Managed-service providers and the age of Digital Transformation.
Today’s endpoint technologies are often described by various original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with trendy terms: Internet of Things (IoT) devices, Win10-IoT, edge devices, intelligent devices, etc. Those terms might be useful for search engine optimization (SEO). However, for managed-service providers (MSPs), in the absence of a cohesive monitoring-and-management strategy—whether it be for IoT, unified communications (UC) or audiovisual devices—they are just jargon and lack the clarity to inspire visionary managed services.
MSPs must enable the connected workforce by guiding customers on their Digital-Transformation journey. Part of that experience is having the ability to provide monitoring-and-management offerings that help achieve that vision. A collection of distinctly defined Digital-Transformation services helps empower an organization’s workforce to maximize how they operate and deliver value for customers.
The Modern Workplace
The Modern Workplace has become even more critical as companies begin to reimagine what workplaces are, especially during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Creating spaces that are relevant to the digital worker helps drive collaboration in a group or team setting, providing a shared space that promotes co-creation and facilitates collective and thoughtful design. Having the ability to monitor collaboration-hardware health, application-and-compute heath, and, lastly, network and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS)/Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) availability—regardless of OEM or UC application—is critical to monitoring end users’ experiences. Beyond the table stakes, new elements (for example, touchless meeting controls, coupled with occupancy-level sensors and related warnings) have taken on a new level of importance.
The Modern Worker
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the requirement to monitor the collaboration experience of work-from-home (WFH) users and their associated devices has possibly surpassed the companion need to support work-from-office (WFO) users. As such, MSPs must look to extend monitoring capabilities beyond the physical walls of the enterprise. That means the monitoring-and-management service architecture must be flexible enough to accommodate the various use-case scenarios of WFH/WFO while honoring privacy- and security-related concerns.
The Modern Workplace (the shared experience) and the Modern Worker (WFH/WFO, the “road warrior”) address types and styles of work, bridging group collaboration and individual work. Intelligent Communications (Unified-Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) and UC platforms) sits between these work styles and allows the collaboration activities to happen.
UC terminology is trending toward Intelligent Communications, reflecting the evolution of IoT. UCaaS entails putting collaboration tools in the cloud, where individuals and groups can access them at any time, from any place. It most effectively addresses the diverse workstyles of the five generations that comprise today’s workforce, accommodating a broad spectrum of users and all their collaboration personas. As such, monitoring tools must have the capacity to monitor the health and availability of cloud-based services that are directly tied to the Modern Workplace or the Modern Worker.
Workplace Intelligence: Harnessing IoT, UC & AV
Lastly, MSPs must leverage data collected from IoT, UC and AV. This will help them learn from the connections and interactions among people, places, things, activities and information. An Intelligent Workplace uses AI, room-booking technology and sensors as part of a broader IoT collaboration ecosystem to create groups of Intelligent Spaces. It leverages IoT to know when I have entered/exited a defined space or to transition between space types seamlessly, while allowing me to access my favorite tools via both mobile and remote connectivity. It syncs my workflow, booking the best workspaces based on my calendar, my work style and my scheduled work activities. It can essentially fashion a persona-driven collaboration experience, drawing from the AI it gathers about me.
The analytics derived from Intelligent Spaces within the workplace can produce significant insights on how to increase productivity and return on investment (ROI). For example, the data gathered during work activities can reveal which tools or spaces are favorites and might merit additional investment to maximize productivity and enhance business outcomes; it can also reveal which tools are not used and should perhaps be terminated. This information can guide investment decision-making and significantly affect an organization’s bottom line.
The monitoring platforms should analyze and predict situations to deliver appropriate information and services dynamically. Additionally, monitoring tools can employ prescriptive analytics for context-aware collaboration experiences, react to relevant events, execute collaboration workflows more effectively and deliver more relevant user experiences. Decision intelligence brings together several disciplines, including decision management and decision support. It provides a framework to help data and analytics leaders design, model, align, execute, monitor and tune decision models and processes in the context of business outcomes and behavior. Although dashboards and analytic reports have become a customer staple for MSPs, truly harnessing people, information, activities and devices to unlock their hidden potential is the untapped market opportunity.
The Digital-Transformation solutions and services that MSPs provide bring together the worlds of individual and group communication, collaboration and productivity as a shared experience, whether employees are WFH or WFO. Providers must consider the Modern Workplace, the Modern Worker, Intelligent Communications tools and Workplace Intelligence if they truly wish to harness the trifecta of IoT, UC and AV. This is essential when creating monitoring-service offerings as part of a managed-services portfolio to enable a connected workforce.
I hope the preceding provides a compelling roadmap that will help MSPs create their own Digital-Transformation service offerings.
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