Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Andy Thurai

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Post

Why IT Gets Telecommuting Right By @SolarWinds | @CloudExpo [#Cloud]

Telecommuting is seen as a way to provide flexibility and improve work/life balance

It's no secret that telecommuting is a highly disputed topic. For the general employee, the jury is still out on the pros and cons of telecommuting. For organizations like Yahoo!, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and U.S. Postal Service, telecommuting is not an option due to the need to foster collaboration, alleged employee abuse of telework benefits and mounting security concerns, respectively. Among the startup scene and various other organizations, though, telecommuting is seen as a way to provide flexibility and improve work/life balance.

For IT professionals, however, such reasoning does not apply. In fact, IT pros have worked remotely with success long before these debates ever started.

By providing remote support from anywhere - even in far-flung locations, as a recent SolarWinds poll of our thwack online user community found - IT pros have shown they are able to seamlessly integrate into the daily workflow of their organizations regardless of location or distance. Why is this? What makes this aspect of remote work so successful for IT versus the rest of the organization? How can those same practices of remote IT be applied to the entire organization to ensure telecommuting success?

The Advent of Remote IT
Before remote support tools existed, IT regularly dealt with frustrating issues related to the lack of such technology. For example, the number of end users at most organizations far outweighed the number of IT personnel, which made IT support - remote and on-premises - particularly daunting. Also, without automation, help desk personnel had to deal with less-than-efficient processes for conducting daily work.

My personal help desk experience alone is a testament to the difficulties of providing IT support pre-remote tools. In the 1990s, I worked on the help desk for a large computer manufacturer, and we delivered all support via telephone and without remote tools. We on the IT team had to verbally coach end users through troubleshooting, which was frustrating because it was difficult to ensure the issues they described were relevant and accurate, and also that they understood the correct steps to fix the problems. The organization experienced high turnover on the IT help desk team, and it's largely due to the frustrating nature of the support delivery method. In short, troubleshooting blindly is not fun.

The same frustration would be experienced when organizations opened satellite offices in the Before Remote Support Tools (B.R.S.T) era. To provide IT support, organizations would either have to hire IT personnel for each office, or provide support via telephone from the main office without the ability to see what was actually happening on the other end, which as discussed is troublesome.

Enter remote support tools. Upon the advent of remote support tools, IT and help desk organizations quickly realized the benefits of centralizing the delivery of support - specifically, the efficiency this centralization achieves as organizations grow. The advent of remote IT support tools has allowed organizations to not only provide seamless IT support and drive IT - and in effect, end user - productivity, but maintain an IT-to-end user ratio that benefits business bottom lines.

The Benefits of IT Telecommuting
The advent of remote IT support tools certainly alleviated many of the pain points IT and help desk personnel experienced for many years. Now let's fast forward to current scenario many IT pros experience working for startup or SMB organizations where IT pros wear many hats, meaning they often have to focus on network or server projects while also finding the time to support end users. Having remote support tools readily available allows IT to effectively multi-task without even leaving their desks, which makes a truly remarkable difference compared to aforementioned experiences in the B.R.S.T era. With remote support tools, IT experiences noticeably less frustration with end user support, and can in turn be far more productive whether they're in the office or offsite.

While in the office, we IT pros spend many hours in meetings, both scheduled and impromptu, but often these meetings don't actually require IT's time. The ability to work from outside of the office, and know that support you can provide will be seamless regardless of location, really enables IT to drive productivity in ways that were previously unachievable.

From IT to End User: Have the Right Tools
With these IT telecommuting successes in mind, it's important to note, amidst the ongoing debates about telecommuting, how these same practices that have made remote IT support so successful can be applied broadly.

The one key element to successful telecommuting or remote work across both IT and end users is to ensure you have the right tools. In that sense, remote working - from a technology perspective - should be no different than working from the office. Most organizations spend huge sums of money on infrastructure and tools to make sure employees are productive and successful in the office, and many don't realize that building out infrastructure and providing the right tools for remote workers usually doesn't require a completely different set of technologies. In fact, most organizations already have the systems in place to support remote workers, but it's important to ensure these systems are robust enough to support the entire remote workforce.

An IT department armed with the right tools will be able to resolve most end-user requests without needing to be physically present at the end-user's machine. Some remote support tools only work inside the corporate firewall, but many work both inside and out. If an end-user is connected to the corporate network through a VPN tunnel, an inside-of-firewall solution will probably work, but companies should invest in one that allows for secure connections to computers regardless of VPN connectivity.

The topic of telecommuting, its pros and cons, will continue to be hotly disputed, but the number of remote workers continues to rise nonetheless. With that in mind, it's crucial to understand the tools that organizations have at their disposal to mimic the seamless connectivity that IT achieved years ago in doing remote support.

More Stories By Glenn Gray

Glenn Gray serves as Senior Product Marketing Manager at SolarWinds. He has more than 10 years of experience working in various IT roles including systems administrator and IT manager. He attended the University of Texas for a degree in International Relations and Economics and attended the University of British Columba’s MBA program.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


IoT & Smart Cities Stories
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...