Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, companies of all sizes, from Salesforce, Google, Facebook, and J.P Morgan down to small design and web development boutiques, are requiring employees to work from home. But working remotely for extended periods is difficult for employees and companies. Many companies simply don’t have the expertise, tools or infrastructure to handle the sudden, massive move to remote work.
Yet, it can be done, and can be done well, allowing companies to remain profitable and employees remain productive and satisfied. Wendy Pfeiffer, CIO of Nutanix, offers some great advice in her article for CNBC, “What can happen to a company if coronavirus sends every employee home.” Following are the high points of what she has to say.
She starts off this way: “As employees increasingly interact with technology from their homes, its user-friendliness, design and utility become an even more crucial driver of productive work. People are not machines — they have emotions and frustrations; they get overwhelmed — and for organizational and IT leaders, that means offering the right tools for this new paradigm, using technology that enables, not disables.”
With that as background, her first piece of advice is to “Plan for all scenarios and test network scalability.” She notes that, “Many enterprise tools were built to only operate internally, so it’s the IT department’s job to ensure everyone can access apps and data securely from their devices — both mobile and desktop — at home.”
Doing that, she says, requires that enterprises think of every possible eventuality, and do as much “what if” planning as possible. After you develop the scenarios, do testing to make sure they’re high-performing and scalable.
The next step, she says is to “Align on technology — not only on what tools to use but how to use them.” That includes remote collaboration tools, mobile apps, and others. Once you decide which tools you’re going to use, you need to make sure that all workers know exactly how they can be used. She recommends setting up a company intranet where all the information is available to people, no matter where they’re located.
Finally, she says, “Prepare with the right documentation to enable everyone.” That means putting together what she calls runbooks that “outline where a system is running — whether on-prem, in the cloud, etc. — how to access it, admin accounts and passwords, expected operations and performance, monitoring guidance, and how to stop and start a system.”
Runbooks and their associated workflows should be automated, she adds. She points out “Replacing even 5% of your manual operations with code can contribute significantly to your ability to scale in times of pressure.”
She concludes with these words, which are well worth heeding: “The bottom line for IT leadership is that an organization’s main value comes from its employees. At a time when they might be isolated from each other and continuing to do their day-to-day work, the way in which IT leaders support and enable them through technology will have a profound impact on the productivity of the company overall.”
Peace of Mind at a Critical Time
As Pfeiffer notes, mobile apps and business applications are vital for remote, at-home workers. Alpha customers using Alpha Cloud don't have to worry about bandwidth or scalability for their applications. Alpha Cloud service takes care of hosting, maintenance and ongoing performance of Alpha Anywhere apps, so you can eliminate routine monitoring and devote all your time to high-value app development. Developers using Alpha Cloud won't need to worry about or manage:
- a hardware/drive failure
- installing the frequent security patches essential to your site staying up
- correctly configuring your load balancer
- handling surges in demand seamlessly
- backing up data
- scaling up and down, paying only for what you use.
...Alpha Cloud takes care of it all.
For more information about building mobile apps for remote workers see “Remote Work And The Coronavirus: How Mobile Apps Can Help.”