The pandemic is changing technology solutions for the future of work

The growth of remote and hybrid working, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, has changed enterprise needs and priorities for digital workplace technology, according to a new research report published by Information Services Group (ISG).

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The global report finds new technologies and work styles have transformed endpoint management, communications and collaboration solutions and tools for maximizing employee engagement and productivity. Organizations around the world are turning toward more unified and cloud-based approaches to maximize workforce potential.

“The sudden need for remote work during the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the potential of digital workplace technologies,” said Dee Anthony, leader, ISG Workplace of the Future. “Enterprises are changing their expectations in this area and turning to a diverse field of providers to meet them.”

In the past two to three years, unified endpoint management (UEM) has been transformed from a combination of client management tools (CMT) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) into single-pane, co-management solutions that bridge these approaches and enable administration of both modern and traditional devices, the report says.

The pandemic lockdowns of 2020 led companies to adopt device-as-a-service and virtual desktop offerings, the report says. Companies had to quickly set up devices for employees at home, without a technician on site, then securely manage those devices. At the same time, UEM vendors had to extend their solutions to virtual devices and endpoints.

Security, which was not a central feature of UEM at first, has become the most important aspect of UEM solutions, according to ISG. Many vendors now integrate UEM with solutions for endpoint detection and response, identity and access management and security information and event management.

The pandemic has also accelerated changes in unified communications (UC) and unified communications as a service (UCaaS) as companies rely more on virtual and video collaboration, ISG says. On-premises UC deployments are now in the minority, as enterprises turn to the cloud for telephony to support hybrid workforces.

Meanwhile, video collaboration has gone from a nice-to-have feature to an essential tool and a crucial element of UCaaS solutions. Vendors are also integrating contact center-as-a-service in UCaaS offerings, often by merging with or acquiring contact center providers.

Employee engagement and productivity have become higher priorities as enterprises recognize that technologies that help remote employees better connect with peers and knowledge can also make them more productive, the report says. Platforms for engagement and productivity begin with meeting and conferencing solutions and typically include intranets, enterprise social networking, automated team collaboration solutions and task/project management capabilities.

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