We’ve been talking about the new normal for some time, but when will it just become the norm? I think it already has, and businesses need to start playing catch up in 2022.
Simon Bennett is EMEA CTO at Rackspace Technology (opens in new tab).
This can be anything from restructuring the office (opens in new tab) or improving video conferencing (opens in new tab) to make hybrid working (opens in new tab) more seamless, to reassessing the pace of digital transformation (opens in new tab) to suit the current market or optimizing the use of technology that was rushed during the pandemic. Now is the time to engage properly with our not-so-new norm, as the time for excuses is running out.
Innovation without the traditional office
The full-time office is long gone for most of us. If businesses haven’t embraced the flexibility of hybrid models yet, they’ll soon have to in order to compete for the best talent.
Offsetting that is the reality that most of us do want some face-to-face interaction and have missed it, so coming into the office a couple of days a week at most will stay the norm. Meeting in person helps to reignite innovation and can enable us to bounce off one another with ideas and random thoughts, which is far harder to replicate at home or over a screen.
This means that when we go to the office, it’s not to code or do work, but rather to collaborate and innovate, so the office set-up needs to reflect that – we don’t need banks of desks for people to sit at, for example.
What’s more, while flexibility is key, structure is also crucial. Businesses that coordinate office attendance and restructure the office will have much more success at enabling cross pollination across the company. Organizations simply can’t rely on this to happen organically on a long-term basis.
Coordinating office attendance also allows employees (opens in new tab) to network with the wider business, instead of just their team who they speak with on a daily basis anyway. In the long term, this is crucial for their professional growth and improvement.
Let’s solve video calls
Every business seems to use a different collaboration (opens in new tab) or video calling platform – whether it’s Microsoft Teams, Slack, Zoom or Google Meet.
That’s fine when collaborating internally, but what about when we need to connect with customers or stakeholders? We’re left faffing around with multiple tools a day, switching between platforms that essentially perform the same function.
It often feels quite ridiculous, using up to five different tools a day just to have conversations with customers. And it is often clunky too, taking more time to join the calls and adding to frustrations.
Well, it’s time to put a stop to it. 2022 must come with good news of a solution that enables all of these platforms to interact seamlessly and us all to join calls and meetings directly from our service of choice.
It’s like phone networks. It doesn’t matter what network you, your family or your friends are on, you can call anyone from whatever device you’re using and communicate seamlessly. It’s time that businesses can do the same.
DX is about experience not speed
Digital transformation was vital for business continuity during the pandemic and organizations were willing to take risks in order to stay afloat.
This has consequently increased organizations' appetite for risk, but also altered expectations as leaders have realized that transformations which once took months can now be achieved in a matter of weeks or even days.
However, customers are fickle and user experience when it comes to business change is becoming a greater concern than when customers were more lenient throughout the pandemic.
As such, businesses are coming to realize that they might have to sacrifice some of the pace of their digital transformation journeys to ensure that customer experience (opens in new tab) remains brilliant as ultimately this is more important.
Gartner is behind the curve – cloud native is so last year
Gartner has predicted a rise in the use of cloud native platforms for 2022, but the fact is it’s already happening, and the amount of cloud native work has increased a lot in the past 18 months.
Multicloud (opens in new tab) is ready and customers now don’t want to, and simply won’t, buy from just one provider. The best way to make a success of a multicloud environment and enjoy the most benefit from it is then to write apps that are portable.
The key now is to ensure these multicloud environments are constantly being optimized and that businesses are using the right platforms at the right time, and know what these are. Working with the right partner on this and benefitting from their expertise is crucial.
While a hot talking point in the media for some time, COP26 has certainly focused people’s attention on our collective climate responsibilities. Consumers as well as businesses are becoming much more environmentally aware and are now turning this awareness into active decision making.
For consumers, this means looking at the credentials of an organization whey wish to purchase from, which is starting to have a noticeable impact on decisions and behaviors.
For businesses, especially those which have made their own commitment toward carbon neutrality, the expectation is being placed upon their own supply chain to match these goals. This is already becoming a key requirement to engage, and will only increase over the next year.
One thing we’ve learned from the past 18 months or so is that the only thing we can predict in this world is time. As a new yearly cycle is about to restart, only time will tell whether the trends discussed here will come to light.
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