Suddenly, working remotely is the new normal for a wide range of knowledge workers. For years, remote work has been possible, and depending on the company, and the individual, it has been either embraced, or used as a last resort. Now, everyone has had to accept it.
Customer Experience Remains a Key Element when Working Remotely
One thing that remains though, is the fact that, to your customer, it does not matter if you work remotely or from the office. They still expect to receive the same level of customer service. That service might have moved online, but it does not change the core fact that it still needs to be there, and the company still needs to provide an excellent customer experience.
Providing an excellent customer experience online is even more relevant now when face-to-face contact has been eliminated.
So, what is the basis for excellent customer experience? It could easily be boiled down to one thing: easy and efficient access to data. All knowledge workers — be it the online chat host, the account manager, the accounts payable person, the customer project manager, or the technical support expert or anyone else contributing to the customer experience directly or indirectly — need that access.
There are three key things to remember when solving the issue of providing access to data remotely.
Provide Secure Access and Maintain Control
Enabling access to all relevant data remotely is suddenly a critical success factor. And, that access must be enabled in a way that keeps the security and privacy of that data intact. Businesses cannot afford to have their knowledge workers using private file shares or other tools that are outside of the purview of their IT department. Because when control is lost, security, and company processes are compromised.
Provide a Single Version of Truth
The other issue with access to data is the ability to have a single version of truth for everyone involved in the customer experience when they are scattered in different remote locations. This means one version of data, available for everyone involved. No versions saved on someone’s personal computer. No versions shared over email and then stored at another place. This quickly leads to total version chaos.
Provide a Future-Proof Solution
Sometimes, in the middle of chaos, and with a lot of priorities to tackle, it seems easy to choose something that at first glance seems to be the quick and easy solution to working remotely. The problem with that is, you might just delay problems. The quick and easy solutions will most likely lead to a situation where you just take your current problems and implement them in a new solution. This will not build your strength to emerge a winner.
User and access rights govern who sees what. Everyone might not need access to all the documents, but depending on their role, they need access to all the documents they need to do their work, and the version of that document needs to be the same regardless of the person’s role in the company.
So Why is this Important Now?
According to the Association of Intelligent Information Management (AIIM), 62% of companies are still totally reliant on network shares.
This means poor, even non-existent, access to documents. In many cases, there is no possibility at all to access documents stored in network folders when working remotely. Or, if there is, it is dependent on hard-to-use VPN connections that at the critical moment do not even function.
To amplify the case, Gartner states that almost half of employees have shared sensitive documents via personal file sharing accounts.
This is an immediate security and privacy risk. The personal file sharing tools don’t offer the same level of security as corporate controlled tools typically do. Additionally, the company has no way to know what data is stored and where, if personal tools are used. Therefore, the company is facing potential fines and loss of reputation in case the sensitive information is leaked, or if they fail to e.g. delete all personally identifiable data when requested to do so.