Video: How can regional companies ensure smooth workflows during remote working?
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Video: How can regional companies ensure smooth workflows during remote working?

Video: How can regional companies ensure smooth workflows during remote working?

To optimise efficiencies when implementing remote working, organisations must adopt new technology solutions, says Mark Ackerman, senior director – Middle East and Africa at ServiceNow

Gulf Business

With regional companies pushed suddenly into remote working, are they equipped to deal with the changed scenario? 

The answer to this really depends on each company – every sector has been impacted significantly, some more than others.

That said, we believe many were not ready for the sudden shift back in March. Large organisations were having to create new security policies, procure laptops, implement VPNs and simultaneously ensure the networks were resilient enough to deal with the load from the web.

However, today, we find that most organisations are getting into the groove of working remotely and the overwhelming feedback we get is that “we’ve never put in so many hours”.

Many organisations are still grappling to create seamless workflows as they adjust to this new way of working. How can this be addressed? 

Legacy technology and ways of work have never been so challenged as they are now.

While the breakout of collaborative tools such as Slack, Teams and Zoom has helped at this time, they can also present some of the biggest challenges. I know I’m often caught looking for an interaction with a customer or a colleague and having to look into multiple sources.

Great experiences for your stakeholders should be the main objective and creating workflows between the various systems of record should be treated as the next biggest priority. This starts by ensuring there is a single system of interaction, a platform of platforms, that can consolidate all the collaboration and disparate processes and create simplified digital workflows.

Legacy technology is not going to help and therefore a rapid adoption of software as a solution (SaaS) based solutions is really the only option.

What are the other challenges that remote working poses?

For some, this whole shift is going to be massive. We may find that ‘old school’ managers have become so dependent on the structure of physical offices and meetings that the leap is almost too much. Some people don’t have the ‘soft skills’ needed to express themselves effectively over video and voice calls.

Younger workers among the millennials and open-minded Gen X workers will have more of these skills, but for Generation Z, this kind of working comes instinctively.

The webcam is also a key element – teams that resist engaging the senses of sight and sound will ultimately find lower levels of engagement and less contribution from all the team members.

From a wider perspective, many firms in the region have started embarking on digital transformation strategies. Where are we at now?

To a large degree, it depends on which metrics are used to measure digital transformation.

Despite the growth of SaaS in the region, MENA still falls below the global average for cloud spending as a percentage of the total enterprise IT budget and there is still a very strong appetite to have on-premise solutions. The region also faces a massive skills shortage.

However, we have seen an acceleration towards digital transformation across all sectors, predominantly from governments and the banking industry.

What is key for companies to ensure when they implement their digital transformation plans?

Firstly, get executive support. Amazing plans with no support from leadership often die on the vine. Buy-in from the c-suite, or even the board of directors, is critical.

At ServiceNow, from the very first internal meeting of those tasked with our digital workflow transformation, there was cross-department agreement on two goals: unlocking productivity and delivering great experiences.

That involved finding ways to automate and digitise workflows across every department, on every type of device, for all the relevant stakeholders. We also wanted to focus on what people encounter or experience over the course of their interaction with our applications, products or services.

What is your advice to existing and new clients in the current situation?

Get rid of legacy, adopt the cloud and ensure seamless processes. Aim for agility over perfection, pick critical customer and employee workflows and simplify these, make sure the experience of each process is a pleasant one.

What does ServiceNow offer to companies looking to get back to work following the Work from Home model, to ensure smooth workflow operations?

We have introduced the ServiceNow Safe Workplace app suite that includes a new dashboard and four apps. Highlights include:

  • Employee readiness surveys that capture employees’ personal readiness and level of interest to return to the workplace
  • Employee health screening compiles data on employee temperatures and provides a reporting dashboard that tracks trends by site, helping employers determine if it’s safe for employees to enter a facility 
  • Workplace safety management configures sanitised, socially distanced workspaces so that employees can safely return to the workplace. It also schedules shift assignments and cleaning 
  • Workplace PPE inventory management helps manage and monitor personal protective equipment (PPE) inventory in real-time
  • Safe workplace dashboard provides a visual representation of the data collected by the apps, overlaid with a map and CDC data on infection rates
For more information on return to workplace planning and the new app suite, click here to register for ServiceNow’s Middle East webinar:




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