by Sascha Rech
There have been Workplace as a Service models on the market for many years and are being used by a large number of our customers in a range of different formats. In the past, however, these formats were very rigid operating models in much the same as the choice of devices for our customers’ workstations was. Apart from one or two modifications to standard equipment or adjustments to the standard software portfolio, there were hardly any changes over the entire term of the contract.
Requirements, however, have changed considerably. The vast majority of business processes are now based on cloud services such as Microsoft Teams and the workplace of today is so much more than just the latest cool device. Employees are becoming the centre of attention.
Where once mobile working was a way of reeling in new staff, since last spring, we can no longer imagine being without it. Even more conservative companies made it possible to work remotely in the shortest possible time. Unfortunately, that was often to the detriment of the IT department as elementary components such as security and service concepts were simply forgotten about. We shouldn’t underestimate the gaps in security that have been created and are already causing some businesses some issues.
Back at the beginning of 2020, nobody could have imagined how quickly some technology would be introduced, and for us at Bechtle, that meant making our services much more dynamic and viewing them holistically. High levels of standardisation continue to be important, but we have also discovered that we have to be ready to react more flexibly to the various needs of our customers.
In many companies, it isn’t possible to swap devices on-site, which means that we have to provide our services with as little contact as possible. To do so, we leverage several options that cover everything from the installation and provisioning of new devices to a contactless SWAP service. Vendor technologies such as Microsoft Autopilot or Endpoint Manager play right into our hands, but innovative logistics concepts also have an important role to play. Self-service is also something that is becoming increasingly popular among our customers.
On top of all this, focus is shifting towards cost transparency. With the specialists at Bechtle Finance, we can react flexibly to the needs of our customers—something which I find particularly important as the requirements for how long a device is used for have also changed. They tend to be used for much shorter periods of time and we already have some customers who are thinking about device pools for different classes of device. This means the users can decide if they would prefer to have a lightweight portable device this week or something else. The possibilities are endless and it’s important to work together with the customer to find the right model for them.
Just as we rely on some cloud-based technologies from our vendor partners, a corresponding foundation must of course first be created with our customers. As soon as we migrate business processes into the cloud, specific dependencies have to be analysed and any upgrades carried out. It’s crucial to offer our customers support from an early stage to guide them in the right direction. We set great store in a holistic approach that takes into account the technology, business and—most important of all—the people, which is why it is essential to always be on hand to offer advice throughout the entire WaaS concept.
We are by our customers’ sides the whole time, adapting our services to their needs as required. This is the only way to tread the fine line between technological progress and increased productivity in businesses, and this is exactly the point where security takes on a whole new role.
As soon as I centralise data and give my employees mobile access to it, I open the door to an increased number of potential attacks, which is why it is important to develop a coherent security concept right from the start. But that’s only the beginning. Users’ needs have to be analysed regularly and the concept adjusted accordingly as required. to ensure security continuity.
Last but not least, we get training specialists involved in the process. This is because we often find that companies have rather neglected the topic in the past, but the market has developed enormously and things have moved on from lectures to 15 students. Our specialists channel their expertise and experience to create a perfect training concept for the customer.
But training by itself isn’t enough. A smooth transition is essential to achieve user acceptance of the new services and technologies.
Because one thing’s for sure. No matter how quickly technologies develop and how good we are at integrating them into our service concepts, at the end of the day, they are being used by people. These concepts can only be considered to be a success if they are accepted.