The COVID-19 pandemic has massively affected our lives, forcing many people to work at home rather than going into the office. While many recent technology trends facilitate multi-location working, what happened in practice when a near instant, large-scale change was required?
To understand the impact of COVID on businesses, we surveyed a group of senior IT professionals in UK businesses, typically with 250 to 2,500 users, across a wide range of sectors. We asked them to tell us about the changes they've seen, the tools they're using, and what they see in the future as we move on from the unprecedented changes of the last 18 months.
There was an almost overnight change from office to home working for most businesses in March 2020. To find out the effect, we asked our IT professionals how satisfied they are with the way they deploy, manage and support home workers' IT.
It’s fair to say that UK IT teams stepped up to the task, and most of our respondents were fairly or very satisfied with what they've put in place. However, 70% saw significant or some room for improvement.
We asked more detailed questions to find out about the technologies and tools being used and considered, and got some interesting insights. We found that usage of three Microsoft productivity tools – Teams, OneDrive, and SharePoint – was high and rising. On the other hand, usage of Microsoft’s management tools was more varied – with low usage, in particular, of Windows-as-a-Service (automatic updates) and Windows Autopilot (zero-touch deployment).
In our survey, four in five of our respondents said they see flexible and home working as becoming a permanent state of affairs. Anecdotally, we know that a hybrid office/home split is often preferred, and likely to become standard for many organisations, with businesses moving to a 3:2 or 2:3 weekly split.
This shift to hybrid working has implications for the 70% of respondents with shortcomings in how they support and manage home workers. IT providers are now offering more services to address their issues, and our survey also showed a trend towards using external service providers, to help deal with the complexities of managing and supporting home workers.
In particular, there was substantial increased interest in using cloud or external services for telephony and security. There was also a lower, but significant, interest in using cloud or external services to deliver and support workspace computing, as well as for backup/DR and data centre provision and management.
While there’s no single right answer to dealing with the impact of COVID on IT, businesses seem to recognise they have work to do. Our survey suggests you should review how you deploy, manage and support IT to hybrid users. It is also worth asking if you can beneficially make use of cloud or external service providers in some areas.
You can download a copy of the survey report if you’d like to see more detail – it typically takes less than 10 minutes to read. And to find out more about how Total can help you make the required changes, contact us.