THE conventional office could soon be a thing of the past for many industries, according to Bruce Skinner, MD of Pisys.net – an IT support company based in Aberdeen.
His theory is supported by a recent survey by GigaOm Pro, which looked at the future of work places and concluded that the advent of the internet and various technologies are changing the way people work.
For Bruce, the realisation came as he waited in a Deeside coffee shop to meet a contact by appointment. He was early and when he received a call, on his smart phone, about a technology problem from one of his clients in Nigeria, he had the time, expertise and equipment at his fingertips to resolve the blip, there and then, for a client who is based in Aberdeen but has offices all over the world.
“Mobile working is the only way for me because technology is moving so fast,” he said.
The Nigeria incident was easily resolved. “I logged on and sorted it because I had my MacBook Air with me, which very portable but is powerful enough to let me work remotely. The user at the other end does not need to be computer savvy as remote access can be gained at the click of a button.”
The advent of the tablet laptop, such as the ipad, is going a long way to making the office obsolete, says Bruce.
They, plus cloud servers, are revolutionising the way so many people work and where they work. The widespread availability of cloud services has empowered individual workers to bypass IT and use of services that would not otherwise be available or would take an enormous amount of time to be deployed.
Says a spokesperson: “The GigaOm Pro survey found that 62 per cent of businesses contacted already have employees who already work remotely either full time or part time, for a range of reasons. The primary one is job satisfaction. Offering the ability to work flexibly and remotely has shifted and what was once considered a privilege for workers is now a necessary component for companies that want to be competitive in the marketplace.
“Email has had a lot to do with the move to remote working but the survey found that only 35 per cent of workers expect to use email more in the future compared to last year. Similarly, the use of office landlines is also likely to decline. Instead, texting, mobile phones, video communications and instant messaging/chat are on the increase.”
So with gray-coloured cubicles becoming a thing of the past, what of IT departments?
“My bold prediction is that they will also become a thing of the past,” Bruce said. “Infrastructure teams are already being reduced. Internal IT departments will shrink and external companies will pick up the business. Where previously companies were spending money on infrastructure to support their business I think they will contract out.”
He believes that Pisys-net has created a model for future IT support.
One phone call from a client is often enough to have any problem resolved remotely, as was demonstrated with the Nigeria incident.
“The other day, my office-based staff of five had calls from three clients within ten minutes and within half an hour all the calls had been answered all the problems were fixed by the end of the morning,” he said.
Another big part of Bruce’s business is permanent remote access so that he can check all is well with clients’ laptops in the evenings, weekends and public holidays when they aren’t being used.
No office, no IT department and computers fixed from the other side of the world. Could it happen, or is it happening already?
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