UK handled home working well

Faced with the COVID-19 outbreak and new regulations to control it in the second quarter of 2020, large and small businesses in the UK ably implemented technology transformations that allowed thousands of employees to work from home, according to a new report.

The report by Information Services Group (ISG), with the concise title The 2020 ISG Provider Lens Digital Workplace of the Future – Services & Solutions, found most organisations smoothly provided remote workers with the devices, bandwidth and collaboration tools they needed. The bigger issues raised by the transition were security and change management, the report says.

Public and private-sector enterprises wanted to ensure endpoints were secure and employees—especially older ones—didn’t lose touch with the organisation. In this environment, effective change management programs and the ability to offer experience-level agreements (XLAs) are helping digital workplace providers stand out.

Bryn Barlow, ISG partner, Digital Strategy and Solutions said:“The shift to remote work in the U.K. demonstrated that British employers and digital workplace providers were well equipped to implement the necessary technologies. The ability to deal with the larger organisational issues is emerging as a differentiator in the industry and raises the importance of consulting providers as partners.”

The pandemic has brought into focus companies’ efforts to ensure home-based employees are healthy, productive and secure from cybersecurity threats and vulnerabilities, ISG says. The transition to remote work has also made managed workplace solutions critical tools for tasks such as scaling virtual meeting capacity and securing home connections. Help desk services have taken on a central role in employee experience, and analytics is helping providers deliver better, more efficient remote help, according to the study.

The report said enterprises were adopting managed mobility services to give employees a seamless experience across fixed and mobile devices, the report says. As part of this, companies are demanding mobile integration with back-end systems such as CRM and ERP to help make remote workers even more productive. Unified endpoint solutions spanning both fixed and mobile systems, mostly from specialist providers, also are critical tools for ensuring security and a good employee experience.

The pandemic also has driven up the deployment of unified communications and collaboration, with cloud-based solutions particularly gaining ground, ISG said. At first, companies scrambled to scale up collaboration and meeting capacity for their new remote workforces. Now security and the end-user experience are becoming major areas of focus.

The report names Atos as a leader in four quadrants and Accenture, Computacenter, DXC Technology, HCL, TCS and Wipro as leaders in three quadrants. It identifies Capgemini, Fujitsu, Getronics, IBM, Microsoft and NTT Data as leaders in two quadrants. Avaya, Cisco, Citrix, Digital Workplace Group, Google, Ivanti, Okta, Slack, Trend Micro, Unisys, VMware and Vodafone each is named a leader in one quadrant. Hexaware and Unisys are named as Rising Stars—companies with “promising portfolios” and “high future potential” by ISG’s definition— in one quadrant each.