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Building Flexible Workplaces with Cloud Technology

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By Ravindra Kelkar, Area Vice President, Sales & Services, India Sub-continent, Citrix

As employees demand more flexibility, companies are looking to the cloud for answers. Digital disruption is dramatically changing the way companies operate, paving the way for new ways of working. Mobile computing, cloud networks, social media and data analytics, among others, are ushering a new way of doing things, turning the traditional concept of a workplace on its head.

Work is no longer associated with a place and instead, has morphed into an increasingly dynamic activity that people expect to be adaptable to their needs. Employees are now looking for flexibility to operate from anywhere, anytime be it from home, from a café or even a park.

At the same time, they want all the tools, network access, apps and libraries to be available from anywhere and at all times. As more organisations continue to move to cloud, they are finding it easier to give employees the necessary access to flexi-working conditions.

The benefits for flexible work environments have been well-documented. Flexible working allows employees to enjoy a better work-life balance, helps them relieve work stress and cuts down on commute time and cost. Companies can also budget for less office space, knowing that all employees are unlikely to show up at the same time – hot desking is becoming the norm in many progressive companies. Happier workers are likely to be more productive, innovative and will remain with their employers for longer periods of time, reducing recruitment and training costs while minimising disruption in the workplace. Organisations that provide flexible working conditions along with personalised tools to boost productivity, engagement and creativity are at an advantage when it comes to recruiting top talent.

Organisations in India understand the value of offering flexible working conditions but with some caveats. As per a research commissioned by Citrix in India in 2018, called ‘The State of IT Complexity’ flexible working environments continue to grow. It showed that 94 per cent of the companies which took part in the survey, said they offer flexible working options to employees. However, digging deeper, one finds that most companies restrict this offering to certain teams only, thus creating a sort of “flexibility frustration”.

A closer look at the data shows that in India only 32 per cent of organisations offer flexible or mobile working arrangements across the organisation. Around 37 per cent offer flexible working to only certain teams, 21 per cent offer it to only senior management and 4 per cent to only specific job functions.

Interestingly, around 95 per cent of the Indian respondents in the Citrix study agreed that employee user experience is linked to productivity. Organisations need digital workspaces that integrate technology, platforms, devices, and clouds, to simplify IT management. This helps to deliver personalised access to the relevant systems and tools that employees need, when, how and from where they need them; ensuring excellent end user experience and promoting productivity.

While there are many types of cloud computing architecture available, organisations should consider multi or hybrid cloud solutions to ensure there’s no infrastructure and vendor lock-in. This provides the flexibility for a strategic shift, if necessary.

The study shows that 89 per cent of organisations across India are already adopting cloud technology in the form of SaaS (software-as-a-service) solutions delivered by well-known brands like SalesForce, Office 365 and Workday. A high percentage of organisations (92 per cent) are already approaching the move to cloud strategically, and are currently using, developing or planning to develop bespoke cloud native applications.

The real strategic value of cloud adoption is as an enabler of flexibility, either within the business or through the workforce. This in turn, will transform business processes, enable remote working, open new ways of working and new ways of managing employees – this is real digital transformation and should be considered part of a broader journey.

Along the way, a flexible working environment enabled by cloud enables, will attract the right talent, making way for more innovation.

If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]


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