Although large firms are better prepared for the home office, there are doubts about what will happen to SMEs with fewer technological resources
The coronavirus epidemic is leading governments to take drastic measures. And teleworking is the fastest option to prevent the circulation of people at a time when there are already dozens of imported cases of coronavirus in Argentina.
Are companies prepared, both from connectivity and from systems, for more employees to telework? The answer depends on the type of company. Those who have already uploaded to the cloud will be able to adapt better, while those who still hesitate should speed up the process.
Large organizations are emerging as the best prepared to adopt the home office on a massive level. In fact, they are those that already have implemented a day or two of remote work for their employees, because that alternative is usually a way of attracting and retaining their professionals.
But what about SMEs that, in addition to being the main creators of work, are the ones that must be updated at the systems level and also promote a new work culture?
70% of Argentine small and medium-sized companies use physical servers and mobile applications, almost half in the cloud, according to a 2018 Microsoft study by Kantar Millward Brown.
99% have connectivity, 73% use physical storage servers and 68%, mobile applications. This shows that, in addition to the Internet, the smartphone is one more working tool.
The survey revealed, in turn, that 48% who adopted the cloud do so, basically, for the storage and processing of business information. And when looking at that data a little more deeply, productivity and collaboration tools are the most used, in 80% of cases, practically.
Seen this way, it seems that Argentine SMEs are more than prepared to face a massive adoption of teleworking. But having cloud applications aimed at improving business processes, productivity and collaboration does not necessarily mean that the company’s organization is aligned with having a certain number of people doing home office.
At this point, the looks differ.
Sebastián Aveille, SME manager of Microsoft in Argentina, assured iProfesional that the high percentage of use of collaboration and productivity tools allows us to think that “those companies that already have cloud solutions should not have major problems moving towards teleworking “
“For those not yet, it is important to be clear that the implementation of collaboration tools involves few hardware requirements and low implementation efforts, since they are software-as-a-service solutions that are paid for use. We are optimistic regarding the evolution that telework has at this juncture, “he added.
“In recent years, many companies have adopted telework as part of their talent attraction and retention policy.. As a Microsoft and Citrix partner, we have advised on the implementation of necessary technologies that allow employees to access their desktop and applications from any device and anywhere, “he explained to iProfessional Fernanda Bruno, director of corporate IT solutions for Grupo DATCO.
That is, there is a movement oriented in that direction. In fact, a report from the IDC consultancy for this 2020 indicated that “40% of the main companies in Latin America will depend exclusively on improving their products and services, making the leap towards digitization”, but warns that “Argentina remains a long way to go in terms of awareness and policies that promote migration towards 4.0 “.
And since cloud is that first step to move towards digital transformation, those firms that still hesitate will be even further behind. And, in case they have to implement home office strategies, it will be even more complicated.
In fact, the same Microsoft study indicates that the percentage of resistance to migrate to a cloud environment is still high. So if there is no cloud, how can there be teleworking?
“The situation is heterogeneous because, just as in some spaces there is maturity and in others not, in certain places it is easier to implement these strategies than in others. There are more flexible companies and others that are not so flexible. Medium and large companies have been promoting teleworking for years and the fact of uploading applications in the cloud makes it easier for them to do things via the home office, “Mónica Bobrowski, director of Human Capital at Practia, told iProfesional.
individual work and on team
“I think that in Argentina there are a large number of companies that have a challenge ahead and will have to work in that direction. Because, in addition to collaborative tools that allow online calls and chat, those that enable teams to work will also be needed jointly and remotely “Bruno added.
In any case, he considered that the greatest test is presented to SMEs who, according to their criteria, “must implement solutions in the cloud or virtual environments that allow employees to access their applications from any device and anywhere, as well as tools that facilitate their teams to work collaboratively, in addition to videoconferencing, chatting and sharing information. “
But just as digital transformation is not just about incorporating technology to automate processes, it takes a new way of doing business, with teleworking it seems that something similar happens.
“For those companies that are not accustomed to working remotely, the main thing is that the decision is made from the top and work firmly to empower employees with the necessary tools. We know that digital transformation is not something that happens from one day to the next, but given the situation it is necessary to act quickly and with conviction “, emphasized Aveille.
Bobrowski said that while companies go to the cloud, “from there to allowing their employees to work remotely is something else. And if they are really prepared, we will see when this happens.”
He added that “although many companies already have the teleworking modality implemented twice a week, it will be necessary to see what happens if it has to happen every day. Because there you will effectively see how the system works and how work is organized internally. And if the case of class suspension came, there would be another problem to solve “.
For the executive, one of the aspects to be solved in teleworking within medium and small companies has to do with “how the identity of the people is maintained, what climate and containment activities are addressed through the systems. There are a journey that is done, but the main thing to consider is containment. “
The executive indicated that, once the technology has been resolved, the next step is how to organize the different areas, because those who make the home office should have a space to do their tasks individually and another where the meeting is facilitated, the meeting .
Entering the company remotely via a VPN (virtual private network) and accessing information with the appropriate security strategies (this point is usually an argument to avoid going to the cloud) are usually the ways in which companies they board the home office.
For this reason, specialists agreed that the biggest problem is those firms that did little or almost nothing. Those that have not yet migrated to the cloud are the most disadvantaged in implementing such a strategy.
What about Internet access?
What about connectivity? Beyond the discussion about who absorbs the cost of the home office, the truth is that this aspect seems to have two sides. On the one hand, the demand for greater bandwidth as a result of an increase in online activity. On the other, home connectivity. Two worlds that, for now, do not seem to go hand in hand.
“Connectivity in Argentina is not a barrier considering a scenario in which, for health reasons, companies must send their workers en masse to do home offices,” said Ariel Graizer, president of the Argentine Chamber of Internet Companies ( CABASE).
The executive recalled that Argentina has a 70% penetration of broadband service, with speeds exceeding 6 Mb. “All of the country’s urban centers have good coverage and quality of service,” he added.
In this sense, he argued that today millions of households have connections that allow them to access multimedia content such as Netflix, YouTube or online games “that consume much more bandwidth than the corporate applications that most people might need to telework. “
Although this is so, there are those who emphasize the stability or latency level that, at times, tend to have home providers. Because one thing is a bond that a company can hire, and another different thing to be able to telework at home without interruptions.
“When you do a home office, you are not permanently connected or uploaded to the cloud or making a video conference. The subject is the home provider, because they can sell you something, but if the day you telework they are all connected at the same time and that collapses , we will not know until that moment “Bobrowski considered.
From Microsoft, the present and future look is more auspicious. Aveille indicated that “it is probable that the situation has forced many companies to move to remote work and that this has shown them that the levels of productivity that are reached are higher. The change is real and it is here: the jobs are changing and will continue to do so. This will be positive for society. The technology evolved to the point where it can demonstrate to us that we can work remotely in the same way that we could normally do.
Companies that have already faced a culture of teleworking are better prepared for a massive advent of this modality. Those that don’t even have a cloud strategy will have more problems.
Connectivity promises to respond to a massive demand, although there are those who consider that everything will depend on what happens if millions of people come to the home office simultaneously.
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