IT Solutions - Oct 20, 2020

Building a Modern Workplace – modern, flexible, future-proof.

Business are facing a raft of challenges: Developing new business models, the complexity of the modern world of work, time-intensive admin and trying to position themselves as a more attractive employer to name but a few. Is it possible to simplify or even automate these processes? How can business areas be developed to be fit for the future without eating up a large amount of time and money? Bechtle and Microsoft’s modular system is the answer. I have asked our Modern Workplace expert Jens Bonnet what this looks like in practice.

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Which challenges are companies having to grapple with today?

Jens Bonnet: Mobile and remote working have become the norm and this isn’t going to change in the future. Being able to work flexibly has become a decisive factor when choosing a new job and this all means companies are having to rethink their entire IT infrastructures so that employees can always access the tools they need. To make this happen, processes need to completely redefined. How can companies guarantee that their employees continue to get the information they need, when they need it no matter where they are? Are specific hardware and software needed?

These are questions each company needs to answer for themselves, but companies have to be careful to include their employees in the process. Some have difficulties getting to grips with a new, more modern way of working, which is why they need to be prepared for the change and trained on how to use the new technology. Even small changes require a readiness and willingness to accept. How and where should documents on customers and projects be stored? What about the cloud and two-factor authentication? How do I dial in to a meeting when I’m on the road and how does this new conference system work? All of these questions need to be answered in detail because only when people are prepared for what’s ahead can a change to modern working be successful. One way to provide constant support is to provide explanatory videos that can be shared across different platforms and accessed at any time.

Are there certain apps and tools that can tackle these points?

Bonnet: Collaboration platforms are the foundations—the new centralised infrastructure, so to speak. But first you need the right end devices and these are ones that allow me to do my work to the best of my ability, support my creativity and enable me to work from anywhere.

In my opinion, Microsoft Teams is a complete communications platform. I can call, chat, hold video conferences and can therefore easily keep in touch with my team.

In my opinion, Microsoft Teams is a complete communications platform. I can call, chat, hold video conferences and can therefore easily keep in touch with my team. SharePoint and OneDrive are also useful and, via Teams, content from both tools are presented in a dashboard so they can quickly and easily be used. Even data used by apps such as OneNote, Planner, Whiteboard and from other vendors can be integrated into Teams, meaning documents can be accessed at anytime from anywhere, making it much easier to collaborate on them. Microsoft Teams’ channels and calendar integration make it unique and everything is cleverly brought together in one app.

Can all of these applications be combined to create a holistic solution?

Bonnet: End devices and the Microsoft collaboration platforms are rounded off with Bechtle services. So, for example, we’ve developed the Bechtle SMART Workplace, which we can use to run the collaboration platform ourselves and also manage end devices. It includes modern tools such as Autopilot and endpoint management as well as software and hardware provisioning. These services are available throughout Europe, which is helpful when tapping into new markets and means that customers no longer have to worry about handling cloud infrastructures and end devices themselves. Broken notebook? Not a problem. We can quickly provide a replacement or repairs to ensure employees can carry on working.

How does that work exactly and how does the system benefit customers compared to individual solutions?

Bonnet: Having one contact person is beneficial because it’s always clear who should be contacted if there’s a problem. If a vendor bundles hardware and software then this is a great advantage for customers, because potential compatibility issues are reduced, particularly if tailored services are included.

Together, Bechtle and Microsoft have developed a comprehensive solution that’s fit for the future. The versatile Surface devices are perfect for a variety of uses. A flexible tablet or a powerful PC, they can be quickly and easily transformed to suit your needs, and, when used with Microsoft Office 365 and cloud components, these modern devices allow a whole new level of collaboration. With the additional Bechtle services, complexity is kept to a minimum and the focus is firmly on keeping your employees working. This not only saves time and money, but the system provides comprehensive security and significantly boosts efficiency.

Can you give us a glimpse of the future? How is the workplace going to change?

Bonnet: I expect the workplace will change dramatically. Working from home is fantastic, but it’s also important to create a workplace that employees enjoy going to. Not everyone has their own office at home where they can work without being disturbed and communicating with colleagues is crucial for motivation and well-being.

I can see the workplace changing in such a way that fixed places of work will largely become a thing of the past. Instead, we will be more project-driven—one day we’ll be working alone, the next in a team and the next from a café. I don’t have a filing cabinet anymore because everything is saved in the cloud and I can access my projects from anywhere. It makes sense to think about whether it’s necessary to have a large number of fixed workplaces, if the space could be better used for something else and whether shared desks are more appropriate.

Mobile working is here to stay. A certain infrastructure is needed to act as a platform where everything can be collected together and be accessible at any time. Even the end devices I use have to adapt to my requirements and Microsoft Surface products do that really well. You can write and draw directly on the display and they can be used as a Convertible one minute and notebook with keyboard the next. The device adapts perfectly to my situation, depending on where I am and how I want to work and this is how I see things panning out in the future. The collaboration between hardware and software from a single source is perfect, especially with Bechtle services on top.

Workplaces have already changed and will continue to do so in the future, but for those who find it difficult to imagine the future of work have the opportunity to visit the Bechtle Digital Workplaces—showrooms where the latest technologies are all in use. Using our demo company Metalomat, we can demonstrate tried and tested solutions to bring the Modern Workplace to life.

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This post was published on Oct 20, 2020.