Onboarding: The Sudden Rise of the New Normal
The requirements associated with onboarding a new employee can be a very smooth experience, somewhat uneven, or a complete cluster. And this is under normal circumstances. At the moment, we are about as far from normal as possible, and yet life goes on. People continue to start new jobs, but in a framework where the expectation is that the worker will be employed remotely (at least for the foreseeable future). At the same time, existing employees have relocated en masse, and IT is racing to stay ahead of a curve that seems to get steeper with every passing day.
So what are the critical challenges to onboarding while the entire workforce is in flux? This essentially comes down to three broad variables.
Visibility - When an employee needs to work remotely (or is onboarded), several elements need to be addressed, hopefully quickly, and preferably in order. The specific asset (PC, monitor, keyboard, etc.) needs to be tagged, inventoried, and associated with both an individual employee and their relevant cost center. The apps that are specific to that device (OS, on-device apps, subscription services associated with the user, and their security profile) all need to be contextualized, tracked and managed. It's relatively complicated when it's one employee who is either onboarding or changing their usage profile, but when it's thousands at once (as has been happening in the past few days) and companies continue to onboard at the same time, the requirements jump to a whole new level of complexity. Knowing who has what where is where IT Asset Management solutions earn their keep, and visibility into the IT estate is more critical now than it ever has been.
Control - Capturing relevant data during the transitions related to either onboarding or going remote is critical, but this then becomes an ongoing process, not a point in time. Once everyone settles into the new normal, the same day to day challenges (maintaining an accurate usage profile, keeping security patches current, minimizing shadow IT, keeping control of employee expenses associated with equipment usage that falls outside the scope of IT), all of this continues to execute, and possibly with more wobble in the system since the whole operational model is shifting. This is likely to be less of an issue for larger enterprises who are generally used to a distributed (remote) workforce and have well-established procedures to fall back on. The real challenge is with the mid-market, who is very suddenly faced with a mandated new reality for which they are ill-prepared.
Continuity - All business runs on process, regardless of the associated deliverable. Everyone is part of a process chain (or a subset of a supply chain), and every link in that process chain is supported by IT infrastructure that includes PCs, servers, cloud infrastructure, mobile devices, etc. Business continuity is (clearly) critical to business success, and maintaining this continuity is enabled by the deployment of an IT Asset Management (ITAM) infrastructure. ITAM solutions provide the visibility, control, and continuity needed to ensure an enterprise’s core competency is not compromised by shifts in the operating environment
We are seeing this played out over and over, and it's not going well. A simple example is local schools (K-12) who are closing on very short notice, asking students to take classes remotely and have no plan in place to manage such an abrupt transition so quickly. The school administrators are literally making up their responses on the fly, and this is one of those instances where an IT Asset Management system can provide both the visibility and control they are going to desperately need if our kids have any chance of graduating on schedule. The same framework applies to nearly any mid-market business these days; if you’ve assumed a remote workforce, to begin with, you’re probably in reasonable shape. Of course, most companies have not, do not have the proper ITAM system in place, and are at best relying on spreadsheets to keep track of the IT estate. These companies are already far behind the curve before even leaving the gate, and any hope of catching up requires infrastructure to support the new model we’re all being forced into.
A well-designed IT Asset Management solution can be a real panacea under the current circumstances, both to help with transitional requirements as well as going forward once everything settles. For further information, please visit contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org