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Takeaway Only! The Parallels of Restaurants and IT During Lockdown

Nathan Godsall
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Like most Melburnians and other people around the world, visiting a local restaurant for a leisurely group meal is a strong part of my family’s social life. For much of 2020, this has been impossible as restaurants and cafes that have stayed open during lockdown bear ‘Takeaway Only!’ signs. This has led many of us to try to recreate the restaurant experience in our own homes.

With the mass evacuation of corporate offices so we can practice social distancing, our work is also in ‘takeaway only’ mode. With the implementation of work-from-home (WFH) initiatives, the initial focus of IT teams was on equipping staff with laptops and establishing access and security. As individuals, we had to work out the best place for necessary work equipment in our homes—often having to fit in with housemates, partners and children home-schooling.

Once equipped and settled, we were subject to unmonitored home internet connections of every description put under great pressure from the significant increase in video conferencing with our colleagues, as well as the conflicting needs of others in the household.

The question for IT teams turned to “How can we recreate an in-office experience for our WFH staff in terms of application performance and productivity?”

First look at the network

Many organisations accelerated their plans—or initiated new ones—to place workloads in the public cloud during the early months of 2020 in an effort to make them more accessible for distributed employees. As VPN and remote user infrastructure now had to support many more users, more consistently, there was increased reliance on IaaS and SaaS.

This involved reconfiguring links between these workloads and the enterprise data centre—making monitoring and management to optimise application performance in new configurations a critically important task. Access and security also required modification, increasing the amount of change and therefore potential performance degradation.

Clear visibility over a rapidly evolving network is essential to assure acceptable performance. Riverbed Network Performance Management tools are able to help you to understand just what the user experience should look like, and to identify where and why performance issues happen. This knowledge enables you to pinpoint actual or potential bottlenecks, providing the forensic evidence to present to your network service providers for rapid resolution.

Then look at remote connections

With infinitely greater numbers of employees now relying on their home connections to work productively, there is a simple way to deliver performance. Riverbed Application Acceleration solutions, including Client Accelerator and SaaS Accelerator, can provide an office-like experience to these workloads.

A word of caution around allowing users to accept poorer performance and productivity at home. They may just accept that this is the way it has to be when working away from the office—but what is the cost to your business in lost productivity?

Poor performance should not be a given. One organisation that discovered this is Landform, a professional architecture and engineering services company. Landform had to factor in the real impact of reduced productivity on their revenues given they had the same wage bill, but their employees could produce less. The solution was Riverbed Client Accelerator on employee laptops and desktops, with SteelHead CX in the data centre. This enabled 92% faster opening of CAD files from home—in one case, down from 20 minutes to just 90 seconds.

Into the future

Much research indicates that this year’s pandemic has escalated the move to working from anywhere—and that even when we can all go back to office, some of us will spend less time there in the coming years. In fact, we are now at a point where many employees have settled into a pattern of WFH—so now is the time to address the productivity and performance of these new work habits. This means that the above-mentioned technologies will continue to help us ensure ongoing productivity for our people, wherever they choose to work.

Meanwhile, if you are working from home and enjoying your favourite takeaway food at the same time, try not to spill that laksa on your keyboard!

If you’d like a 60-day trial of our Client Accelerator solution, talk to your ICT service provider or visit our website.

 

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