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Tips for IT Decision Makers Supporting Work from Home and Online Learning Environments

Posted by Anthony Graziano on Apr 1, 2020 7:44:05 PM

With all the uncertainty in the air right now, it’s difficult to make decisions due to distractions.  It’s human nature to apply previous learning from similar events to decisions you make. Yet, that’s hard now because we’ve never been here.  

Leaders across state, local and federal governments, K-12 and higher education institutions, religious organizations, small-to-medium businesses and even large global enterprises are in transition, working to keep their organizations operational.  From the local coffee shop or event planning firm to the giant consumer and tech company, businesses are working out the balancing act of keeping people safe, while maintaining business continuity.

For many organizations, that means deploying new technology platforms or updating legacy systems to support work from home (WFH) and online learning.

Many of you reading this post likely know Tech Data. Some may not. We operate as a quiet underpinning force to orchestrate technology deployments in the global marketplace.  Tech Data is a leader in the IT channel – an “ecosystem” within the overall technology industry that helps bring technology to market, when and where it’s needed most. As a go-to-market technology engine, we partner with numerous technology vendors to support a broad range of over 125,000 reseller partners such as Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), Value-Added Resellers (VARs), Integrators, Solution Service Providers (SSPs) and Managed Solution Providers (MSPs), among others, to create, deliver and deploy solutions to meet today’s business challenges. 

And one of today’s biggest challenges is to enable working, learning and collaborating from home.  The entire Tech Data team rallies around our mission – “connecting the world with the power of technology.”  This mission is evidenced in a recent article featuring Tech Data CEO, Rich Hume, who conveyed the message that we are here to serve by enabling the world to work from home.

Forbes recently reported that Zoom CEO, Eric Yuan, is offering his videoconferencing software for free to K-12 schools in Japan, Italy and the U.S.  According to a recent article in The Guardian, today’s environment could cause a “permanent shift toward working from home.” 

Knowing so many organizations are working to put in place WFH capabilities, I’d like to offer some IT decision-making tips to assist with new technology deployments supporting remote working, distance learning, or virtual collaboration environments:

  • Stay Calm & Logical. Moving Quickly is important but think through what you are trying to accomplish today and in the future. Ask yourself, “How do I expect users to engage and what are the realistic limitations?” For example, in setting up a distance learning platform for a K-12 school district, consider the students’ home environments and the potential for no Wi-Fi. Cellular connectivity may be the right solution, which may impact the chosen student devices.  Think through the end users – kids, for example, can’t lug around heavy devices and thus there should be consideration for device protection such as casings to protect the device for longevity.   

  • Consider your budget and strongly consider a Technology as a Service (TaaS) subscription-based solution. TaaS may allow you to jump in today with no capital expenditure and save you money in the long run.

  • Consider the range of work-from-home essentials needed.You may want to investigate client devices with accessories like cameras, microphones and monitors; collaboration platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, among others; and connectivity solutions such as Fixed, Cellular LP/WAN, Wi-Fi. Ask the question, ‘Am I putting a solution in place for 6 or 600 workers?’ What is really needed for your WFH workforce to be effective?

  • Test it. Take some time to deploy and test the environment with a small number of users. This will serve you well in deploying a solution that has staying power into the future.  Your WFH solution should be built to flex and evolve.

  • Think about the cybersecurity implications. As you put hundreds, even thousands, of new mobile devices into play, it puts your network at more risk.  This may require speaking to a security specialist to ensure you can protect data at risk.

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    Watch three endpoint experts from Tech Data conduct a Zoom meeting regarding the deployment details for a work-from-home solution in support of a Small-to-Medium Business (SMB) partner.

    As a leading IT solutions aggregator, Tech Data’s role in the marketplace is to speed time to market for the latest technology solutions. How do we do that?  We are in a unique position to bring together our hundreds of on-staff technology consultants, tens of thousands of reseller partners, and the technology vendors to quickly deploy superior technology solutions to the marketplace. 

    “To support the anytime, anywhere workforce, we deliver a comprehensive range of endpoint solutions to help organizations transform the way they work, stay connected and collaborate,” according to Linda Rendleman, Senior Vice President, Endpoint Solutions, Tech Data. “We are here to assist the many organizations that are now being forced to jump into this new workforce model, offering the know-how and collaboration experts to help get organizations up and running as soon as possible.”

    Tech Data creates solutions to meet any organization’s needs with quick deployments designed for the future. Whether that’s standing up an effective online learning platform for an independent school district, supporting K-12 learning from home, or delivering a turn-key market-ready virtual collaboration setup allowing employees to team up from their home offices, we are here to help.

    Click here to learn more about Tech Data’s EDGE solutions and to get connected with our hundreds of experts supporting today’s modern workforce.

    About the Author

    Anthony Graziano leads the marketing efforts to accelerate Tech Data’s go-to-market growth initiatives for workspace transformation, the anytime/anywhere modern digital workforce and next-generation collaboration solutions as part of the Endpoint Solutions portfolio.   In this role, he sets marketing strategy and the differentiated position for Tech Data along with a range of alliance partners supporting the broad Endpoint solutions catalog. Graziano joined Tech Data in 2002 and has held leadership and subject matter expert roles in sales, customer service, product marketing, vendor management and marketing. He brings more than 20 years of professional experience to this role.  Prior to joining Tech Data, he held marketing and sales positions in the hospitality and tourism industry.  See his profile on LinkedIn.

Tags: Virtual Teamwork, IT Tips for Work From Home, Online Learning