Hybrid Working

Hybrid Working: Operational challenges of the working model

Posted on February 1, 2023

Estimated reading time 2 minutes

Hybrid working relies heavily on a digitised working model. This model, if not effectively designed and administrated, can be difficult and unwieldy to manage, prone to gaps in security, expensive and slow. Legacy solutions, such as VPN’s, are outdated, operationally insufficient and often costly, trying to manage the sheer data load of today’s regulatory and investor requirements.

Operational resilience as a path to simplified admin

As we see the hybrid working environment take shape as a longer-term solution, managers should review their cloud based digitised model and take stock of what functionality is available, what is necessary and also how operational and cyber resilience can be improved. Technology can be a tool to create value and innovate, and does not have to be an administrative burden on internal IT teams.

Create value

Time saved by retiring legacy systems can be invested in smarter business activity, with one professional services client seeing a 30% reduction in licencing and hardware costs by going serverless. In another example, when implementing a serverless VDI solution over renewing an on-premise database and legacy solutions, a professional services client made a 40% saving but also importantly improved their ability to respond faster to market demands, expand their business and keep sensitive data safe.

Modernise policies and processes

This is also a good opportunity to update policies and procedures. Reassessing operational and security posture and tracking progress as a hybrid model develops is good practice for those operating in a regulated environment. Consolidating to a central collaboration tool, like Microsoft 365, should be considered. Consolidation can provide lower touch administration for internal IT or operations teams, but also vitally, clear visibility into your cloud based environment. Consolidation of tools translates into better controls, better intelligence, better visibility and lower spend.

Add layers of security

Cloud complexity can be the enemy of intelligent security. Collaboration tools are not used just because they enable collaboration in a hybrid world, but because they add layers of robust security and operationalise security, creating an IT environment that is built with zero trust principles to an identity-led model that is that cornerstone of hybrid working. Working in a complex platform scenario can be inefficient from an operations, compliance and reporting perspective as firms will often find themselves faced with multiple data sets in various structures and formats, leading to duplication, errors and inefficiencies.

Simplify audits

Firms must consider whether there is consistent governance to meet regulatory requirements, and whether and how those requirements are met, is easily demonstrable to the regulator. Audits are simplified in a consolidated model, as visibility of how regulatory and compliance requirements are met can be seen in a single view, meaning managers can provide both regulators and investors with high quality reports. If the tools that are used for video conferencing, collaboration and chat are used disparately, or there is a variety of tools in play, meeting regulatory requirements becomes more challenging amidst data volumes that are already increasing significantly, while collaboration is arguably fragmented.

Do more with less

Microsoft’s 365 has security at the heart of an efficient and effective collaboration suite, where, according to a recent Microsoft report, customers who have consolidated to the platform “Cut licensing costs by as much as 60% by consolidating to 365 compared with a patchwork solution.” Microsoft 365’s suite of products: Teams, Sharepoint and One Drive offer excellent collaborative functionality if used as part of well-considered policy and process governance. Teams alone enables instant messaging, audio and video calling and recording, rich online meetings, mobile experiences, and extensive web conferencing capabilities. In addition, Teams provides file and data collaboration, and extensibility features and integrates with Microsoft 365. Microsoft’s report also stated “51% of clients who had consolidated to Microsoft 365 were more likely to report that employees are able to seamlessly collaborate and in real time”.

At a time when competition for investor capital is high, those managers who can demonstrate that they have best in class reporting systems will be in a strong position to attract mandates moving forward. Investment firms are facing considerable headwinds while striving to carve out reasonable returns. Managers are facing growing pressure on fees and increasing regulatory and operating costs. As operational changes might cause margins to fall, identifying cost synergies becomes even more relevant. Operational roles have been increasingly challenging to fill in the fund market this year due to lack of candidate availability. Ensuring your tech strategy is operationally efficient is also vital for recruitment, onboarding and retention of staff.

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