Hybrid environments are here to stay: ensure your technology is ready

Zebra Technologies

By Brett Newstead, Director of Sales, Zebra Technologies
Monday, 04 March, 2024

Hybrid environments are here to stay: ensure your technology is ready

The pandemic may be long gone, but the hybrid work environments that evolved seem to be here to stay. Key elements of future work environments relate to everything and everyone becoming securely connected, collaborating and accessing greater visibility of assets and inventory.

Technology drives and enables hybrid work, and it is critical to businesses, including the small and medium businesses (SMBs) that predominate in Australia. The foundation for SMBs to navigate today’s hybrid environments is hardware implementations that take into account the solutions that connect your people and business systems.

In search of a strategy: hardware implementation

Be it artificial intelligence, GenAI, the cloud or software-as-a-service (SaaS), it seems like it is all about software; so much so that software’s integral partner, hardware, is often considered too late. So it is imperative that companies of all sizes take a more balanced approach in their implementation strategies to gain the most from their investments.

Hardware can be a big investment, and budgets — especially for SMBs — can be tight. This makes it critical to consider hardware that will perform across the full lifecycle of your project and seamlessly integrate into your business. In fact, some say the competitive advantage today often goes to businesses most adept at choosing technologies. Your strategy should ensure hardware will minimise unanticipated costs, upgrades and replacements, streamlining operations to improve productivity. If the hardware is not aligned with business needs, expect inefficiencies and lost time.

Compatibility and scalability are key factors to consider. Will the hardware scale along with planned growth in your business? If not, expect upgrades and increased costs ahead. Is the hardware compatible with existing systems and software? If it is not, business disruptions will likely ensue.

No doubt integrating solutions can be daunting. According to Bain’s 2022 Technology Report, 41% of companies cite the integration effort as being too complex to scale as a solution. When building your IT strategy to support hybrid environments, establish a framework to deliver, govern and onboard your technology with a highly detailed scope of work, specifying delivery dates and milestones. It is also important to over-communicate to all the people involved to ensure alignment between teams, goals and deliverables.

It is the behind-the-scenes planning and work that ensures a seamless technological implementation. Both hardware and software solutions offer a multitude of features and capabilities — or customisation — that you and your team may need help to comprehend or utilise. Experts with targeted implementation knowledge can work with your team to help ensure all the relevant features are effectively leveraged, enabling you to get maximum value from your total solution investment (and keep your employees happy).

Connecting hardware, software and people

While software continues to be a hot topic, the same Bain report found that organisations today are focusing more on the low-hanging fruit: hardware. For example, when sensor technology is integrated with people, equipment, assets or inventory, the benefits are realised quickly. Locating technologies such as radio frequency identification (RFID) readers, ultra-wideband solutions or Bluetooth low energy devices are easily deployed and provide real-time visibility as well as asset tracking of personnel and equipment. While RFID is not a new technology, the word on the tech street is ‘this is the year of RFID’. RFID and sensor technology in general are optimal solutions to the challenges businesses face today — from transparency, tracking, to theft risk.

Interestingly, when it comes to choosing devices that will be in the hands of your people, looks matter. Buying decisions can be just as much about how a solution looks and feels as how it works. Expectations of solutions have changed, especially in the enterprise world. Workers are accustomed to using well-designed and optimised solutions in life and now they expect the same from the devices they use at work.

Beyond elevating the aesthetic, today’s consumer-influenced designs are attuned to the full workflow of applications and operations. Now, consumer product design influences all aspects of enterprise design — the aesthetic, the workflow and the ability to get information instantaneously in real time.

Hybrid, hardware and software work better together

Without software running on it, hardware is just a piece of equipment. And without hardware to run on, software is not very useful. The magic happens when they are integrated and can help solve problems, improve workflows and streamline everything we do, and today that is in hybrid environments. Expectations, technologies and network capability will only continue to grow. With the right strategy, SMBs can effectively integrate technology into their operations, improve productivity and support business growth.

Image credit: iStock.com/Anchiy

Related Articles

Next-gen wireless network for PCEC

Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre has selected Hewlett Packard Enterprise HPE Aruba...

Intelligent networks: a software-defined future

No matter how sophisticated your technology and people are, they will only reach their full...

Today's IT leaders can benefit from a combined SD-WAN/SASE solution

As dependency on wireless WAN grows, IT leaders must adjust to the types of traffic — and...

  • All content Copyright © 2024 Westwick-Farrow Pty Ltd