The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the way businesses of all sizes and industries operate—in particular, the places that employees do their work. According to an October 2020 Gallup poll, 33 percent of U.S. employees say that they are “always” working remotely, while another 25 percent say that they “sometimes” telecommute.
Faced with this rapid and unexpected shift to working from home, organizations have had to make sudden changes and evolutions, especially regarding their IT systems and software. Despite the pandemic, businesses must ensure that their employees, customers, partners, and third-party vendors can enjoy continued access to key software applications and services. These concerns are especially relevant for companies with locations and employees scattered across the country, around the world, or those who must navigate different time zones, regulatory environments, and more.
Although the pandemic is waning, its effects and repercussions will be long lasting. Businesses that take advantage of this time of change, uncertainty, and turbulence will position themselves well for whatever comes next.
For some companies who have not adopted a resilient mindset and a transformation-focused organizational culture, the pandemic has been a challenge to their business—often an existential one. Others, however, have seen the COVID-19 pandemic as an affirmation that justifies the investments they previously made in their IT infrastructure. Below are just some digital technologies that have paid dividends for their users:
- Cloud computing for easier access to applications and services and rapid horizontal and vertical scalability.
- Identity management (IdM) solutions to monitor and control employees’ access to business-critical applications.
- Automation of tedious manual processes, freeing up employees for higher-level, more revenue-generating activities.
- Data analytics to collect, process, analyze and visualize vast quantities of information, mining it for insights to enable more accurate forecasts and smarter decision-making.
- Workplace communication and collaboration tools (e.g., Microsoft Teams, Slack, Trello, Zoom, etc.).
The rise in telecommuting has fostered the growth of SaaS (“software as a service”) usage. Software applications running in the cloud have greatly expanded user connectivity and productivity. Cloud-native software services have many advantages, with a few of them especially relevant in this day and age:
- Support and maintenance for SaaS applications is the responsibility of the software vendor, rather than the in-house IT department. This means less stress on overburdened IT teams, and not waking up at 3 a.m. when a server goes down.
- As a corollary, SaaS upgrades are rolled out smoothly and automatically, without the need for business-disrupting downtime.
- Users can access SaaS applications from anywhere with an Internet connection and at any time—a vital asset during this time of telecommuting, but also tremendously convenient in general.
- During times of uncertain demand, SaaS applications can easily scale to accommodate spikes in usage without degrading performance.
- By using a centralized, streamlined solution rather than disconnected legacy systems, SaaS improves visibility and makes IT governance easier.
In particular, SaaSOps (“SaaS operations”) i.e. managing and monitoring an organization’s use of SaaS applications, is becoming more and more relevant and important. According to BetterCloud’s “2020 State of SaaS” report:
- Organizations use an average of 80 SaaS applications.
- IT teams spend an average of more than seven hours offboarding an employee from the company’s SaaS applications after they depart the organization.
- Only 49 percent of IT professionals are confident in their ability to detect unauthorized SaaS usage on the company network.
To confront these SaaSOps challenges, organizations need a centralized coordinated approach. One of the easiest IT projects for your business to take on—yet one of the most impactful for employee productivity and user experience—is to build a clean, streamlined application portal with single sign-on (SSO), simplifying the process of logging in and using enterprise software.
With a single application portal, users can enter their credentials and access the services they need to do their jobs efficiently, from anywhere and at any time.
Looking to implement your own software application portal? Datavail can help. To learn how we helped one client implement a secure application portal in the Microsoft Azure cloud, check out our recent case study “Major Auto Manufacturer Migrates Application Portal to Azure Cloud.”
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