Toby Alcock is the Chief Technology Officer for Thomas Duryea Logicalis. Toby has over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry.
Toby Alcock is obsessed about customer problems and how technology can help to build a solid foundation for your business’ digital transformation.
While organisations have scrambled to meet the immediate needs for remote work in the wake of the recent pandemic, moving forward businesses will need to strategically shift or pivot to a “new normal.” TDL highlights that whilst having the backing by a global organisation is key, the ability to duck and weave with changing market conditions and most importantly customer’s needs, is the recipe for ensuring long-term success.
What are the different trends you are seeing with regards to remote work trends in enterprises and SMBs in the recent months?
Most enterprises and SMB’s have adopted remote working because they had no choice. Many are starting to look at the quick fix solution they put in place for large scale working from home and going back to patch up any gaps. Many organisations are providing work from home kits and thinking about how they keep employees motivated and engaged.
Longer term, a number of organisations are considering the question, if and when we are allowed to return to the office, what is the value that the office space gives you that you are missing in a work from home situation? There is a lot more to it than just having rows of desks in an open plan with a table tennis table to make it modern. I believe we will see a trend where enterprises will try to reduce the office floor space commitments on an ongoing basis and provide a more collaborative environment for when people do come into work.
The second trend that we have started to witness is around the birth of real flexibility. We have always had the night owls in the team, and the early risers, and now we can leverage them in a way that they can work according to the time that works best for them, and therefore, extend the overall coverage that we have for our customers. Remote work opens up the potential for capitalising on the part time workers and gig economy. The part-time workforce that may not have been able to take on jobs in the past and a lot of businesses that were not really open to the concept job sharing are now going to be options for competitive advantage.
Finally, we need to look at productivity-focused systems. There was a bubble for the first three or four months because people were not sure as to what they will do without any social interactions etc. But now without other distractions, working from home has been very productive. Our challenge now is to improve our systems to keep the productivity up as these other distractions come back into our new lifestyles.
Coming to the industry vertical, not all sectors have been able to respond to the change equally. Which verticals according to you are adopting it faster?
We have seen the innovation coming from unexpected areas. For example, it has been interesting to see manufacturers pivot their businesses to address new market needs. They are making hand sanitisers and fashion companies are making masks and finding new and innovative opportunities.
Healthcare is another one that has had a lot of forced innovation on them. We have done some great work around telehealth with Star Health and Peninsula Health, for example. These were customers that were mainly working on premises and face-to-face every day. It took a shift in government policy to allow telehealth conferencing, and once they did, these customers have risen to the challenge and enabled that telehealth functionality very quickly.
On the flip side, we are seeing entertainment and live sport, as well as logistics struggling to evolve, and we see a lot of opportunities there for the innovation overall. We see opportunities for logistics and other verticals to extended workforce times or leverage a part-time workforce to improve their customer experience. Whilst we’ve seen a big rise in e-sports in the entertainment industry, this example of innovation is quite isolated so far.
As a leading solutions provider, how is TDL geared to address the growing adoption of Work from Home (WFH) challenges?
As architects of change, TDL is accustomed to providing a blueprint for our customer’s digital transformation. We developed a rapid transformation journey map for our customers at the beginning of the pandemic and found our own experiences were informing the model. TDL are fortunate that the technologies we offer and the services we provide in partnership with organisations like Dell, are the very thing that enable customers and our own employees to work remotely with little disruption. We are also fortunate to have a very resilient and innovative workforce who has found numerous workarounds to deploying solutions remotely at customer sites.
Employee experience and productivity is becoming extremely important while enabling Remote Work Solutions (RWS). Therefore RWS is not about just devices but the entire ecosystem like displays and right peripherals too. What is your take on it?
The first stage of transformation is about enablement and just getting it working. That was point solutions: buy a box, get a laptop, get a camera, and get the people working. That works in the short term, but if you want to maintain productivity, that is where you need to look at the overall solution.
Then there is the question of turning it to a service and charging a flat fee for it to allow the organisation to expand. How do we then help those from other states or countries to connect, share, and collaborate in different time zones? That is much bigger than just getting a laptop and some components together. This is why we talk about productivity-focused systems, as that is the real measure of remote work solutions – how productive can our employees be?
As a leading player in IT Services and solutions in the country, can you share your experience of working with Dell Technologies? How is Dell Technologies helping you address the new customer challenges with regard to RWS?
We have been a focused partner for Dell Technologies for 20 years now. The engagement with Dell Technologies is wide and very transparent, and the real key of our success has been the top-level support which has helped us to tap into all of our global teams and their research, as well as all of Dell Technologies research and expertise. It’s been a great experience bringing that together collaboratively and looking at what is going to be the best outcome for our customers and working on that together.
We take pride in the way that we have been able to listen to our customers and come up with solutions to help them. There is a whole lot of technology within Dell Technologies, and they have been very innovative in helping us with delivery and financing models, which allow us to keep coming back to focus on addressing the customer’s needs.