How Remote Work Makes IT Challenging - Spoke
Updated: May 17
There’s no doubt that, for better or worse, a new era of remote work has comfortably established itself in our everyday lives. Working from home has definitely treated us with many personal benefits, but when it comes to management, this recent trend has presented challenges for the IT professionals responsible for keeping their companies running.
Modern IT Challenges
Procurement & Provisioning
A great example of this is the procuring and provisioning of equipment for an IT team. This has always been a complex and time-consuming process even under the best of circumstances, but when team members are working remotely, this causes demand to become completely fractured. Picture a team of ten employees: once working side by side under a single roof, they are now divided into different time zones or even continents—while still demanding the same work-flexibility and speed from cloud-based software.
One major challenge of procuring equipment for these remote IT teams is the fact that there are often multiple equipment and service providers involved. This can make it difficult to get a clear picture of the available options, especially when working at the international scale, which severely burdens the efficiency of price negotiation and delivery times. To make procurement matters even more messy, these different suppliers have different tech support systems and integration capabilities, which creates even more complications when trying to set up and manage the same equipment for different locations.
Today, companies want to provision and deploy with minimal human labor involved, using mobile device management (MDM) to achieve zero-touch deployment. This is especially important for remote teams, as it allows IT managers to smoothly get new devices and software up and running without having to spend exorbitant amounts of time being physically present to set them up. While this sounds great on paper, though, actually implementing these technologies can be a major project for any organization, and it requires careful planning and coordination to ensure that everything is set up properly.
But that’s not where the struggles end. This entire time, we’ve been discussing remote-work struggles in implementing technologies and best practices for incumbent employees—but how about the other two ends of the spectrum?
Onboarding & Offboarding
Onboarding and offboarding employees are the hardest moments in IT. Doing so remotely, even with the best practices and tech, is incredibly burdensome. Onboarding or releasing employee relationships at a remote level can cause security issues, especially at an international level. Newly onboarded employees face wait times stretching into weeks or even months to receive their required equipment, creating a lack of transparency between employers and employees right off the bat and potentially creating a disgruntled atmosphere around the company as a result.
BYOD & Security
There is, of course, the possibility of “bring your own device” (BYOD) policies. While BYOD can offer some benefits in terms of convenience and cost savings, it also introduces a vast number of risks that must be managed. For example, if employees are using their own devices to access company data and systems, it can be more difficult to ensure that these devices are secure and compliant. This is especially true when it comes to offboarding, as it can be difficult to track down and wipe company data from personal devices.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations had strict policies in place to ensure that company-owned devices were well-tracked and secured. These policies often included things like tagging devices, keeping them in the office, and having strict controls on when they could be taken out of the office. However, the shift to remote work has meant that many employees are now taking large amounts of company property home with them, which presents a significant property-loss risk along with the prior security ones.
Proper management and asset tracking practices do help, but the fact that employees are often taking their devices with them all around the globe. This makes it far more difficult to keep track of where devices are and how they are being used, as well as to monitor for potential issues or security breaches. In addition, tracking and managing assets becomes more complex when employees are using a variety of different devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones, which may all have different hardware and software configurations. Additionally, we know that physically tagging or marking devices is one of the major practices which help in minimizing security or tracking issues, but this is quite a burdensome task with the currently existing, fractured low-service VAR suppliers.
How Spoke Can Help
These issues are daunting, but luckily, Spoke was created for the purpose of combating them all, one by one. At Spoke, we have meticulously crafted a three-step solution, boiling our process down to procurement, provision, and management.
Procurement with Spoke
Spoke helps companies with procurement by offering a simplified and automated process that combines the roles of IT, HR, and Finance under one service. This one-stop-shop solution streamlines procurement and reduces the process from several complex steps to a single click of a button.
Spoke has global reach and works with vendors and suppliers worldwide to provide live stock management and ensure timely delivery of products and software. With partnerships across various industry-leading suppliers, Spoke cuts down onboarding time from several hours to just 15 minutes, requiring only a single admin request. Within a week of the company's request, all equipment is deployed by Spoke, ensuring employees are ready to succeed on Day 1.
Provisioning with Spoke
Spoke provides comprehensive provisioning services through selected MDM software and vetted IT service providers. We help you maintain stock in each of your core geographies through our unique global inventory maintenance system, automating top-ups when necessary. Spoke covers everything from furnishing to office materials to necessary devices and software, regardless of your location and when you need it.
Additionally, Spoke enforces the configuration standards you desire throughout your business. Whether you want to tweak an existing DEP and MDM layout or create a new one from scratch, we help you find the best layout possible and apply those standards to all company devices.
Once software and equipment is all ready to go, Spoke offers unprecedented flexibility in deployment and adjustment throughout the future steps of procurement. We organize and distribute pre-configured devices to new employees, saving your time and money, as well as managing company-wide refreshes through a simple few clicks of a button using our already-existing integration with couriers and service providers.
Management with Spoke
To make sure everything continues running like clockwork, Spoke works with its IT service partners to ensure that any knots are immediately smoothed out, and that all these processes work with the greatest financial efficiency possible. Spoke carefully allocates budgets, tracks shipments, and bundles invoices whenever possible to save you valuable hours and resources. All assets are tracked and recorded through us.
When it comes time to part ways with employees, Spoke initiates a quick and seamless offboarding process that ensures all company property is retrieved safely, while ensuring both parties step away happily. Returned devices are data-wiped, inspected, and redeployed. And once it's time to upgrade stock, Spoke will help you sell or donate assets, and then refresh—restarting your three-step Spoke cycle once again!