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.

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