Collaboration, innovation, and flexibility are the frameworks of effective IT infrastructure solutions, and the roles and responsibilities of IT staff must continually adapt to support end users in a digital workplace. Though, as with any technological advancements, people often worry about job losses. So how can you prepare your IT department—and your employees—for the must-needed changes ahead?
From Hard Copies to Digital Solutions
Consider the evolution of the healthcare industry over the past 30 years. Rooms full of records in filing cabinets have been replaced by digital copies and record management specialists to ensure medical documents are stored in compliance with record retention and legal requirements. Constant contact and collaboration with nurses, doctors, specialists and other health care professionals is actively supported through IT infrastructure solutions, such as remote and on-site access to the intranet and internet. As health care continues to use and adopt digital workplace solutions, Roeen Roashan, IHS, Senior Analyst for Digital Health, states that the future of medical technology could include, “implantable devices, digestible technologies, 3-D printing, genomics, and drones.”
However, people will always be needed, albeit in a different capacity than what they may be used to today.
The corporate world is experiencing similar changes. Remote locations are possible because we no longer require mainframe servers and IT infrastructure services on-site. Many have migrated to cloud infrastructure, and this change has made sustaining a steady, reliable internet connection seem like a main responsibility of IT departments.
However, more technology in the workplace bring complex challenges that expand beyond physical office locations. Cellular phones, tablets, and laptops are being used to keep individuals and teams connected in different cities and countries. In today’s digital workplace, IT is becoming more strategic.
Creating a Plan
Companies need to provide standardized, integrated technology solutions for their employees to use on multiple platforms. A full review of the operational and strategic goals along with the current technology in the workplace will help your company move forward with a new focus. Conducting this review may seem like an overwhelming task; however, by working with a digital solutions partner, you will be able to:
- Outline your end user and client’s requirements
- Research the available digital workplace and infrastructure solutions
- Consider your company’s financial position
- Address your IT department’s capacity and current capabilities
- Develop a customized plan using various suppliers
Going forward, policies will be developed for applications your company will support to ensure end users can communicate over various platforms. Hardware support guidelines will also be established, as well as remote troubleshooting, streamlined security, and possibly aligning with pre-certified repair centres for hardware issues.
Training Your IT Department
There are external IT providers, but who knows and cares about your company more than your own staff? Training your IT staff will involve support through implementation, end user training, issue resolution, and upgrades. This ongoing support must include IT staff and partnering agencies to research new technologies and applications. An extensive training plan is a big commitment, but it will enable your IT department to effectively support your employees and to contribute at a higher level to the enterprise. This may be the time they can work on more complex issues that affect your company’s bottom line.
Deloitte states policy training and technical training are critical in developing logical, viable solutions that work for end users and protect your company. Employees will be focused on productivity, flexibility, and ease of use, while IT is focused on security and budget allocation.
End-user training will be required regularly, and communication with the IT department will need to be encouraged. The rate of release of new technologies is staggering, and oftentimes end users will find applications on their own that are not sanctioned by your organization. Clearly deliver the message to end users that they must understand the need to run applications through IT for vetting, or to help develop a better internal solution.
IT Will Shift, Not Disappear, As More Technology Is Introduced In the Workplace
Forrester states that technology spending is rising. Emerging technologies are creating advancements in speed and quality. IT staff are not losing their jobs to the new digital workplace; they are facilitating a bridge of communication and support between technology and business. “Talent is available, but you will have to think creatively about how to engage, nurture, and retain it.” writes Matthew Guarnini, Vice President, Research Director at Forrester in the Predictions 2018 article. IT departments will take the lead in developing these strategies and ensuring end users have the tools they need to succeed. Make sure yours can.