Empowering the on-the-move workforce with the right devices

What can organisations do to make sure their PC fleets can serve remote users?

A hybrid workplace is the same as a fully remote workplace for most IT departments today. End users need a device that provides powerful collaboration and multitasking capabilities and that moves seamlessly from location to location, and IT needs to be able to manage and secure those devices from anywhere.

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A recent Computerworld survey found that almost half of the respondents (45%) indicated they find it challenging, or very challenging, to manage the life cycle and inventory of their organisations’ IT assets. They say their end users’ top priorities include:

  • A selection of form factors to meet specific needs
  • Robust security
  • Improved application performance
  • Visual experiences with immersive displays
  • Fast battery charging
  • Long battery life.

Users generally will see challenges when trying to collaborate and multitask on older machines. Downtime, short battery life, bulk, and slow responsiveness make work from anywhere difficult and frustrating for users. And then IT gets bogged down with low-level inquiries on improving performance of machines.

So what can organisations do if they’re not completely confident that their PC fleets can serve remote users? A recent video roundtable, sponsored by Computerworld and Intel, provides some insights and guidance that may help answer that question. 

Arif Mohamed, a Computerworld contributing editor, moderated a discussion with Sally Eaves, Senior Policy Advisor at the Global Foundation for Cyber Studies and Research, and Stuart Dommett, a technologist in the Client Computing Group at Intel, who has years of experience looking at the trends and developments in workforce usage models, requirements, and solutions.

“Now we’ve gone to a hybrid [work] model, there's been a lot of change very quickly,” says Eaves. “I think a lot of organisations are kind of reflecting on what's going well, what we've learned, and what we could do better.” She says some are challenged by integration, complexity, and trying to achieve 360-degree visibility of their end-user assets.

Beware of the ‘productivity tax’

“Organisations need to be sure they’re providing employees with devices that are appropriate to their work requirements,” Dommett advises. If an employee is given a device without the right capabilities, the right performance, less than adequate screen quality, or the right accessories, the business will immediately start paying a “productivity tax,” he adds. Furthermore, he says, appropriate specifications will make it easier to manage those assets more securely.

The Computerworld survey found that 60% of respondents believe the shift to a remote or hybrid workforce has made it easier to manage and maintain their organisation’s IT assets. But Dommett cautions IT about self-judging their performance by how quickly they’ve been able to close out help desk tickets.

“What they’re not capturing is the number of frustrations and ‘spin loops’ that are happening on the devices and crashes where we just accept that we’ve got to reboot,” he says.  

Eaves urges organisations not to focus too narrowly “on security here, or on accessibility there, or on energy consumption here. Let’s be better integrated.”

She says she is seeing growing use of IT asset management dashboards that are “looking at all those different operational responses, all that data that’s coming through, and actually making it easier for people to use every day. That’s how to scale change and make the right types of decisions.”

For many organisations, that means considering the right kind of devices that can balance IT and user needs.

Organisations for the most part understood and accepted the challenges encountered during the pandemic and worked within them, says Dommett.

“Those challenges haven’t changed,” he says, “but now there’s a real focus on improving our processes and improving the efficiency of those processes and tools.”

Better workdays start with better devices. Learn more about laptops on Intel vPro, An Intel Evo Design.

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