The final blog in our 4 part Connected IT Insights series.
If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that work is not a place you go — it’s something that you do from anywhere. This looks unlikely to change anytime soon. Our customers will have more employees than ever before permanently working in a remote or hybrid capacity. This has profound implications for teams and what IT can do to empower them.
When stay-at-home orders rolled out around the globe last year, the world shifted almost overnight to remote work, remote learning, even remote social interactions. Video usage soared, with video minutes of use jumping by 40% from January to April of 2020 and holding steady at 20% to 40% higher throughout the year. There was a greater reliance on digital experiences that keep the business running. The barriers that normally separate people and team members in the workplace — geography, time zones, language, location, and culture — broke down. Differences in workstyle — frontline, remote, office, hybrid — dissolved.
IT Ops found themselves facing multiple new challenges. They had to ensure there was enough VPN capacity and secure access to productivity applications such as video conferencing and collaboration with no degradation in experience. And they had to do this while relying more heavily on areas they lacked visibility into. These blind spots included home networks, which IT Ops did not traditionally cover in expansive detail or at scale; and the Internet and cloud networks, which overnight became an extension of the enterprise core, but were not under the organization’s control.
So what can you do to support hybrid work models that require seamless, frictionless, and inclusive work experiences on any device, from anywhere, at anytime, and at scale? What can you do to empower your teams? It starts with greater visibility — seeing more so you can solve more. That means getting a better understanding of the interactions and interdependencies across the entire application experience. With greater visibility, you can gain insights into the patterns and requirements of the remote, or hybrid, workforce by industry and job role.
For example, we found that, while there was an overall increase in remote work traffic, there was large variability in remote work adoption by different industry verticals. Case in point, Professional Services teleworker traffic as a ratio of total routing traffic was 5 times higher than that of the Government vertical. For IT teams within particular sectors, having insight into these industry variations — which in turn depend upon numerous government regulations and policies — is invaluable. It’s the only way they can cater to the needs of their stakeholders, providing them with correct, secure environments in order to accomplish the needed business continuity and resiliency in these challenging times.
As stay-at-home orders ease up, we’re seeing more people returning to work. But as organizations start preparing for a post-pandemic world, one thing is clear: There’s no going back to the way things were pre-COVID-19. According to Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report, 2020, 37% of respondents claimed that more than half of their workforce want to continue working from home post-pandemic, compared to only 19% before the disease took the world by storm. This sentiment is remarkably consistent across different organizations, be they small, medium, or large.
Hybrid work environments with a mix of employees working from home and on campus will become the new normal. And IT teams will have to adjust to a new normal of their own. They’ll have to maintain a secure and seamless experience for business continuity and resiliency. They’ll need to have visibility and insights into remote work patterns and on-campus environments to inclusively connect, secure, and automate remote enterprise traffic while ensuring a safe on-campus workspace for employees returning to work.
Learn more about Cisco Connected IT Insights.