Recognizing the mutual benefits of flexible working arrangements, employers today are offering their employees greater choice in how, when and where work is performed. Today’s workers, particularly millennials and Gen Z, can be productive from any location using any device, and no longer want to be constrained by legacy IT infrastructure or fixed workplaces. According to CISCO, within the next five years, 35% of workers globally will access corporate office networks remotely.
These trends are driving the adoption of collaboration and communication technologies that are hosted “in the cloud” and accessible 24/7 from home, head office, remote office locations and while travelling between them. The Colliers Technology Solutions team specializes in helping clients to deploy this technology; recently we successfully completed a project to develop, test and deploy a new mobile workflow system at Scentre Group. Their directors can now approve multi-million-dollar projects via their mobile phone! Our role was to manage the project and to liaise between the software developer and the business users to ensure their requirements were fully identified and met.
Companies that deliver technologies to enable flexible working are booming. Microsoft’s Office 365, Skype for Business, Onedrive and Sharepoint enable users to work together wherever they are based, and whether they are using a desktop computer, a laptop or a mobile phone. Citrix has become the remote desktop standard, enabling secure remote access to users’ data and applications wherever there is an internet connection. Data center operators such as NextDC and Equinix are building ever larger facilities to host cloud applications and to store corporate data, and new cloud service providers are starting up every day.
Cyber security remains the fastest growing sector in IT. Accessing corporate data in public locations on shared devices poses security risks that need to be professionally managed. Many companies allow “Bring Your Own Device” and allow a range of non-standard devices to be connected, so there can be an increase in central support costs. The blurring of private and work time, along with personal and corporate devices require careful consideration in terms of acceptable use and data security policies.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) will further improve productivity and efficiency in decentralized workplaces, including rapid analysis of large data volumes and automated decision making for repetitive tasks. Virtual Reality (VR) will continue to evolve, enabling realistic interaction between people regardless of where they are located.
Flexible working arrangements are continuing to grow in popularity, and consequently, demand for technologies that enable flexible workplaces continues to grow. Our Technology Solutions experts within the Project Management business deliver flexible workplaces that support remote communication and collaboration for our clients.
Kevin Burman is the national director, Technology Solutions for Colliers International in Australia. With more than 35 years of experience in the IT sector, Kevin specializes in data centers, network infrastructure, telecommunications and workplace technology. He leads a team that designs and delivers strategic IT projects for Colliers’ clients throughout the Asia Pacific.