Published on
March 19, 2020
Author
Mauro Toselli
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Is your company ready for Smart Working?

Published on
2020-03-19 12:11:25
Author
Mauro Toselli

3x3 key points to ensure productivity even in critical times

The term Smart Working, or "agile work" as is indicated by wikipedia, indicates a mode of work in which the worker can access company resources in almost any condition and place with the guarantee of a productivity comparable to that which would be obtained by working in the office.

Regardless of what it is called, the beginning of 2020 has forced virtually all Italian companies to activate remote working strategies for all their employees.

We all found ourselves having to react to an urgent need, for which someone had prepared but in reality, not all. We have identified three grades of preparation:

  • Static/Teleworking system:

    • Indicates those companies that have not prepared their infrastructure and procedures for Smart Working or have implemented a telework protocol, intended as the implementation of "rigid" links to a few workers in remote locations, typically the worker’s homes. Normally these connections are made through VPN accesses often, alas, shared between multiple users.
  • On Demand:

    • Some companies have created protocols more or less rapid implementation that allow users on the move to be able to connect to some resources and services critical to productivity, such as managerial, crm, various files on file systems. Typically these connections are made through the use of nominal Vpns and also configured "on the fly" based on roles and permissions so as to ensure access to users only to the resources that compete.
  • Smart Working by Design:

    • In this case every single element of the infrastructure and every single business service has been designed and developed to be accessible in complete safety from every part of the world and even in conditions of not optimal connectivity. So no distinction is made on what to make available or not, everything is always available and accessible to those who have the right to use it without having to prepare anything. Paradoxically, even if you work directly from the office, the mode of access to the resource or service is the same as when you work remotely.

Now let’s ask ourselves, what level is our company?

GMDE is definitely in the Smart Working by Design range.
It is a mandatory condition for us that it must be in the DNA of each of our procedures and in every element of the infrastructure to ensure that we can continue to guarantee the services to our customers in all kinds of conditions.
The recent COVID-19 emergency has changed little in the way we work, whether from the office or from other locations all the necessary services are reachable, people are in constant contact with each other and with customers without productivity downturn both thanks to conference call tools but above all to the correct use of the same, to the planning of operations and communications and to the secure sharing of information, documents and files.
But how is this achieved?
Thanks to the advice of GMDE and the use of the platform.
Here are the 3 main points on which to work.

1- Identifying strategic processes for your business

Critical and delicate operation that must not become tiring, long or "twisted". At this stage, thanks to its senior analysts, GMDE can be of great help to companies wishing to do a deep and systematic introspection work on their own procedures. Thanks to innovative tools and techniques, we are able to facilitate analysis processes to identify strengths and strengths.
As a preliminary exercise we try to raise the level of visualization of the company structure and we compose a model in which there are 3 fundamental elements:

  1. The Company as a business/function delivered
  2. The "machine" that keeps the business alive, providing the lifeblood needed for operations
  3. Operators who feed the machine, who know how it works and who keep it operational

Now we work on the model, for example, but not only:

  • We call the elements by their own name

  • Let’s define what are the "tubes/connectors", what goes in there? Which are vital and cannot be interrupted?

  • Who are the operators that make everything possible? how do they intervene on the "machine"? what do they insert? How?

2- Making Information Shared for a Winning Strategy

The information and data needed to implement the business strategy should be available to all those who need to use it, be correct and be up-to-date, at all times. Also in this case, GMDE can put at the service of the Customer its experience of over 25 years in the management of data and information. The structural analysis on the data patrimony will allow to outline an efficient, robust and secure Data-Model, that can be shared in a way regulated by roles and permissions to all the users and operators, both internal and external.

And the secret is sharing instead of distributing.

Let’s take an example: imagine having to manage the pricing for a new line of products to be published on the website. Traditionally an Excel spreadsheet is created with the basic data and distributed (often sent by email) to all those who take part in the process and with instructions diversified by business sector.

Everyone will have a copy of the data and start working on it, and since the data is resident on their PC, It is possible that everyone works and makes changes that can impact on the work of others without them knowing it if not at the time when the various Excel sheets will have to be re-consolidated into one.

The result? Loss of efficiency, very high time-to-market, errors and obviously a high waste of resources and consequent costs.
We can avoid this by improving the way our data and information is handled:

Centralization of data, sharing of information, distribution of access

Through the use of multi-channel management platforms such as the one proposed by GMDE it is possible to centralize all the information in a single point/repository. What will then be distributed will no longer be the data, but access to the data itself. In this way the operators will act on information not replicated and original, whose updates will be visible to all in real time.

The result? Time-to-market close to zero, costs and times of data reconciliation equal to zero, early identification of any errors thanks to the collaborative approach and, last but not least, maximum effectiveness.

3- Definition of the scope of data access and workflow

Once developed the two previous points will be very clear the scenario of data, information, actors, processes and applications involved. The next step is to establish the necessary conditions for Smart Working, namely: Who has to access What, When and How.

Once again GMDE is able to support the Customer in mapping the matrices of roles and user permissions, in the construction of controlled workflows and in the definition of how to access the data and also the protection of the same.

An organized flow with notifications support and a precise definition of permissions make sure that every user is focused, focused on their work and doesn’t have to waste time looking for what they need or what they need to do.

Reduce waiting times, limit the need for mandatory comparison between users even if only to understand how to proceed and give security to those who work to always have the data updated, They will drastically reduce project crossing times resulting in lower costs and increased productivity.

To give an example here too, consider the evolution of a project, to facilitate understanding we can imagine having to create a catalog or update the site with new products or organize a marketing campaign.

The black line indicates the "traditional" flow, where particular problems can be:

  • Collection times of materials
  • Definition and distribution of tasks
  • Periodic review of work progress and presentation of drafts
  • Re-alignment of materials that are updated separately between users
  • Unearthed flow with "on-call" milestones opens the possibility of interruption due to emergencies

The red line indicates what would be the ideal production flow supported by a workflow and shared information and data managed by a collaborative platform. The main advantages of shortening times are:

  • Collaborative environment with real-time updates

  • Direct access to all data and materials without the need for collection time

  • Organised workflow in defined steps

    • sending notifications

    • deadline

    • escalation management notifications

  • Possibility of immediate and incremental changes visible to all in real time

Let’s go back to Smart Working, we can say that we have the clearest ideas on what is needed for productivity, what is needed for operators to be productive and which tools and applications must be accessible to the Smart Worker.
The latest 3-point check-list therefore concerns the activation of the possibility of Smart Working

1- Publication Resources

Working closely with IT will ensure that previously mapped applications and services are available remotely and easily. The GMDE suggestion is the adoption of a platform that "gets in the way" between the various repositories and strategic business applications so as to make the necessary data and services available in complete safety and keep the most sensitive data protected.

2- Avoid the feeling of isolation

The Smart Worker, by definition, is out of the "physical" business context and cannot benefit from the support (often even moral) that the intrinsic sociality of the workplace offers of course.

It is therefore necessary to ensure that the system adopted makes possible, even if mediated, the "contact" with the working group. The definition of organized flows creates a "virtual room" where the work team operates in a protected and coordinated environment. Communication is ensured not only by the notifications that are sent along the stream, but it must also be possible to communicate specifically from user to user in ways that are yes, similar to instant messaging, but that are controlled to avoid the "coffee chat".

3- Planning, Planning, Planning

The Smart Worker, generally, should be autonomous and able to self manage its time. But when, in times of emergency, we find ourselves having to work remotely in spite of ourselves, not all workers are prepared for this type of self-management.

The system must therefore manage the time intelligently by creating 2 key flows:

  • "Push"

    • Smart Worker has access to a list/repository of tasks to be performed, assigned to him directly by other users or by the default workflow

  • "Pull"

    • A "container" is created that will collect the work to be done and not yet assigned. The Smart Worker, in case it should be "unloaded", can draw on this container and self-assign tasks

All this must be shared:

  • Displayed on a common calendar that highlights not only who is doing what but also the dead lines to be respected.

  • Easily controlled by Team Leaders or Project Managers through a series of dashboards (dashboards) that at a glance must make clear and visible the progress of work, projects and workload for each individual person.

At this point, we can safely re-ask ourselves the initial question:

Is our company ready for Smart Working?

And the answer is...

Yes! We are Smart Working by Design!

The process that we have followed and illustrated is today within the reach of all Companies and all budgets.
It is certainly an important change in the organization and also in the corporate culture, but it gives a strong innovative impulse and effectively implements the famous Digital Transformation.

Surely there will be many questions to solve, processes to analyze and criticality to solve, but if there is the desire to innovate and change for the better, The only thing a company needs is a trusted partner that accompanies and supports it with its experience in this innovative process that will prepare it for every challenge.

If you are a company ready to get involved, with great ambitions and desire to really innovate, GMDE is the perfect partner! We have the right experience, we have the right platform, we have the right people!
Success is not assured: it is obvious!

If you want more information contact us and we will answer all your questions.

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