The Biggest Proof of Concept in History

06 November 2020

Is this the Biggest Proof of Concept in History?

We recently created a study on the effect COVID-19 has had on businesses, and here are the results… 

Since the proliferation of Cloud and Software as a Service (SaaS), over the past ten years or so, the debate around allowing employees to live more flexible working lives through remote working has been ongoing. In recent years Google Workspace (formerly G Suite), Office 365, Teams, and Zoom are making it increasingly easier for businesses to mobilise their workforce, collaborate with their teams, and continue speaking directly to their customers from any location, on any device.

Despite this, progress has been surprisingly slow. According to the Office of National Statistics, the percentage of the UK population mainly working from home in 2019 was 5.1%  compared to 4.3% in 2015 with only 30% of people having “ever” worked from home.*

That is until now,  in June 2020 at the height of the Pandemic the ONS stated 49% of workers reported working from home at some point in the seven days to 14 June, up from 41% the previous week.* As we head into a second lockdown we would like to think that businesses will be better equipped to work from home. 

Is this the biggest Proof of Concept in history?

If you asked the average Financial Services IT department 9 months ago to enable every member of staff to work from home tomorrow, or a retailer to close high street stores and transition to a 100% virtual shopping experience within days, they would have told you it can’t be done!. Yet this is exactly what they were asked to do. (and they did it)

 These businesses- thousands of them,  were forced into the biggest Proof of Concept in history.  While many would agree “The Concept ” has been proven, we should now ask what we have learned and what we will do differently? 

It’s time to ask yourself some questions. 

How confident are you that the platform is scalable enough, secure enough, reliable enough, easy to use, cost-effective at scale? How prepared are you for when something like this happens again?

• How has this changed your business? 

• Will this change your approach to remote working?

• Will you reduce office space? 

• Does this mean you can now hire from a broader talent pool if the location is no longer an issue?

• Will you offer more flexible working options in the future?

Will we go back to how we worked before?

No-one knows for sure but I believe the short answer is probably not. In a recent Netpremacy survey of UK knowledge workers 82.6% said that pre – COVID-19 lockdown, they were expected in the office every day

Fast forward to now.

47.8% said that they would be allowed to choose how to split their time between working from home and the office.

netpremacy covid 19 survey

39.1% said that they would now be working from home permanently. Leaving just 13% of the respondents having to go back to the office full time when the pandemic is over.

This is a big shift and if we listen to the  95.7% who prefer working from home and the 60.9% who felt like they were more productive, then,  I believe the majority will have to offer more flexible home working practices in the future. 

netpremacy covid 19 surveynetpremacy covid 19 survey

And those that don’t?… 

Well,  at the very least, now more than ever,  they understand how SaaS and the Cloud platforms such as Google Workspace, Teams, and Zoom, can help prepare for an ever-increasingly unpredictable future.

In our whitepaper ‘Three ways Google Workspace helps business thrive and plan,’  we outline how our customers have been using Google Workspace to thrive throughout this pandemic as well as plan for an increasingly uncertain future.

Download your copy here. 

Dan SullivanDan Sullivan is a Cloud and SaaS technology veteran currently working with Google Cloud Premier Partner and Google 2019 Work Transformation Partner of the year Netpremacy. With more than  20 years of technology experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses deliver game-changing business and technology transformations.

If  you would like to learn more about how Google Workspace can help your company adapt and thrive, please contact Dan on: dsullivan@netpremacy.com

 

*https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/healthandsocialcare/healthandwellbeing/bulletins/coronavirusandthesocialimpactsongreatbritain/19june2020 

24 September 2020

Adapting to a more digital world – Top tips to ensure you are set up to take your work home

 

Businesses around the world have been working remotely in a more permanent way for over 6 months now. To put that into perspective…that’s half of 2020. Now, in light of the Prime Minister’s recent announcement, it looks like working from home will continue long into 2020.  We are over the initial shock to the system, but we need to keep on top of keeping our employees happy and motivated and start putting into place measures that are more permanent. 

Netpremacy was born in the cloud, and working remotely is what we teach to other businesses across the country. Which is why we wanted to share our experience and best practices with businesses that were not traditionally used to remote working. Office culture has changed dramatically, however, employees’ mental health and wellbeing is important, as is keeping business running as usual. 

Working from home has benefits and struggles you should consider:

Benefits 

  • Increased productivity 
  • Reduced travel costs
  • Reduced office maintenance costs 
  • Good for the environment
  • Increased flexibility 
  • Good for the environment

Struggles

  • Difficult to unplug from work
  • Loneliness
  • Different working environments
  • Distractions at home
  • Affects mental health
  • Hard to stay motivated

 

Do you have the correct setup?

When the UK was sent home to work, it was done overnight in a panic. Businesses didn’t have a choice and had to ensure their employees were sent home to keep them, and the rest of the country safe. 

Now we have started to adapt, more businesses have decided that working from home benefits them in several ways. Businesses are making the decision to keep this a more permanent solution, and we need to ensure that our employees have the correct setup and working environment. This can have a major impact on a person’s physical, and mental health. There are some simple steps that should help you and your employees to work comfortably and effectively. 

Ensure that when working from home you have somewhere comfortable to sit, that supports your back and neck. Yes, it’s a novelty working from your bed, but how much goodwill that do your back in the long run? The answer is not a lot! 

Working from a clean, and clutter-free environment is another way to ensure employee happiness. Make sure the area you are working in is free from distractions such as the TV, and is a clean space, to keep your mind clutter-free, and to create a productive environment in which to work. 

 Having a consistent spot that you “go to” every day to work helps your brain associate that spot with getting work done. Choose the same spot for a few days and your brain will learn that when you’re in that spot, you’re focused.

Customise your working environment, so that you feel comfortable and at home- make it a place you WANT to go to – just like you would at your desk at work! 

Ensure that your MDM is set up correctly

Mobile Device Management is essential when working remotely, which is exactly why employers need to make sure that this is set up correctly so that company devices can be managed no matter where your employees are working. Through Google’s single console, your company is able to manage the entire enterprise mobility. This provides comprehensive protection whilst being easy to manage.

G Suite admins can now define custom rules that trigger on device events and have associated actions. When an event specified in a rule occurs on a device within your organisation with a G Suite Enterprise license, the corresponding action you have set will automatically be executed by Mobile Management.

• Easy for admins to enroll all company owned devices for MDM

• Easily enforce device-owner mode on multiple Android company-owned devices

• Not be dependent on the end-user to enable device-owner mode

• Gather info on each and every Android device/app accessing G Suite

Read more on how to ensure your MDM is set up correctly, or contact a member of our team who will be happy to help you get set up. 

Keep your teams secure 

Security is important, no matter where you are located. Luckily, much of the Google technology we use has many security features already built-in (learn more here). But it’s always a good idea to have multiple security procedures in place to keep your employees, and data, extra secure. 

The challenge of remote working, when it comes to security, is that if something does go wrong, your IT team is not there to fix any issues. However, by utilising the Google Admin Control allows you to manage devices remotely, which is useful in a time where everyone has been sent home to work. Another suggestion would be to allow only company approved apps to be installed in the work profile, so your employees are not using apps on the work profile that your business has not approved. It is also recommended to set up dedicated work profiles that are isolated from personal apps, and you should make sure data sharing is restricted. These simple steps can help to keep your employees and your company data secure. 

Setting up employee devices correctly is a fool-proof way of making sure data cannot be accessed by people outside your company. The data is encrypted, and in case the device is lost or stolen, it can be wiped remotely. The new Advanced Protection Programme is an added level of protection for users who are more likely to undergo security challenges. This uses security keys which prevents unauthorised access to your Google account and protects the user from harmful downloads. New updates and security features are automatically added, so it’s one less thing to think about. 

Employees are generally kept safe from phishing attacks, as Gmail has in-built features that cleverly identifies and flags them; however, it is good practice to train employees, making them aware of what to look for and how to handle these types of cyberattacks. 

Adhering to these suggestions will definitely help to keep your mind at ease, however, if you have any further queries or questions our support and security teams are available to help. 

Regular communication & human interaction 

It’s important to remember that everyone is in their own unique environment, which may make working from home more challenging. Some will have a dedicated office space, whilst others are working in a one-bedroom studio. Whatever your situation is, you need to make sure it works for you, whilst being able to communicate with your teammates. 

Regular communication is important to stay motivated, and to keep up the morale too. Schedule catch-ups with your co-workers, so you are on top of your workload, but also socialising with the people who you usually spend most of your working week with.

Probably the most obvious, but it does get overlooked more often than not – take your lunch break! It can be quite difficult to cut off from work when you are in your own home, so step away from the computer, clear your head, and refresh. If you can spend your lunch break outside, that’s even better.

Keep things fun

Office culture differs with each organisation. Distractions in the office may make things difficult to get things done. Equally, you may find it easier to focus in the workplace more than anywhere else. No matter what you are used to, this is your opportunity to make things fun and make it work around you and your workload. Perhaps suggesting an online office quiz, or meeting up virtually on a Friday afternoon for a virtual drink will help keep things fresh!

Being successful in a digital environment is not just about getting the work done. Balancing health, both physical and mental, whilst having the right technology to communicate, collaborate, and keep your data secure is the key to allowing your business to excel.

Contact us and speak to one of our experts today about the technology we use in order to thrive in a digital world and remember to look after your mental health in times of uncertainty!

20 July 2020

Netpremacy Next Highlights: Week 1

 

It’s fair to say that the opening week of Google Cloud Next online did not disappoint. With a range of product updates, industry insights and sessions on diversity and equality, Google hit the nail on the head with a strong and exciting start. We can’t wait to see what unfolds over the next 9 weeks. 

We have compiled just some of the updates and sessions that stood out to Netpremacy in particular and have rounded up what each session covered, and how you can access the on-demand content. 


Opening keynote

The week began with the opening Keynotes from Thomas Kurian. 

This session covered how Google, and companies across the globe have adapted to a changing world amidst a global pandemic, and how Google technologies have made that possible. Thomas spoke around how the future of work is going to be more digital and collaborative. He touched on how businesses have had to accelerate their digital transformation projects and bring them forward by 2-3 years to adapt to the changes that have happened since the pandemic. In addition to this, he spoke around how businesses are reimagining the way they work and that data powered innovation will make this possible. Watch the full on demand keynote here


Product Updates 

Google Meet in Gmail

Some exciting changes were announced around how Gmail is going to be made into a more collaborative space, with tools from Hangouts and more all being accessible in one interface. This change will be rolled out to G Suite users by introducing a dedicated Meet tab in the Gmail iOS and Android mobile apps. This means users will soon be able to join secure video meetings directly in Gmail without needing to open another app on their phone. The full update can be found here.

BigQuery omni release 

Another exciting announcement was on BigQuery Omni. This is a flexible, multi-cloud analytics solution that lets you cost-effectively access and securely analyse data across Google Cloud, Amazon Web Services, and Azure. All of this is now possible without leaving the familiar BigQuery user interface. Using standard SQL and the same BigQuery APIs you will be able to gain critical business insights from a single pane of glass. Due to BigQuery Omni being powered by Anthos, businesses will now be able to analyse data without having to manage the underlying infrastructure.

Google Meet Updates 

Next up was the announcement of many new changes coming to Google Meet in Q3, and how this can help businesses to become more seamless when communicating through Google Meet. There are many new features that will be rolled out soon that will make for a more streamlined and enhanced experience. We recently wrote a blog on the new features coming soon, read more here. 


Industry Insights

As well as product updates and announcements, Google released a series of online content that put into perspective how different industries have adapted along with the pandemic. These industry insights have helped businesses gain confidence on how they can successfully adapt and thrive due to Google technologies. 

Retail 

In this briefing, Google discusses the recent challenges in retail and what they are working on to help their customers. Digital transformation in retail has been happening long before COVID-19, but now businesses are seeing a sense of urgency to innovate faster. To help tackle these challenges, Google has been working on industry specific solutions, through driving operational improvements, capturing digital and omnichannel revenue growth, and helping make data driven decisions. Watch the full session here.

Manufacturing 

Here Google addresses what the “new normal” is for businesses in the manufacturing industry, and how they have moved and adapted throughout the years when faced with serious disruption. We have witnessed unprecedented disruption to a strong economy and our daily lives. This has included dropping oil prices, record unemployment, demand uncertainty, supply chain disruption, major austerity measures, unprecedented government intervention and unstable credit markets. Watch the full session here to learn how manufacturing businesses have moved to a more digital environment to adapt and continue to thrive.

Healthcare 

This session covers how healthcare has had to adapt their technologies and make changes that would have taken 10 years, in just 10 weeks. It explains how Google technology has been helping with the fight against COVID-19. Whether it’s been helping people access information, supporting hospitals and research, or working alongside customers to build a strong foundation for the future. In particular how Google meet has been used to replace in-person appointments when social distancing measures have not allowed face-to-face appointments. Technology has been shaping the world’s response to coronavirus and that doesn’t stop in just the healthcare sector. Watch the full session here. 

Earthquake detection 

A recent experiment using one of our subsea fiber optic cables showed that it could be useful for earthquake and tsunami warning systems around the globe. This is exciting news for the advancement in technology, and how it could potentially help us to avoid or cope with natural disasters in a much more controlled and successful way. Read the full blog post here

These are just some of the announcements and links to the new content that Google Cloud Next has pushed out in week 1, and we can’t wait to see what week 2 brings. To see the full announcements and updates, head over to Google’s blog. To book onto week 2, productivity and collaboration head over to the Google Cloud Next website.