Flexible models and workforce strategies have opened the door to greater innovation and business growth, and companies that embrace them can knock it down.
Believe it or not, there is a silver lining in the global crisis we have all experienced: it has accelerated digital transformation and caused organisations and employees in every sector to rethink where and how work gets done. And the moves are beginning to pay off. Investments made over the past two years to get employees working safely and securely in a remote world and maintain business continuity have set the stage for greater agility and accelerated innovation, and savvy companies that embrace them are poised to capitalise.
Business leaders across industries are using the lessons learned and investments made during the pandemic to advance digital initiatives, enhance customer engagement, and attract and retain hard-to-find talent through more flexible work models. And in doing so, they’re gaining the agility to propel their business forward in what remains an uncertain and volatile environment.
Accepting the Future of Work — and Delivering it Today
Take Nedbank. The largest bank in South Africa is turning the investments it made to keep employees safe during the pandemic into a platform for faster innovation and competitive advantage. In July, the bank went all in on hybrid work, announcing that employees whose jobs do not require them to be in a branch office can work from home on a permanent basis if they choose.
“We saw the need to empower our employees to meet an increasingly digital customer base where they are and provide the superior service they have come to expect from us,” said Mervyn Savary, Nedbank’s Executive Head for End User & Communication Services.
And it saw digital workspace solutions as the way to do it. Ten years ago, the forward-thinking institution laid the foundation for remote and hybrid work, using virtual apps and desktops. And it has been building on it ever since, creating a modern digital workspace that provides employees with access to everything they need to get work done, wherever it needs to get done.
Through its workspace, Nedbank can serve up simple, unified access to the systems, information, and tools its 18,000 employees need to engage and be productive and dynamically apply security policies so they can work when, where and how they want with the confidence that their applications, information, and devices are safe.
Managing a Distributed Workforce
It can also support more than 2,000 India-based developers who access its data using a BYOD model and trust that they too are protected.
“We can spin up 200 developer users in a day, or two, and it’s not a big issue for us,” Savary said. “We give them access to the desktop image. They use their own devices to connect to us, we set them up and they access our data. Then, when they spin down, the data is still sitting in our datacenter intact, and they don’t have anything on their local devices.”
Speeding to the Cloud
In embracing hybrid work, Nedbank has removed the geographic barriers to recruiting and opened the door to untapped pools of skilled talent that can fuel new and increasingly digital customer engagement and support models. To drive its strategy, the bank hit the gas on a cloud-first technology strategy to provide the scalability needed to support a distributed workforce and deliver the consistent, secure and reliable experience employees expect, regardless of where they are working.
“The landscape has changed, and we are now looking predominantly at cloud for applications,” says Asokan Moodley, Nedbank’s Executive Head of End User & Communication Experience. “As a result, we needed more resilience on network availability, stability, and quality than traditional technologies could provide.”
It also needed to revamp its approach to security.
“We had to figure out how we could deliver security at the perimeter of the network rather than the center as was the historic approach and strengthen our posture,” Moodley said.
And it found the answer in cloud-based solutions that allow it to extend zero trust access beyond mission-critical and proprietary apps to ensure that the increasing number of SaaS and web apps their employees use are protected in a contextual way that is transparent to users.
Enhancing the Employee Experience
All of this has not only helped Nedbank enhance its employee experience but increase the satisfaction of its clients. “Our employees are more connected and engaged and able to service customers more quickly, which enhances their experience,” Moodley said. “It’s a win-win.”
And it’s the strategy and mindset that more companies will need to embrace if they, too, want to win.
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