Like many state and local agency IT teams over the past few weeks, your people had to move at lightning speed to get your agency up and running remotely. It’s been a herculean effort, considering in 2019, just 19% of local government agencies, and less than half the states, had any kind of telework arrangements in place.
Within a few days, you’ve had to lift, shift, extend and secure thousands of workspaces across a variety of environments. The systems weren’t set up for it. The policies and procedures weren’t in place. The contingency plans you created a few years ago probably didn’t cover much of what we are currently experiencing. And if they did – the technology they centered on may have been outdated. So, you’ve had to quickly plan the way, buy what you could, barter for the rest, and make tradeoffs in the process. Overwhelming? Definitely.
The good news is that you’ve cleared (or are in the process of clearing) the initial hurdle: getting the first wave of your agency teams up and running. That is no small feat! But as you know, there is more to do during this time. With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips that might prove useful as you think about the next 6-12 months, and beyond. It all comes down to three concepts: evaluate, enable, execute.
You got it done – but what, exactly, got done?
When you get the chance to catch your breath it’s time to start thinking about how you measure success. To step back to assess where you are, and where you need to be. After all, this is for the long-haul - performance, security and productivity all matter.
In the race to support the need - Did you solve the right problems? Could you have solved more? It’s OK to have implemented a stop-gap solution. After all, that’s how emergencies are handled: triage and apply first corrective steps.
But in this moment between the initial emergency and the final, fixed outcome, it’s a good idea to consider the following questions:
- Do the solutions, processes, and infrastructure behind it fully enable my team to work remote? Or are there limitations and roadblocks that are forcing workarounds?
- Is the agency’s work actually getting done? If not, why?
- Is my team able to use and access all of their tools and apps, in the way they would normally use them, across all of the optimal devices they need to use?
- Does this solution work with the technology my agency teams have at home and on the road?
- Am I confident in our security across the new blend of systems and technologies?
Typically, we’ve seen agencies quickly get the answers they need with a few open forums and just-in-time feedback loops. I also like to think of virtualization solutions in terms of whether or not they are sustainable and scalable. Can you hire to it? Will this still be the right solution a year from now? And maybe it is. But knowing that as you move forward is key. Especially if you’ve chosen to leverage a public cloud. Public clouds are a great short-term fix for some agencies, it’s a perfect way to turn on a lot of capability quickly. But it can get prohibitively expensive over time when you try to scale, the math just isn’t in your favor. So, it’s important to make sure you’re thinking about life beyond public cloud.
And, what more can you do?
You’ve been focused on solving the urgent need, but don’t forget - there’s never been a better time to solve the systemic, technical issues that have been plaguing your agency. As long as you’re doing the hard work of enabling remote work, this moment of pause is the perfect time to identify, prototype and test solutions to those nagging issues you’ve been suffering through.
Imagine if you could implement a solution that not only helps to create a productive, secure telework environment, but also enables a host of new citizen-centric capabilities, potentially helping to improve agency recruiting? The win for your agency could be huge.
So, take this as an opportunity and start to think about how you can leverage today’s emergency to enable more capabilities for your agency.
Help is all around you.
Beyond the flow-down of emergency and stimulus funding, look to your technology to work with you. There are plenty of great resources within government, affiliated associations, and leading VDI companies available to help you get up and running quickly. At Nutanix we are working with our government customers to create and scale their end user computing environments, while also offering a 30-day trial of our DaaS solution to get remote workers up and running in under an hour.
And, think about vendor partnerships in a new way. What kind of brainstorming can they bring to the table? The right partners will help you make sense of the technology you have today, and help you chart a path forward that makes economic and technical sense for your needs tomorrow.
It’s a dynamic time, and we’re here to help. If you’d like more information on any of our work-from-home solutions, or even just a no-strings-attached call to talk through a current technology challenge you’re facing, I’m here for you. You can reach out via LinkedIn, or send me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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