When teleworking means a lot of software

Mélanie Lebrun


Youzer Marketing Manager


Need to move to teleworking but how do you get organised in HR, teams and IT? Here are some ideas for managing your access and identities.


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How do we deal with changing behavior in the workplace?

The last few years have seen the start of a profound change in working habits.

We're seeing more and more advertisements for telecommuting jobs, and the candidates themselves are moving to the towns of their choice rather than the employment zones. We all aspire to a better quality of life. Many companies have understood this, and offer flexible offices that allow you to divide your working time between home and the office. Coworking spaces are springing up everywhere, and advice on how to integrate and federate remote employees is increasingly common.

Full remote companies are emerging in response to a number of challenges:

  • The difficulty of recruiting. When you don't have permanent premises, borders fall and candidates are easier to find.
  • The impossibility of finding premises when working with employees from all over the world.
  • Sometimes it's simply the price of expensive real estate when you're a start-up with few employees.
working without borders

As you can see, some companies are well ahead of the game, others are just starting to think about it, and a large proportion are not ready at all.
So how do you organize this move towards teleworking when you're in the IT or HR department ?

In the event of premises becoming suddenly inaccessible (fire, public transport strikes, pandemic...), companies put in place a business continuity plan: in the emergency, all known and accessible software is used to counter and stay in contact/effective, without really being able to consult and reflect on the issues at stake. After the fact, this raises questions about the relevance of the choice, the redundancy of tools and, above all, the allocation and use of these tools by users.

But without going as far as this emergency situation, IT departments have often put in place a number of software programs to encourage remote working. The digitization of companies frequently had 2020 as its ultimate goal, and here we are. The cloud is a given.

But did the staff follow suit?

We usually 'offer' welcome packages to new employees, and rightly so. But a recent study shows that not everyone has the same needs or the same knowledge. For example, not everyone uses Microsoft 365 , and even 44% of companies have licenses that are under-utilized and sometimes not even activated. Already in a traditional context, IT departments have no feedback on this kind of problem, but in telecommuting, the phenomenon can be accentuated. You don't dare say what you don't know how to do, and you don't even think about the software you have installed but never opened.

Giving an employee too much software

That's why it's important to maintain a close relationship with managers, so that they know what their teams really need in terms of software. In this way, disproportionate or misused resources can be avoided. Training courses can also be set up with HR to improve the systematic allocation of certain software.

Train, raise awareness and communicate

What software do you prefer for telecommuting, keeping in touch, sharing progress and holding meetings?

Slack and Teams win hands down in the use of group and individual discussions in companies.

Other popular software applications include Zoom, Skype, Teams and Whereby for videoconferencing; Google Workspace/Google Drive and Microsoft 365 for collaborative working; and many others, such as Loom (screen sharing), Organilog (job management) and more.

Without a clear message from management, especially when telecommuting is introduced quickly, employees will surely take the initiative themselves to use certain applications, especially as many are used in the workplace, such as Zoom or Skype. They'll think they're doing the right thing. The most popular applications for personal exchanges are WhatsApp, Messenger, Discord, Houseparty, Skype, Zoom and Instagram. What do all these applications have in common? They're free... Yes, but as the famous saying goes:

If it's free, you're the product

If it's free, you're the product

So data collection is also part of the deal!

Can you see trouble ahead? Yes, if the company hasn't specified which software to use or buy, the paid versions of business applications, there's a good chance that data is at risk.

It is therefore important for management or IT departments to be clear and reactive with employees about best practices, and in particular to provide the official list of tools accepted by the company, and possibly a black list.
It is important to explain one's choices: an employee will accept a ban or a request to use software much more readily if it is justified. Transparency and honesty avoid many pitfalls.

A software request from a team? Don't put this request in the "we'll see someday" banner, and talk to the department about its motivations.

CIOs' cooling-off periods are being put to the test. Generally speaking, we are often criticized for taking too long to choose and implement certain tools (everyone has their arguments), but today it's no longer possible to wait and see.
Society is evolving, with unexpected events that change the situation in a matter of days, and with habits that are constantly changing. Competition, globalization and digitalization mean that we can no longer wait quietly to implement a tool; we have to be reactive. Customers expect everything, right away, and employees (who are also consumers) expect the same speed from the company as they get in their daily lives. It is this responsiveness that is becoming the most important quality for a company.

But reactivity means upstream organization, because otherwise you just get a blur and a mess.

What happens if you don't plan a remote work schedule in advance? Employees will either :

  • receive instructions on the use of tools previously set up by the company
  • wait for the company to set up tools for people who didn't have a teleworking configuration before, if of course the communication is made immediately and it specifies to do NOTHING in the meantime
  • choose their own tools to meet their immediate needs
When telecommuting instructions are unclear

Clearly, there's a huge risk of ending up with software and applications that the company has no control over.

What are the risks of having a slew of software? You saw this one coming: shadow it... The enemy of CIOs! How can you secure company data when you don't control where it's deployed?

How can you keep costs under control when they're scattered across unidentified licenses? One department has chosen slack and this one teams, another has chosen Salesforce and the other SAP ... They are similar, why not choose only one and better negotiate your purchases?

(To find out more about shadow it, go to our article, see the link above).

So what do we do?

We anticipate and react quickly:

  • we proactively listen to employee requests to avoid shadow it throughout the year
  • we have an emergency telecommuting plan that is known to 'crisis officers' (influential intermediaries) and can be implemented immediately
  • Above all, we use identity and access management tools throughout the year to manage software use and requests. This gives us a 360° view of licenses and access in relation to the HR file.

Only a handful of companies had planned for a sudden company-wide telecommuting, and this is obviously a scenario that we're going to have to work on from now on.

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What are the advantages of implementing an IAM tool for teleworking?

You might say that telecommuting isn't for everyone? Well, you're probably right about some of the people in your company, but some ex-officio teleworking projects have shown that, in the end, part of the company can work very well. Not necessarily all week, but for a few days.

In any case, a change in habits is to be expected in the years to come. So how do we go about it?

An identity management solution for HR

On the HR side, agreements are being drawn up to ensure that everyone finds their place. According to a survey by ANDRH, 68% of HR managers are in favor of developing teleworking. Off the record, there's even talk of moving towards shared offices, or flex-office.

HR works in partnership with the IT department to disseminate best safety practices.

An identity management tool will enable them to have a good overview of internal and external collaborators (contractors, temps...). It will also enable them to create workflows, particularly in the case of onboarding.

An authorization management solution for teams

On the team side, not all teams have the same maturity in terms of telecommuting. Some are of course confronted with the impossibility of working remotely, but others sometimes need a good working method such as Agile or other well-integrated processes before they are really operational. Functional teams, for example, get very good results from telecommuting.

For example, an employee may need to evolve or participate rapidly in a new project, and thus require new tools. Their manager can then quickly reassess their access rights, or assign them new software in line with the rules laid down by IT.

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An access management solution for IT departments

When it comes to IT, we're used to an on-premise infrastructure, with people in the office and software installed locally. Telecommuting means a change in these practices, with more tools available as SaaS, i.e. in the cloud.

Yes, but how do you manage access and people? Telecommuting requires controlled identity management to ensure the security of company data.

You don't wait for the problem to arise, or for a sudden change in working methods, before centralizing access. IAM software is implemented upstream.

You get an immediate overview of your applications, accounts and users. Manage users and their accounts.

Deployment takes place in several stages. We implement an access and identity management solution on certain pilot services, and see how it works, what needs to be improved, and what saves time. Once everything has stabilized, we roll out the solution on a massive scale.

On the other hand, one of the many advantages of using an IAM in telecommuting is that new tools can be put in place extremely quickly, for immediate deployment if necessary.

IT departments benefit from centralized account management. Users can access all their applications remotely, and IT has access to all applications used by employees, as well as to licenses and levels of responsibility...

This also enables us to better dimension our employees' needs and purchase software licenses as accurately as possible.

Another area of interest is hardware management in the case of telecommuting. If you lend out hardware to your employees, you'll need to keep an up-to-date inventory of what you've supplied, who's working on which version, etc. The advantage of an IAM is that you don't have to multiply software, and you can manage your hardware and software on a single platform. The advantage of an IAM is that you don't have to multiply software, and you can manage your accesses, identities and hardware on a single platform.

What's more, when deploying a pitching system, it's vital to have full control over all your equipment.

An access and identity management tool can be used to reinforce the security of data and remote connections. This will help review the compliance of it processes for remote working.

Teleworking doesn't necessarily mean easy, unencumbered working. Digitizing companies is one thing, securing practices is quite another. CIOs need to have full knowledge of the software used in their companies, the number of active accounts and authorization rights, and this becomes even truer when working remotely.

What about you? How do you manage access and identity in a teleworking environment?

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