Here’s what 4,000& IT pros told us

There’s work before the pandemic and work after the pandemic, but a real advantage to establishing a hybrid workplace can be found in examining what happened to work during the pandemic. Lenovo’s global research study, “The Future of Work and Digital Transformation,” shows that while no single challenge of pivoting to a distributed workforce stands out as a massive issue, a range of frustrations and concerns created some level of annoyance for IT leaders across businesses of all sizes.

Managing data security, cybersecurity, and privacy

Managing data security and privacy policies was the top challenge faced by IT leaders in the Future of Work study, followed closely by concerns about cybersecurity — and with good reason. Remote teams may accomplish more, but they also increase the average cost of a data breach by nearly $140,000, according to IBM’s “2020 Cost of a Data Breach Report.” Securing the flexible workforce of the future requires a multilayered approach that will help your business thrive. To stay secure, your tech toolkit needs up-to date devices, and your tech strategy needs to address obsolete hardware in the rotation and formulate a plan for continuous device replacement. The big, upfront capital expenditures often required to refresh devices are a challenge for many organisations, and the additional capital needed often forces them to delay device updates. A Device as a Service (DaaS) model that bundles hardware, software, and support services can keep companies flexible and cost-efficient. Continuity plans that employed data protection products and services helped businesses feel more prepared during the pandemic, and IT leaders found that the most useful work-from home strategy solutions included:

  • All-in-one hardware/software bundles
  • Training sessions and documentation for employees
  • ROI reports
  • Flexible purchasing arrangements

A device as a Service (DaaS) model that bundles hardware, software, and support services can keep companies flexible and cost-efficient.

Maintaining control of IT solutions

The Future of Work study asked IT leaders: What are the top considerations when deciding if your company should invest in digital transformation solutions? “Data security” was the leading response for businesses of all sizes. After that? “IT management of the solution” (followed by employee productivity, operating costs, and data privacy, respectively). IT leaders want to remain in control of whatever digital solutions they put in place next.

During the pandemic, controlled solutions came by way of the cloud. Those who quickly pivoted to an online or digital business model during the pandemic were challenged with quickly scaling up existing servers and online infrastructure. As one IT leader from the US wrote, “Moving everything to the cloud is now absolutely necessary. Having vital programs and data in one place is a liability.”

A cloud-based Software as a Service (SaaS) approach can save IT time and money while allowing for full visibility of an entire fleet of devices.

ThinkSmart Manager, Lenovo’s management console for ThinkSmart devices, is a great example of this kind of software. With this powerful tool, IT  can manage and protect an enterprise-wide fleet and leverage manageability features for increased levels of performance, control, and analytics.

Top data protection strategies by business size - for all sizes Cloud-based data backup is the number 1 strategy

Finding additional resources to help employees

Among IT leaders’ top challenges of pivoting to an online or digital business model was finding additional resources. Employees needed help setting up their home offices. This was preceded only by concerns of data security, cybersecurity, and marketing to customers.

Employees today likely have their home offices all geared up, but the point stands: They need help optimising their setup to achieve maximum productivity — and they want that help from IT. Respondents who reported issues with IT support while working remotely during the pandemic lockdowns said problem resolution took longer than usual or was simply difficult to get at all. A device solution could help, like PCs based on the Intel® Evo™ vPro® platform, which go to work right out of the box.

Managed tech support solutions help IT teams handle their ever-changing workloads. Lenovo’s Smart Collaboration Professional Services are tailored for the ThinkSmart lineup of solutions. Lenovo also provides comprehensive hardware and software support services like Lenovo Premier Support. This 24/7/365 service delivers engineering expertise with proactive support, escalation management, and direct point of contact for IT support — all day, every day. Furthermore, there’s an opportunity to help employees help themselves by providing them hardware that can keep up when they’re not at home or in the office.

Stylised image of worker participating a conference call on their laptop

IT leaders aged 18 to 34, especially, reported that tech providing mobility makes employees more effective.

Mobile, portable, and wireless device usage is on the rise, and a tech strategy can get ahead of this changing work style with hardware and software choices that enable on-the-go productivity. In response, software companies are shifting from products made for laptop/desktop PCs to fully functioning mobile apps that allow users to work from anywhere.

Once you’ve got mobility apps in place, communicate their availability. The Future of Work study showed workers aren’t taking enough advantage of company programs to finance their technology purchases.

While 80% of IT departments reported they’re willing to cover purchases of work-related equipment... 

in some cases as few as 22% of employees have actually used these policies.

Go from what works “for now” to what works next

IT leaders have had to get creative as they outfit a flexible workforce — and fast. As the situation shifts again and the path forward finally looks a bit more stable, IT leaders should take a fresh look at the solutions they put in place and adjust as needed.

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