With today’s uncertain economic climate looming, and as reprioritised budgets and overburdened resources continue to be the norm, IT decision makers must determine the right set of goals and objectives to maximise their technology investment, grow the business, and streamline everyday workflows for greater business efficiency.
This is an exclusive fireside chat conducted by Khushbu Soni, Host, Chief Editor of CIO News with John Praveen, VP of Technical Support as a Service at Foundever, formerly known as Sitel Group and Olga Lagunova, Chief Technology Officer at GoTo.
As more routine business tasks become digital, having seamless consolidated and coordinated IT infrastructure is critical for enterprise success. Here’s what experts say.
Need for IT consolidation for businesses globally
The pandemic was a litmus test for workplaces and the shift to remote and hybrid work model has forever changed the way companies hire employees, train people, manage the workforce remotely, allow employees to work flexibly, and manage their performance. This accelerated pace of digitalisation has also resulted in in challenges such as minimising downtime in a WFH scenario, managing large volumes of data and ensuring its security, hiring scenarios in the WFH environment, and providing employees safe connectivity through Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDIs).
“To overcome these challenges, most businesses today are turning to IT as a potential game-changer. The usage of remote monitoring tools has increased because of the increased reliance on cloud-based solutions” said John Praveen, VP of Technical Support as a Service at Foundever (formerly known as Sitel Group).
“GoTo is a global provider of SaaS and cloud-based remote work tools for IT management and collaboration. In the post-pandemic world, we see that hybrid work environments are a reality for many businesses. So, keeping a dispersed workforce not only engaged and connected but also catering to their everyday needs to increase their productivity is a major challenge for business leaders, and IT plays a key role in streamlining these operations” said Olga Lagunova, Chief Technology Officer at GoTo.
Lagunova continues, “Creating a robust digital workplace and excellent experience for employees requires more work from IT teams and creates added pressure on them to operate, secure, and support applications, networks, employees, and customers in a much more complex environment.”
Tools and technologies leveraged by Foundever to overcome the challenges:
For Foundever, there are a number of technologies that have been utilised to manage the workforce and facilitate hiring. In some cases, they use video conferencing tools for hiring purposes, but there are also specialised recruitment tools included. The company has numerous tools for project management, as well as a myriad of applications that include:
- VPNs to ensure that remote workers are securely accessing the company’s resources
- Cloud storage
- Communication and collaboration tools
- Employee monitoring tools for productive work
- Cyber-security software like firewalls and anti-virus, among others
- Mobile device management
Challenges Foundever and GoTo are resolving in IT management and support:
Operating a myriad of tools and applications comes with a set of challenges including duplication of data, difficulty in integrating with third-party IT tools, and more. It not only affects the employees working across various locations in a remote/hybrid environment, but also the customers they serve. Which is why investing in the right IT tools has become a key area of focus.
The burden on IT teams keeps increasing with the surge in cloud-based digital tool adoption and catering to employees so they can seamlessly connect, communicate, and perform their value-added tasks on a daily basis. The burden intensifies as IT leaders must also minimise budget expenditure while maximising ROI on technology spending. However, the right provider can provide them with the tools and resources to build a flexible, resilient IT infrastructure for their digital workplace.
Foundever helps customers achieve that by:
- Mitigating security concerns as employees access networks and resources outside the office
- Preventing cyberattacks, which are on the rise in the remote work environment
- Working to improve workflows and productivity in everyday business operations
- Ensuring employees have the right resources and access to prevent outages for customers
GoTo helps customers achieve that by:
- Enabling the workforce to be efficient and productive, regardless of their location
- Consolidating and simplifying IT management and support in a single pane of glass to significantly help cut down costs
- Utilizing AI to streamline manual tasks, including automating scripting and deployment across devices
- Simplifying experiences for customers and user experiences for technicians and IT teams in a single pane of glass
While talking about IT consolidation plans in the company, Praveen said, “We follow standardisation, consolidation, and automation, which is a typical approach followed by most CIOs and organisations. But large organisations that acquire other businesses have different technologies in place for the same process.”
Best practices for CIOs and tech leaders
A Chief Information Officer (CIO) is the executive usually responsible for managing IT staff, IT resources, and data assets. They are the key decision makers in all IT consolidation initiatives, serve as a link between IT and other departments across the organisation, and ensure the business model and IT support model are aligned.
“It is important that the modern IT tools fit into the existing business ecosystem. It is important to choose a tool that offers out-of-the-box integrations and APIs to match the solutions that are already in your tech stack and infrastructure.” said Praveen who advises to always look for solutions that work simply and effectively and allow your teams to access other tools without wasting time.
“In order to ensure maximum ROI on technology costs, IT leaders must choose the right technology vendor that is focused on delivering customer excellence and customer success. Someone whom IT decision makers can trust, who will grow with the customer, and who can provide flexible, easy-to-use IT tools meant to make business functionality faster and smoother,” advised Lagunova. “This means IT decision makers must always stay a step ahead and invest in solutions that can scale up and down to meet the changing customer demands and dynamic market conditions.”
Success as IT leaders
Today, the new imperative for IT is to redefine how businesses view IT investment and success. Historically, IT has been perceived as a support function with limited impact on critical business operations. However, with the growing number of workplaces choosing to adopt hybrid/remote working today, IT wields a substantial influence on the growth trajectory of a business.
“When it comes to IT support agents, there aren’t enough hours in the day to accomplish everything. From fixing every employee’s technical issues to ensuring IT system are always up and running smoothly, they are burdened with managing all this in a complex environment. To enable IT teams to become efficient, a critical measure of success is to embrace tools that provide comprehensive reporting and analyse capabilities across all aspects of IT. Additionally, IT leaders must start managing traditional metrics such as SLAs, outages, and response time during outages, among other factors to get a complete view of how efficient their IT management is,” said Lagunova.
“For a third-party service organisation, revenue is a key part of the success criteria. In today’s world, anything can go wrong, so it is important to be compliant with all audits. Also, system availability and reliability, security, and risk management are very important,” said Praveen.
Future of IT Consolidation
With record-high inflation and businesses facing pressure to increase employee productivity to do more with less, it’s ultimately not about spending more, but about investing smarter. Investments will be focused on solutions that provide more functionality with fewer overhead costs. Firstly, as new-age technologies like generative AI gain more prevalence and business operations shift from a process-oriented approach to value-driven operating models, IT expertise will become vital to take advantage of these opportunities.
Automation resulting from the integration of generative AI is already a big part of businesses and is expected to get even bigger. So, embracing digitalisation will mean a 360 degree scale up in all aspects of business operations to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
Secondly, workplace cultures will need to be adaptable to changing customer and employee needs through effective communication and a flexible approach. IT staff should figure out how to function independently across offices and employee locations as the new hybrid/remote workplace draws in various work processes to cater to multiple scenarios and combinations. Key IT metrics like high uptime, continuous availability of application resources and data, backup, and disaster recovery, remain as important today as they did in a traditional physical IT setup.
Furthermore, IT service models must evolve to accommodate the growing amount of business data stored in the cloud. The right set of tools and a trusted technology partner will be key to making this possible as they can provide analytics insights from a wide variety of sources, which will have an impact on higher-level decisions regarding consolidation.
Overall, IT consolidation can help organisations optimise their IT environment, minimise costs, enhance efficiency, and strengthen their security. However, it is vital for them to carefully design and execute their IT consolidation initiatives to minimise disruption to their existing operations and ensure a profitable outcome.
To excel in today’s highly competitive environment, a single pane of glass is the focal point. Businesses must embrace all-in-one IT that combines the power of cloud-based transformation with a seamless IT experience. This way, the hassle and expense of managing multiple solutions is significantly lessened. Businesses cannot thrive by operating on outdated IT tools and the winning way forward is to embrace game-changing technology that will empower them to do more with less and pave their way for long-term success.
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