During the initial weeks of the COVID-19 crisis, businesses were pressured to quickly tackle the first major hurdles of managing the employee experience for remote workers: setting up laptops, apps and tech tools; defining new processes; and making sure videoconference accounts and collaboration software worked effectively from remote locations. It’s one thing to have the technology in place, however, and quite another to optimize the organization for remote work, especially when it’s mandated on short notice.

A consistent and seamless user experience can be achieved only when productivity and performance remain high. Unfortunately, many businesses lack the robust tools and platforms needed to provide undisrupted service to all remote workers, who are already hampered by a lack of structured routines.

In such times of volatility, here are the most important resources needed to support remote workers and keep productivity high: 

  • Reliable and secure access to business applications. Many organizations have considered virtualizing desktops and applications to enable remote system access. However, setup can be complex and costly. Given that COVID-19 has necessitated remote work, many businesses are seeking a simplified solution that fits well within an OpEx cost structure.

    Desktop as a service (DaaS) is a viable alternative for organizations looking to leverage a virtual infrastructure without the associated complexity. With DaaS, remote workers can use virtual workstations to access the same image from anywhere, anytime and on any device securely. For example, Amazon Web Services (AWS) saw customers scale up their use of Amazon WorkSpaces to support their move to a largely remote workforce. In fact, the company has reported a 10-fold increase in urgent customer scale-up requests for its DaaS system since the outbreak began.

    Before the COVID-19-related lockdowns began, we worked with a leading healthcare analytics and technology company to quickly scale its remote workforce from 100 to 2,000. The company also needed to minimize capital expenditures while meeting rigorous security and privacy regulations for health-related data. We built a highly secure infrastructure to support all 2,000-plus user desktops and 250 applications cost-effectively in less than six months using AWS Cloud and Amazon WorkSpaces. 

  • Application streaming. When employees are geographically distributed and using disparate devices, it’s critical to provide uninterrupted access to desktop applications. However, application performance may vary across desktops, due to factors such as computer speed, available storage space, etc. Many organizations also deal with sensitive and confidential information, which requires stringent security intervention similar to the office/on-premise environment.

    Organizations are turning to application streaming to resolve these issues. This approach enables applications and data to be stored centrally in the cloud and securely streamed through encryption to local devices. Applications can be managed and updated centrally to ensure all users have the same version, without the need for manual updates. At the same time, organizations can scale rapidly without spending a lot of effort acquiring, provisioning and operating the required infrastructure.

    Educational institutions are prime candidates for application streaming solutions, with the move toward online classes. These institutions need to ensure that every student has remote access to classes and needed online course materials/modules. 

  • Reliable unified communications. To continue meeting and collaborating with coworkers and customers, remote workers have been using a combination of digital channels (text, phone, videoconferencing) and devices. The infrastructure to support videoconferencing should be robust enough to ensure reliable performance, security, bandwidth and scalability to avoid frozen screens, hazy video quality, dropped audio, echoing and so on.

    Businesses are increasingly relying on unified communication solutions (such as Amazon Chime), inexpensive high-bandwidth internet connectivity and affordable devices with high-quality audio and video. They’re also increasingly adopting chat and instant messaging software to enable frequent and fast communication between individuals, small groups and departments. Messaging applications have taken on greater importance than ever during the COVID-19 crisis, as they have become a pervasive way of communicating while working from home.

Staying Prepared for the Future of Work

Remote work will continue to be the norm, even as countries and states gradually allow more businesses to re-open. Businesses that adopt smart productivity solutions now will not only facilitate uninterrupted work in the near term but will also enhance the user experience for their employees in the months and years to come.

To learn more, please visit us at our cloud enablement website. 

See our COVID-19 resources page for additional insights and updates.

Amresh Singh

Amresh Singh

Amresh Singh is a leader for the global Digital Workplace Services practice in Cognizant Infrastructure Services. He has more than 18 years of experience working... Read more

RK Kuppurao

RK Kuppurao

RK Kuppurao is a Partner Solutions Architect at AWS. He works with customers and partners to provide guidance on AWS architecture best... Read more

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