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Last week our CEO, Danny Donado was joined by Rory McGregor, COO of Emso Management and Victoria Pavlova, Technology Editor at HFM, for the technology panel of HFM Global’s Business Continuity Series. The series focused around providing real-world insights and best practices to help support firms through the coronavirus crisis, and panelists shared their experiences, perspectives and solutions for adapting working patterns and technology.

The webinar discussed the real impact on vendor due diligence requirements, cybersecurity, and technology preparedness, but really focused in on areas which have proven to be the most challenging.

In reality, while many firms have found themselves fairly well-prepared in their technology stack, few have ever “war-gamed the 100% remote work strategy”, so the webinar dug into the findings and experiences from recent weeks to identify gaps, and how to ensure that you have the right technology and processes in place.

In the 40 minute discussion, including a Q&A, the panel’s takeaway advice was unanimous and succinct:

  1. Stick to the cloud
  2. Continue full assessments of Physical hardware and enhance it wherever possible.
  3. Evaluate how you operate on an extended basis… how does a distributed workforce impact knowledge share and performance etc.

The most emphatic “yes” from across the board, and echoed by clients we’ve spoken to in recent weeks, is that this surely represents the final nail in the coffin for on-premise technology. 

You can listen to the webinar in full here, and below we’ve provided a summary on the takeaways and discussion points for how the panel reached that conclusion, namely looking at the three key areas of remote working challenges and considerations.  

1. Your Employee’s Physical Remote Setup 

The importance of hardware, screens, cables, connectivity…

“Sounds like a simple checkbox but it’s been absolutely critical.”

The panel discussed their findings that the single biggest bottleneck for those who had remote working set-up challenges, has been the workspace; namely hardware and internet connection. They found that variability was mostly down to physical circumstances (i.e. whether there’s dedicated desk space, strong local connectivity etc.) versus more low-hanging fruit that firms can readily address (i.e. providing laptops, cables and screens etc.).

Takeaway: Continue thorough assessments of your physical hardware and enhance it wherever possible.

2. Your Firm’s Digital Preparedness 

Software, digital data capture, cloud accessibility, system interoperability…

“No one’s going to be asking whether it should be cloud or not anymore”

Among our client base at Bipsync, we’ve found technology readiness has been strong for investment teams, with wide adoption of cloud tools, chat and video conferencing (Microsoft Teams and Zoom particularly prevalent and critical during this time) and of course, the Bipsync RMS facilitating remote content access and collaboration. Readiness is noticeably lower for operations teams and functions, however, particularly those who have yet to digitize workflows (i.e. contracts, faxing requirements etc.)

Takeaway: Stick to the cloud

3. The Human Element

Social interactions, collaboration, work processes…

“One of the biggest gaps has been ad-hoc knowledge share.”

Near-term, the majority of firms have reported that they’ve been doing fairly well on this front. Many, the panel included, are still working to identify the optimum form and cadence of communication (daily/weekly calls, whether to request video or not etc.) 

However, and perhaps understandably, there is less confidence around the make-up of an extended remote work arrangement.

The biggest medium-term gap is figuring out how to offset the lack of ad-hoc knowledge sharing and social interactions (chatting with co-workers on ideas, maintaining camaraderie/team cohesion etc.), while a common long-term concern is how to measure/maintain productivity in an extended period of remote work.

Takeaway: Take the time now to evaluate how you can operate remotely on an extended basis.

What’s next?

“When it comes to long-term remote working, the genie is out of the bottle.”

When it comes to remote working, most agree that this could act as a tipping point for firms supporting increased remote working demands in the future. A recurring theme we hear from clients, and we discuss in more detail on the webinar, is that WFH setups may become more common, after you’ve proven teams can work productively remotely and adopted the enabling technologies/processes. Another is that Video Conferencing will be much more the norm, at least for internal purposes.

At Bipsync, we already fully separated client IT infrastructure from our local offices. We can expect many that haven’t done so already to follow suit.

Our local offices are just places with heat, light and snacks.

Listen to the webinar in full for more on this, and:

  • DDQs: Vendor remote-work readiness, key questions and revisiting and updating vendor business continuity plans.
  • Cybersecurity: The importance of VPN practices, an increase in the amount of phishing exercises,  and best practice examples for internal checks and stealth testing.
  • Medium-long term impact: Where WFH and virtually-run business will become more prevalent internally, and where it won’t externally.