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Planning the Nuts & Bolts of Employee Experience

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employee experience collage
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If your enterprise is shifting to a hybrid work model in which employees spend more of their time working from home than they did before the pandemic, IT will naturally have to focus more on the quality of their experience than it did pre-COVID.
 
Right now, that experience is uneven. It’s certainly true that today’s remote collaboration software is light-years ahead of what was available not so long ago. That’s been more than enough to keep enterprise teams connected and collaborative for almost a year now. But, going forward, what do we need to make remote collaboration truly enterprise-grade?
 
Phil Edholm, of PKE Consulting, addressed one aspect of this challenge — residential bandwidth — in a No Jitter post that ran just before the holidays. Spurred by carrier advertising around gigabit-to-the-home speeds, Phil wanted to see how much bandwidth a household really needs. He ran the numbers, based on the likely total bandwidth consumption of a household whose uses include everything you can imagine — business videoconferencing, distance learning, gaming. He concluded that total bandwidth usage would fall far short of the gigabit level.
 
Of course, that’s just the last mile. The real challenge is, well, everything else. That’s why I’m really excited about a couple of sessions that will address these issues at our upcoming Enterprise Connect virtual event, “Communications & Collaboration: 2024.” As the name suggests, this event is meant to help enterprise IT/communications decision-makers understand where industry trends are headed and how to prepare for the state of technology three years from now. We’ve got one session on the program that looks at this service challenge from the network side, and one from the end-user side.
 
Alpha-guru Terry Slattery, of Netcraftsmen, will present the network-oriented session, “Reimagining the WAN.” When we think of corporate WANs, site-to-site connections tend to come to mind, and this does make up much of Terry’s presentation. But he’ll also provide context by looking at how overall traffic is shifting.
 
It’s not just that the enterprise network is fragmenting into hundreds or thousands of individual residential broadband connections to the user (we used to say, “client”). Traffic is also fragmenting on the “server” side: Those employees aren’t all connecting back to a corporate data center; they’re connecting to multiple cloud-based services including collaboration (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom, etc.), business (Salesforce), and storage (Box) applications, as well as potentially accessing corporate systems.
 
That means IT is managing the employee experience across seemingly countless variables when it comes to performance: the Internet, the SaaS provider, the corporate data center, and possibly the WAN itself. It also means that, in addition to managing for employee experience, enterprise collaboration leaders must think more and differently about security than they have in the past.
 
Dave Michels, of TalkingPointz, will present the other session, on remote employee experience. In this session, “The Home-Based Office of the Future,” Dave will look at the technical aspects of supporting the user experience of the future — what devices you might deploy to end users and what management systems will be available. He’ll also discuss some of the “softer” issues around where home-based work is headed, including the question of whether attitudes and policies toward travel will change, and how policies may develop around monitoring remote employees.
 
We’ve already entered a new world, one that’s very different from what we inhabited 12 months ago. The next three years will see enterprises adjusting to and building on the changes that have just started to emerge. If you need to understand where all of this is headed, I’d love to have you join us March 9-10 for Enterprise Connect’s virtual event, Communications & Collaboration: 2024. Hope to see you there.

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