In this video interview, you'll hear from Managed Solution's Virtual CIO Tony Pecora and learn more about what it means to have a modern workplace to support your remote workforce. Tony's vast knowledge is a perfect blend between business and IT and has helped clients saved over $250,000 annually with his recommendations when evaluating and optimizing IT. Tony discusses why a modern workplace is so important, especially today, and the effectiveness and benefits of a modern workplace. He addresses the important items for business leaders to understand technology to support their new remote workforce and what to consider when looking at a digital transformation, which many of us now find ourselves in.

What is a modern workplace?

It's always evolving and changing but using digital information aids to adapt that to your workplace to modernize it. It's less about brick and mortar but achieving company goals no matter where you are or what time it is. You can get tasks complete whenever wherever and not just inside office walls.

What is the effectiveness of a modern workplace while working from home?

The benefit has been with the remote workforce is when you work remote is the time you save. That’s that much more time you can assist on client escalations (as tech team). There's just so many monetary and efficiency benefits, plus of course, the work-life balance. The thing is IT will never be an 8-5 Monday to Friday job so work-life balance is so important to technical teams. The ability to have some flexibility and have a break in the day is really nice and then get back to work on "off hours" to tend to things like server reboots, etc to not disrupt the client.

How important is it for leaders to understand the technology in their business?

As a leader, ask yourself, what is possible with the infrastructure you currently have? Then re-evaluate your existing infrastructure. People weren't necessarily ready for a modern workplace but evaluating what you have and optimizing it can save you a lot of money, rather than just adding new things.

What should leaders consider when looking at digital transformation?

Your backbone or structure is most important on how you connect to the internet in addition to voice dialing on your phone. If you don't have internet or internet-enabled devices, you really limit what you can do as a business. Sometimes having a backup as well. It needs to handle the bandwidth. It's not just about plugging in a router. Location matters, what kind of service is available in that location. Core infrastructure including firewall and router and switches that protects you from the outside world are all things that need to be considered. Basically, what do you need to connect to, how do I connect to it, what is the amount, and is it scalable? Then we can formulate a plan for the best connection & user experience.  When you look at enterprise companies with 1000 people - the question is why do you need all of the employees to come into the office? Is it compliance or legal reasons? Have you evaluated the cloud? Should we move it and host externally? Are your employees just using email, file sharing? Do they need some sort of security clearance so that they can only access certain files when connected to the company network?

What about a hybrid environment?

Businesses may consider a hybrid environment, especially with email. Email sitting in-house becomes really expensive and if there's a breakdown with the server, all email is down so we'll see clients move their email to the cloud as one of the first things to go to the cloud.

What's changed about IT support and how you lead your team since COVID-19 and the shift to fully remote?

Onsite support has become remote. It's important that we help people in the experience that they're having. We want to remote into experience what they're dealing with, whether it's spotty internet, a hotel room where you're 3 floors from the router, etc. Just because we're not on-site, doesn't mean we can't experience what they're experiencing. While remote, it's important to have more cadence than you're used to as a manager or department head. Your team is going through something totally new. Your IT team was supporting 7-9% of the company who was previously remote and now you have to support 97% of the company. In many cases, a lot of companies didn’t prepare for this but it still needs to be addressed. So it's important to have regular communication to have a close handle on what's going on.

It is common that for a digital transformation to take full effect in the workplace, it needs fully upgraded IT systems as well as a complete overhaul of all business process. In a highly digitized business environment, it is only through these changes that employees can indeed serve customers to the best of their abilities. Be it finance, healthcare, manufacturing, nonprofits, or anything else in between, all sectors of the economy are heavily impacted.

Gartner indicates that by 2020, roughly a third of all businesses will draw their competitive advantage from their employees' knowledge, understanding, and efficient use of the digital technologies they employ. There are three main elements to consider when looking at the future of the digital workplace. These are the emerging technologies, the global marketplace, and workforce dynamics.

In what can only describe as a positive feedback cycle, these three factors will influence each other, completely changing the shape of the modern workplace. In turn, this will guide businesses on how to reshape job roles, processes, business models, and best practices. Artificial and human intelligence will complement each other like never before, solving many business problems and significantly increasing efficiency.

The whole point behind a digital workplace is simplicity and intuitiveness, resulting in greater agility and productivity. Below are some of the hallmarks that work to create this simplicity in the workplace.

Shadow IT

Shadow IT stands for all information technology systems used within an organization without its explicit approval. Most employees will follow the path of least resistance when it comes to their work and this, of course, applies to the technology they use.

Traditionally, CIOs were utterly opposed to the use of shadow IT, and sometimes with good reason. Their security and integration concerns are entirely justified. Nevertheless, instead of standing against this technology, CIOs should embrace and exploit these technologies, and work to integrate them into their systems.

Change Management Leadership

Changing your workplace into a digital and more agile one will require a great deal of adjustment in terms of departmental structure, internal processes, skill sets, etc. Change management leaders will be needed for such a considerable undertaking so they can set guidelines, oversee the transition, as well as anticipate and mitigate any issues before they can turn into real trouble.

Reskilling Employees

With a change, however, it's not uncommon for employees to experience increased stress levels. It usually stems from a fear of the unknown and a lack of comprehensive skill when operating the new technologies. To ease this transition, it's wise to train and reskill your employees continually. Hire a team of professionals, if need be.

Information & Technology

This transition ultimately boils down to the technology you will use. To that end, ensure easy file-sharing capabilities, mobile access, and real-time synchronization. Similarly, virtual assistants can be a great asset in helping with the transition period, offering employees decision support, contextualized content recommendations, and advice where needed.

Do, however, keep in mind that all of these systems need to have a cohesive architecture and not a haphazard patchwork of technologies that will only add to the complexity of day-to-day operations and processes. Lastly, you should encourage employees to bring their input here, rather than imposing new systems on them.

To help you with this transition, Managed Solution is at your service. Contact us today and find out what we can do for you and your digital workplace.


Today, it’s both a challenging and exciting time for CIOs. The role of the CIO previously was to lead the information systems and data processing departments. Today, however, the responsibilities and skill sets of a CIO are drastically different. CIOs are not there to worry about how to keep all those systems connected while saving money by moving to the cloud. Today, they have a more prominent place in a business’ strategic decision-making and are in a position to do a lot more.

CIOs are there to drive the thinking and resulting strategies regarding what to do with all the compiled data. They find ways to take the business forward by getting maximum value from the data on hand.

What do CIOs bring to the table in today’s highly-competitive and tech-focused business environment?

What is the Role of a CIO?

A CIO is in the executive position that deals with the IT needs of an enterprise. The role can’t portray with an exact description. Today’s CIOs are distancing from operational responsibilities, and their part includes:

  • Strategic planning of growth objectives
  • Creating business value through innovation and technology
  • Ensuring that the tech procedures and systems lead to desired results

Collaboration platforms, big data analytics, cloud computing, mobile computing, IoT, and AI are new challenges that CIOs now face. Their focus has shifted to data security, service analysis, and market reach.

CIO: Skills and Qualifications

Typically, CIOs have degrees in information systems, software engineering, and computer science. Besides an IT background, an essential factor for landing a CIO role is - experience. Employers seek people with a minimum of 5-year experience in IT management as well as business acumen. The essential skills for the CIO position are – leadership, strategic planning, project management, software development management, change management, relationship and network building, and financial and business acumen.

Does Every Company Need a CIO?

With outside consultants, cloud-based tools, and gumption, a small business with basic tech needs can survive. However, that’s only temporary, as every company comes to a point when somebody other than the CEO needs to make IT decisions. This point is at a unique moment in your growth, and you’ll need to answer questions like:

  • Do I need a tech leader to manage information security before launch?
  • Should my company start looking for an IT leader when the internal operations become too cumbersome?
  • What qualifications, skills, and experience should we look in that person?

To ensure that your IT lead has an equal and active role in deciding what’s best for your enterprise, you need a CIO that has worked outside of a digital environment, who has navigated a corporate environment, and who can help bring the clout of the C-level title.

With new technological advancements, the CIO position continues to evolve; fueled by several significant trends that are coming our way and are mutually reinforcing each other. These trends are IoT, DevOps, and Big Data (paired with analytics and machine learning). The CIOs are the ones who should be driving these areas forward, knowing both tech and business trends. Certain key areas, such as agriculture, insurance, law, biotech, and healthcare are much affected by technology. There, CIOs are left concerned with the increasing expectations placed upon them.

When looking to hire a CIO, be sure to check whether they are qualified, skilled, and experienced enough for the position. On the other hand, your enterprise may benefit from fractional CIO services. These services deliver a flexible tech solution that evolves and adapts to meet your evolving needs. Contact Managed Solution to help you evaluate your business needs.


What's an IT Roadmap? A technology roadmap, also known as an IT roadmap, is a visual document that presents and communicates an organization's plan for technology initiatives. In other words, an IT roadmap will highlight what, when, and why the technology solutions offered will be implemented. Often, roadmaps are designed to fix what's broken, but they can also be used to uncover opportunities and the potential of your business. In a perfect scenario, it's used for both.

Your IT roadmap should serve as a flexible planning technique with the aim of supporting a long-range strategy, though it supports both long and short-term goals. As we approach the end of the year, your business plan is likely well underway, if not yet completed. Do you have a technology roadmap that supports all aspects of your business?

In today's modern workplace, with technology being so ingrained in everyone's daily lives, it's important that the CEO of a company is working closely with its CTO, CIO, and other technology leaders to ensure the right technology is installed in their systems and network to empower their employees. Every company has specific business goals that they want to drive throughout the organization so the leaders of that organization need to be asking themselves 'what kind of technology can support these goals?' as well as 'do my employees have the technologies they need to be productive and successful?'

Overall, the technology roadmap needs to be supporting the overall business roadmap. These need to be strategically aligned to ensure business growth and success. Here, we will go into what every technology roadmap needs and how you can get started.

Not sure where to get started with your roadmap? Request a Network Assessment for one of our tech experts comes on-site to do a full analysis of your network and infrastructure so that you can start planning today.

How to Build an IT Roadmap  

The Strategy - Like everything else, an IT roadmap starts with a well-designed strategy. You will first have to determine what are your priorities and what you hope to generate. Many IT roadmaps are used to reduce waste, but they can also be utilized to help determine what tools can benefit your teams, how to deliver a better customer experience, or even to streamline overall operations, among others.

Needs, Priorities & Timeline - When creating and implementing one such roadmap, it's important to remember that you can't always do it all. A roadmap should not be overwhelming - it should be the opposite. It is necessary for you to get visibility as it relates to the who, how, when, and where of each project. In addition, make sure that you are looking at mitigating risk versus leveraging technology with each project. This can help your prioritize what's needed versus what's wanted.

You also need to review your business processes to highlight inefficiencies, identify all technology gaps, as well as functional capabilities. Then prepare an itemized and prioritized checklist of the necessary steps that need to be taken.

Lastly, realistic timelines are crucial in creating a successful IT roadmap. These schedules and deadlines should be for each project and based on the order of priority as well as the duration of each project plus the available resources. One way of relieving some of the stress and workload is by leveraging external resources, such as consultants. They can also contribute with added value and experience, and help you avoid some of the common pitfalls encountered by others.

Balancing Risks - A roadmap wouldn't be complete without considering the uncertainty of things, especially when it comes to mitigating risk with your technology and infrastructure. Security should always be a priority in today's world. With a stable infrastructure, you'll be able to leverage the technology you need and not hinder productivity amongst employees, but increase it. Consider what is a 'nice-to-have' versus a 'must-have' to help you prioritize and minimize risk. It's all about balance and making sure you're communicating these things across all departments. While security is a huge concern for IT, it affects the entire organization.

Cost Measurement - The investment required for a technology should be well thought out and intentional. It's important to consider not only cost but time and internal resources. It's advisable that you research the prices available on the market and that you create a realistic cost estimate for each project on your roadmap. In addition to the cost, take a look at how many people you will need to dedicate to each item and the time it will require to complete each project. Don't forget to also include other costs such as subscription fees, maintenance, support, or new infrastructure costs. In the end, this technology roadmap should help to facilitate investment in different departments better and improve overall planning.

Always Look Ahead - Many business leaders do not take full advantage of the many disruptive technologies that appear on a continually and which can, otherwise, improve their competitive edge. When developing your own IT roadmap, keep an eye out for what type of technology will help you stay competitive over the next three to five years. Look for technology that's flexible and scalable enough to fit in with your long-term needs.


There are numerous benefits in designing your own IT roadmap. It will help you keep moving forward without losing sight of the end goal. Make sure you're having these technology conversations with not only IT leaders but C-Level executives as well. When done right, technology should support the entire organization and not just the IT department.

If you want to learn more about implementing your plan, contact us for consulting today.


There's somewhat of a misconception circulating, in regards to the modern workplace. Some are under the impression that the new changes that are happening in the office are somehow affecting only those in IT, but they are not aware of how the modern workplace affects everyone. Even though most of the change that is happening originates from digital technology, the repercussions and chain reactions that it brings, extend to everyone from every department, not only those in IT.

It is safe to say that almost every activity within the workplace, from the very mundane to the most complex and specific, can be affected in one way or the other by technology. No industry remains unaffected by this technological change, be it finance, manufacturing, healthcare, or even nonprofit organizations. It also applies to the departments within these institutions.

In other words, IT is not only affecting the nature of the work, itself, but it also has an impact on how organizations function regarding internal divisions of labor. The implementation of IT alone is not enough to drive productivity. These new technologies must also be accompanied by organizational changes in structure and HR practices.

The modern workplace needs to meet current employee expectations, better connect a more widely-distributed workforce, and it has to provide all the tools necessary for employees to design, create, and innovate. They need to work together and solve both company and customer problems, and technology will help them achieve that. Put differently; a modern workplace has to bring the best in every employee by creating a company culture where ingenuity, innovation, and action are encouraged at every level of the organization.

Factors Influencing Work Culture

As most of us know, necessity is the mother of invention. As a consequence, businesses need to adapt and tailor their company culture to better fit with these new technological innovations.

Telecommuting - With a sharp increase in mobility and cloud technology, employees can now work across multiple devices and locations. This higher degree of flexibility will help increase morale and productivity by allowing employees to choose their hours or from where to conduct their business. Nevertheless, with greater flexibility, there is also the increasing issue of data security, which needs to be addressed.

Cross-departmental teams - As modern technology eliminates much of the tedious grunt work, employees have more time to dedicate themselves to other tasks that do require their expertise. This trend has led to the formation of cross-departmental teams. As their name would suggest, these teams include people from various departments such as HR, finance, marketing, sales, etc., and from different levels of the organization.

These teams have the purpose of finding new and innovative solutions that will help streamline operations within the company by calling on input and expertise from numerous departments. Innovation is, after all, a leading competitive advantage in today's fast-paced business world, and cross-departmental teams can drive it through a more creative collaboration process. This trend, however, requires that the right collaboration tools and real-time insights need to be provided to get the job done.

Employee Digital Skills - As digital technology makes its way in every department of an organization, employees need the necessary skills to leverage those technologies and drive productivity. As time goes on and a company adopts more and more of these technologies, the skills required to use them will become more critical.

Surveys indicate that 29% of employees believe that their skill set will become obsolete over the coming years, while half of all companies think that the digital talent gap is hampering their digital transformation. Over the coming years, soft digital skills will prove to be as important as the traditional skills, themselves.

How is technology changing the shape of your business? Our Consulting Services can help provide insight on how to best leverage the right technology for your business.


Today's modern workplace is not as it used to be. Instead of those cramped cubicles, we now have wide open spaces. Instead of those dusky archives, we now have the cloud. And instead of that strict 9-to-5 schedule, we now have flexibility. While these examples here are by no means exhaustive, they do, however, paint an entirely different picture about today's office, as opposed to what we were used to several decades ago. This is how to make your business a modern workplace.

One such modern workplace has plenty of advantages, yet many are still using the traditional model. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the modern workplace is still going through a transition period, meaning that it hasn't reached a final form. It also says that there is no one-size-fits-all approach and every business has to create its workplace, based on their needs and respective industry.

In any case, here are some guidelines.

Leveraging Modern Technology

It shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the changing face of the modern workplace is driven in large part by digital technology and automation. It's pretty much the same trend, but to a much larger degree, to what happened when the PC arrived during the mid-1980's.

Today, however, with various automation software for multiple industries, cloud computing, and social technologies, the way people work is no longer the same. Known as the Internet of Things (IoT), these technologies and the devices they use, are creating a much more efficient, intelligent, and connected workforce.

Flexible Work Schedules

Another critical ingredient for the modern workplace is flexibility. It refers mainly to employee working schedules and can take numerous forms, depending on the type of business you have. For instance, flexibility in the workplace can imply full or partially remote work.

It can also mean a so-called flex schedule where employees can create their schedules, as long as they make their 40 hours per week. Likewise, flexibility can also take the shape of a Results Only Work Environment (ROWE), where results take center stage, not hours worked, or it can even imply unlimited vacation days, among other such examples.

Better Communication

With increased flexibility in the workplace, the need for good communication and collaboration could not be higher. When creating your modern workplace, the discussion needs special consideration, otherwise, risk everything falling apart.

When not all of your employees are under the same roof, at the same time, some may be excluded from meaningful conversations. It can lead to increased suspicion and worry, which, in turn, may result in decreased employee happiness and productivity and a higher turnover rate. Regular internal newsletters and employee feedback can help mediate this situation. Making frequent use of social technologies such as Skype is yet another.

Modern Performance Reviews

Under the traditional model, performance reviews were given roughly once per year. But in today's fast-paced business environment, this model is not only obsolete but can also be counterproductive. For a whole year, an employee could be thinking that they're doing a good job, and then faced with a barrage of negative feedback and reviews.

Like with the point above, once-per-year performance reviews will do no one any favors. With more and more employees working off-site, monthly or weekly checkups will better help clarify objectives, improve efficiency, and morale, and will also keep these employees in the loop.


These are some of the core elements that define the modern workplace. But as mentioned before, each business needs to create its system that will best fit its individual needs. But by focusing on leveraging automation technologies and providing your employees with flexibility and better communication, you are driving modernization.

Are you ready to take the next step for a Modern Workplace? Managed Solution can come on-site for a Microsoft Customer Immersion Experience (CIE) and provide a hands-on demo of productivity tools that help promote a flexible and collaborative work environment. Learn more about CIEs here.

Many employers around the world have realized that the traditional way of running a business no longer works with the present-day trends and changing face of the modern workplace. The old way, not only reduced the overall efficiency of a company but it wasn't able to meet the new challenges that accompany the so-called Internet of Things.

Long are the days of the cubicle. Today, more and more people are conducting their work from remote locations, either from their home or another place that has an internet connection. Under the traditional workplace and with the rigid practices that it involved, employees could not effectively communicate with each other over long distances. Modern companies use social and collaborative software such as Skype, Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Google Docs to break any distance barriers and work together in real time and across borders, in many cases.

The Changing Face of the Modern Workplace

Today's rapid technological evolution has led to much experimentation in the area. Some businesses, for instance, went on to adopt a sort of shared workspace. It implies an office where the common equipment shares among all staff members that need it. So, instead of having five desks with five computers, and with five of everything for each of the five employees, this shared business model could use only three of everything for those five employees. We don't live in the Age of Efficiency for nothing, after all.

Other companies, however, go for the work-life integration approach as a means of providing an engaging environment for both employees and future recruits. Unlike the more common work-life balance, work-life integration does not aim to make a clear divide between one's personal and professional life.

It, instead, focuses on mixing the two throughout the day so that people can achieve both. With work-life integration, employees can, for instance, come a bit later to work, do some tasks for an hour or two, go to lunch with friends, come back to work for several more hours, go to their child's recital, and finish up work at home, later in the evening. This schedule is more in tune with what digital technology already provides us as opposed to a strict 9-to-5 schedule.

But the changes don't stop here. Some organizations such as Google, among others, are hosting various innovators and start-up right on their premises. Known as a community or coworking spaces, these provide ample benefits for all involved. On the one hand, these start-ups have the opportunity to take part in many events, seminars, or training offered, while Google provides its employees to interact with other experts in their field, while at the same time, they can keep an eye out for top talent that may be present.

In other instances, companies encourage their employees to go off-site and work from various hubs or remote locations that freelancers usually frequent. Like before, it allows the company's staff to get an outside perspective, maybe get some new ideas which can also be implemented by the company, itself.


There's no denying the fact that the world is currently going through a transition phase. This transition affects everything, including how modern offices operate. Now, whether these initiatives presented above will stick over the long-term or not - it's probably too early to tell. What's for sure, however, is that we will never return to the traditional way of doing things.

Read more about the modern workplace in our blog, "The New Look of the Modern Workplace".



Ever since the introduction of the typewriter at the turn of the 20th century and up until the mid-1970's the office environment remained pretty much the same. It was with the Wang word processing systems that the office look began to change. Sometimes in the 1980's, personal computers became the primary tool for office work, exacerbating the change even further. And like with the introduction of these technologies of the past, so does modern technology influence the present and the new look of the modern workplace.

New and disruptive technologies don't only change the way we interact with each other or how companies do business. They can also change the look of the entire office environment. In a sense, the office environment was redesigned and reorganized around the PC and in more recent years, around all the digital and mobile devices as well as other similar technologies. And by extension, this change is also affecting how employees conduct their daily duties.

So, how does a modern workplace look like in this day and age? Here are two key elements that heavily influence the contemporary workplace.

Flexible Schedules

The so-called Internet of Things (IoT) and all the technologies that accompany it have made it possible for an increasing number of people to work remotely. Commonly known as telecommuting, it is a global phenomenon where around 70% of all professionals, worldwide, work from home at least once a week. Also, 53% telecommute at least half the week.

With a combination of mobile devices and cloud computing, many staff members are no longer obligated to come to work under a strict 9-to-5 schedule. As long as their job gets done on time, it doesn't matter exactly where they work. Since their work is mostly over the internet, many e-commerce businesses don't even have a physical office, to begin with, relying solely on telecommuting or virtual offices, if and when the situation calls for it.

For those companies that still require a permanent physical presence, offering their employees the benefits of work-life integration is the way to go. For those of us who don't know, work-life integration is a means by which people can integrate both their personal and professional lives in such a way that both can be achieved at the same time. Providing flexibility in the workplace was shown to increase employee morale, happiness, health, and productivity.

Efficiency and Automation

Did you know that the average office employee spends roughly 28% of their work time sending and receiving emails? Also, they spend another 20% of their time searching for relevant internal information or looking for colleagues who can help them with their tasks. Cloud computing and social technologies, however, can reduce this wasted time by as much as 35%, in some cases, and raise employee productivity by as much as 25%.

Automation also plays a crucial role in shaping the modern workplace. Numerous automation software can now eliminate much of the grunt work and tedious tasks that would otherwise fall onto the employees, themselves. Financial or medical institutions, for instance, will no longer have to spend countless hours looking through documents, trying to find relevant information. A piece of software can do it. It will free up your employees to spend their time on more meaningful tasks that require their attention.


It would be a mistake to look at a modern office today and think that it will remain the same in the future. As mentioned before, the workplace environment is highly susceptible to any technological developments, meaning that the office environment will also change with them. We are currently going through a technological revolution, after all. Are you ready for what’s next?

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