The Future of Work: The Role of Tech in a New Landscape
by JJ Rosen, on Aug 19, 2020 2:30:00 PM
It is no secret that COVID-19 has dramatically changed how many companies operate on a day-to-day basis. From moving folks out of cubicles and onto their couches to interacting with their customers through tech platforms instead of in-person. While some companies struggle to meet the changing needs, others are seeing that early investments in tech have allowed their work to continue, almost without skipping a beat.
We talked to an expert in business technology about what tech can and can’t solve in this new work world to find out what we will be seeing in our inevitably different future.
JJ Rosen is the founder and CEO of Atiba, a Nashville, TN based custom software development, website design, and IT consulting firm.
An Interview with JJ Rosen, CEO of Atiba
- Tell me a bit about the background of you and Atiba. How did you start out and what is the company’s focus?
We describe ourselves as “half-geek-half-human” -- with a goal of helping our clients get ROI from any tech work we do.
We started in the early 90’s as a computer consulting firm focused on both building custom software applications and providing IT services to our clients. Since then we have expanded into website design, business intelligence, mobile app development, and cloud consulting services.
- What was your first thought about how businesses would be impacted when you saw states, and really the entire nation, on lock down for COVID-19?
Being tech consultants allows us to see behind the scenes of the hundreds of the businesses that we support. We knew a global pandemic was unprecedented for all of us so it was hard to predict the impact. It felt like we were entering uncharted waters for us and our clients so our general approach has been to be proactive in reducing business risks related COVID for ourselves and our clients.
As we saw some clients struggling, our first thought was just to help from the perspective of a partner rather than a vendor. We set up a sliding scale for small business clients and began to offer free IT support for all non-profit clients. We worked overtime to help clients securely and efficiently shift to all-remote activity. And, we did a deep dive into our client’s existing IT systems to find any spot to reduce IT expenses.
- What tech solutions do you think helped companies most when COVID changed how we work? Were there tools and services that you think made it easier for some companies to work with minimal interruption?
The companies that were all-cloud before COVID have had minimal impact from the pandemic. AWS, Azure, Office365, G-Suite, and cloud-based enterprise applications like ServiceNow and Salesforce and implementation experts have all played major roles in keeping businesses stable and efficient through turbulent times.
- You mentioned ServiceNow – what about the platform is so compelling for Atiba?
It’s a powerful platform - stable, secure, and infinitely scalable.
We originally were drawn to ServiceNow internally to manage our own IT Services division. Once we realized how powerful of a platform it is, we began doing a deep dive into the development side of ServiceNow and quickly went all in.
- Considering everything that’s changed in the world this year, what challenges do you think companies can expect as they change the day to day realities of working remotely or with more distance?
Beside the technical considerations around IT security for remote workers, there has been a massive change in work culture. This, to me, is the main challenge-- how can we keep company culture healthy in the new norm.
Tech tools like Microsoft Teams and Slack are keeping us connected but from a culture standpoint we all have to adjust.
- IT is more than just software. What kinds of IT services are companies investing in and why?
Cloud and more cloud. With the pandemic, clients that had some dependencies with servers on-premise are pushing to quickly migrate to the major cloud services. We have seen a pickup in projects around AWS and Azure over the past few years but even more so with the onset of the coronavirus.
- How is the IT support world changing so workers have effective and efficient self-help options for system and hardware issues?
AI bots are the next big thing in tech support. The AI support bots that are available for ServiceNow are reducing help desk costs, empowering end-users, and ultimately making the entire support process more efficient.
- Is there a difference between designing IT solutions to use in an office and solutions built for remote workers?
Yes. Remote workers add complexity around IT security because users are running their work computers on their home networks that often have very little security setup at all. VPNs and Virtual Desktops mitigate some of the risk, but for organizations that have compliance needs it takes more work to keep remote workers’ devices safe.
- Often the benefits of IT investments are focused on metrics like productivity and profitability. Do they also have positive impacts on metrics like job satisfaction and talent retention?
Absolutely. Just like having a comfortable desk and a quiet place to work, technology is part of the corporate culture of most businesses. Investing in tech is providing employees with the tools they need to be efficient which ultimately make them happier at work.
- If you could imagine how the workforce is different in 5, 10 years, what do you envision?
I think most every company will embrace remote work and the need for the traditional office will begin to fade. As the workforce becomes more remote, it will also become more diverse as even small businesses will be able to recruit and hire from anywhere in the world.
Big thanks to JJ Rosen for taking some time to share his experience and vision for the future of how tech and the workplace will continue to evolve. The future may look different than we expected, but change offers a world of new opportunities. The experts at Atiba help businesses adapt and embrace the change which will be crucial to the way we move forward.
Technology will continue to grow into a crucial part of remote work. Accelare specializes in ServiceNow platform implementations and are partners AWS and Workday, as well.