Digital strategy – an important tenet in the hybrid work model

Vinod Nair
Managing Director
Softline India

With the growing popularity of hybrid workplace models, digital transformation has gained momentum across small and medium businesses (SMBs). As revealed by a survey conducted by rating agency CRISIL, over 40% of SMBs relied on digital technologies to operate during the COVID-19 crisis.1 Initially, embracing new technologies was ad hoc in nature. But as the pandemic pushed SMBs to operate in a hybrid workplace, it has imperative for them to devise and implement digital transformation strategies that can support the fast-emerging hybrid work structure.

Digitally empowered hybrid workplace – the new normal

For SMBs, being digitally empowered to support their hybrid work culture is no longer a choice but a necessity, as they now need to work amid COVID restrictions.

Now, talent is being recruited virtually, customers are being onboarded remotely, and teams are required to connect and collaborate, anytime from anywhere. To put it in a nutshell, today’s workplace is virtual, and functions on-the-go with remote access. It is more like an omnichannel structure that allows employees to connect from any location, securely and easily, through different means, such as video calling, chat, and cloud telephony.

This also means shifting legacy infrastructure and on-premises technology to the cloud, thereby paving the way for businesses to become agile so that they can support a remote, flexible workforce. Further, the customizable nature of digital technologies allows SMBs to adapt to an evolving environment easily.

Building a hybrid workplace by leveraging digital practices

A hybrid workplace does not mean hybrid IT: To build a true hybrid workplace, SMBs need to ensure that their employees must have access to all essential equipment and systems required to get their job done, no matter whether they are in the office or at home. A true hybrid workplace paves way for every employee to collaborate and communicate on an equal footing. In this work culture, IT is an important enabler that puts in place all the tools that ensure better collaboration. For example, Windows Virtual Desktop and MS RDS – virtualization & VDI. This is essential to implement a work-from-anywhere system that allows all employees to work efficiently.

Sync between synchronous and asynchronous workflows: Since employee requirements and preferences change and the work environment keeps transforming, organizations should ensure workplace collaboration around their asynchronous, as well as synchronous workflows.

With the hybrid work environment, asynchronous workflows are likely to rise and the collaborative environment of SMBs should not only address but also ease the shift. In such cases, various communication tools like Microsoft TEAMS can assist everyone in getting involved and being able to collaborate and contribute, irrespective of their locations.

Ensuring cybersecurity: For SMBs, cybersecurity is a mission-critical matter. Remote working increases the risk of undermining the security and privacy of data and information. Therefore, real-time threat detection and the prevention of endpoint data loss is an important security feature for a hybrid team. Besides, SMBs should provide all employees with a trustworthy VPN service to ensure the protection of all important data.