthreats will continue to escalate, and DaaS security experts can collectively address malicious activities both proactively and reactively.
Digital Dexterity Takes Centerstage
Ease of use is a key element of the success of DaaS, both from the user and administrator perspective. If users find a technology to be cumbersome, they will refuse to use it, and it will ultimately fail. DaaS is extremely easy for users: login, access virtual desktop, and start working. So simple!
The administration requirements of DaaS are largely focused on business requirements, not technical aspects. These requirements include assigning users, designating system resources, and determining the application requirements. As a result, technical requirements are minimal, enabling enterprises to focus on business growth.
DaaS services appeal to small- and medium-sized businesses because these organizations are less likely to have the in-house technical staff and resources necessary to advance digital strategies. Rather than have employees resorting to outdated tools and systems to solve novel issues, DaaS enables the right technology at the right time. Enterprises cannot compete in this digital era by working the old-fashioned way!
Adjusting for the On-Demand Workforce
Circumstances have made it such that technology that supports remote workers is a necessity for almost all organizations. But sometimes those workers are not local or permanent. Fortunately, technologies like DaaS allow businesses to sustain a remote, distributed workforce that goes beyond the confines of a traditional office environment.
With virtualization technologies, companies can hire the right employees and assemble talented teams in a matter of days. These employees can immediately become productive as a result of quickly provisioned cloud-based resources that host key applications and collaborative tools. Virtual desktops cleanly address these requirements because from the user standpoint, any common device can be used as the user endpoint for secure access. Gone are the days of provisioning a new user computer and many hours of setup associated with that physical device. Instead, the resources necessary to support an on-demand workforce can be deployed within minutes or hours instead of weeks or months.
A New Normal Work – Beyond Physical Boundaries
Based on lessons learned from the pandemic, enterprises have realized many cost and cultural benefits, and as a result, a new normal has been defined. Remote working has become one of the top digital trends in workplaces all over the world, and the extent to which this has been embraced by both organizations, and employees seems irrevocable. Enterprises now realize that they are no longer limited to job candidates that live near the office but can instead attract a vast number of employees that were previously attainable—all because of a secure remote access workspace. Virtual desktops have become part of the Human Resources win-win.
While some businesses have adopted a 100% remote work environment, many others have determined that a hybrid working model is optimal. Whether hybrid is defined as all employees working from home some of the time, some employees working from home all the time, or something in between, virtualization technologies enable businesses to support secure yet easy remote access for workers.
Many businesses adopted virtual desktops during the pandemic as a stop-gap measure and then discovered that cloud desktops subsequently fulfilled technical and business solutions. In addition to providing flexibility and scalability, virtual desktops enable secure remote access and address digital dexterity strategies.
In our post-pandemic society, many businesses continue to transition to a virtual desktop model , enabling employees to connect to virtual desktops from anywhere in the world in a hybrid or fully remote work environment. Adopting digital technologies improves the bottom line and provides a winning strategy for enterprises.
Read the original coverage on https://www.cxooutlook.com/digital-workplace-trends-for-2021/