The traditional office desktop environment is fast becoming a thing of the past as organisations adapt to the need for more flexible, mobile and collaborative styles of working, in the name of happier staff. 

First, there was the sudden influx of mobile devices as smartphone usage became ubiquitous. And more recently, the growing popularity and ease of use of cloud-based digital platforms and apps have further disrupted how people work and communicate.

Users today expect to be able to connect and collaborate with each other from any location and any device, via any application or platform. In other words, not having to behave any differently compared to sitting at their office desk.

The consistent user experience

If that sounds easier said than done, it is. Especially if you’re trying to manage several other business priorities at the same time.

But now the genie’s well and truly out of the bottle, creating a consistent user experience is now one of your top organisational priorities.

This means accepting the need for processes and systems that mimic the simplicity and ease-of-use of social media platforms. Staff need to know they can access, share and work together on any sort of company content, regardless of where they are and via what device.

Achieving this presents a number of technical, business and cultural challenges.

And you need to know that allowing them to do so in no way compromises your data security, compliance or other obligations that might incur fines, or worse, reputational damage and real financial loss.

The disconnect between expectations and reality is most apparent when it comes to end user support. Most traditional support packages are built around the corporate device and not the user. This in itself presents difficulties when a user is looking for support on a personal device or needs help when they are not connected to the corporate network. A pay per user support model, like Desktop-as-a-Service supports any user, working in any location, on any device enrolled in a corporate mobile device management program.

Desktop-as-a-service, or DaaS, provides round the clock support to help staff to feel more connected, engaged, valued and generally happier. This includes the simple, but annoying things like being locked out of their device on a Sunday night when they are trying to finish a report or being unable to connect while delayed at the airport. Its power lies in the ability to give users a consistent experience across devices, systems, platforms and locations.

This has become increasingly important as organisations come to view their workforce as more dynamic and complex, with different circumstances, needs and preferences for how they work best.

DaaS standing in the shadows

In addition to using their own devices and working flexibly with their tools, staff often expect a level of freedom to use applications that have not been authorised or properly introduced by IT, introducing all manner of new and as-yet unknown vulnerabilities.

It’s what’s known as “shadow IT”, which refers to the proliferation of cloud-based apps, including; social media and other technologies designed for personal use, and not intended for the workplace.

Incidences of shadow IT have increased sharply over the past few years, as staff have sought to harness the greater usability and compatibility of social apps and platforms to work more efficiently.

These user experiences in the social media realm have set a new bar for what is considered minimum usability and simplicity in the workforce. And DaaS provides the ideal platform not just to bring shadow IT under control, but to make sure its capabilities can be fully optimised for the corporate environment.

And while both words are likely pretty boring to the ears of staff who just want to work the way they want without questions and without hassle, ‘security’ and ‘control’ are key considerations.

For instance, Microsoft 365 suite of cloud systems and application allows for a high degree of visibility and control, especially over mobile devices, apps and data.

This is achieved through Microsoft 365 ‘Intune’, which is a cloud-based service to help organisations maintain control over their mobile devices. Device loss is the biggest the biggest cause of data theft in Australia, accounting for 41% of breaches, ahead of those derived from hacking and malware, which is only 25%[1].

The mobile device management solution from Brennan IT gives the ability to manage settings remotely, deploy compliance policies, locate, lock and even remotely wipe corporate data, to ensure sensitive information is always safe.

Happier staff

The arrival of smartphones and the mobile app ecosystem has wrought serious levels of disruption for companies to manage.

But while digital technologies can be fascinating to consider in themselves, it’s important not to lose sight of why they exist in the first place: making people’s lives easier.

With the arrival of apps like Facebook, people were attracted to the idea of being able to connect and communicate with a wide network of people.

Fast forward and it’s now also about helping people find new, innovative, personally satisfying and effective ways to communicate and collaborate at work.

When this happens, people are able to use more of their ‘right brains’, to be more creative and innovative and ultimately achieve greater results for themselves and their employers.

This makes people happier all round, creating a ‘virtuous cycle’ with greater staff satisfaction, productivity, less time off and less churn. Parents can spend more time with their children, traffic jams are lessened, and companies spend less money on office spaces and resources needed to run them.