By Editorial Team
For some organisations, 2020 was the first time their staff had worked remotely. This was not the case for Oracle, who already had several key collaboration building blocks in place to support their globally distributed workforce. They did, however, have a new dynamic to deal with.
Video conferencing went from an occasional tool to a critical component of almost every employee’s day, which required them to scale up and fast.
Providing the underlying technology is only part of the challenge though. Looking ahead, Oracle is refining its processes to make sure employees feel comfortable in this new environment and have the support they need to be successful in their roles.
We caught up with Monica Kelly, Oracle’s Vice President of Employee Experience Engineering, to find out more.
Q: How have your employee’s expectations changed during the pandemic?
MK: People aren’t travelling for work very much, but there has been an increase in demand for mobility services since very few employees are working from our offices now.
In the work-from-anywhere culture, people expect to access everything they need to do their jobs from laptops and mobile devices. Employees want emails, messaging platforms, collaboration tools and CRM, to be available on their phones and tablets – and I don’t expect that to change when people start coming back to the office.
Q: What are you doing to meet these new expectations?
MK: The biggest change for us was that we had to enable all employees to work productively from anywhere.
We used to have a predictable corporate enterprise network and office settings: the printers were there, support people were there, colleagues were there. That has gone away and we need to make sure employees have access to what they need by providing applications and data in the cloud – available from any device.
Coincidentally, this has also provided us with an advantage as we manage upgrades or a non-functioning device. We have strong processes for rapid recovery and hot spare delivery, but moving quickly from one device to another is also easier since everything is in the cloud.
Moving all parts of communication to digital channels has also been a big change. There was always a lot of email, but the rise of instant messaging and web conferencing has been huge.
The watercooler is now virtual, so the expectation is that every laptop has a camera, and every application is video-ready. With videoconferencing and our collaboration platforms in place, we have been able to stay connected as the workplace changed.
Q: How are we working with you to enable this new way of working?
MK: Oracle has a longstanding relationship with Vodafone Business, and we have consistently seen the value of working with a partner that provides us with expertise across the globe.
The biggest change we made was to upgrade our data plans, which enables our employees to use mobile devices to access Oracle systems and applications. This has been critical to our success during the pandemic.
Among many things, Vodafone Business provides us with a consistent delivery model, a centralised procurement process and helps make sure we have equipment in stock when employees need it.
Our relationship has also really helped us ease the impact of supply chain challenges, which has been so important during recent times.
Q: Looking ahead, what does the future of managed mobility look like for Oracle?
MK: Most employees now expect to be able to do their jobs from anywhere at any time. They’re more comfortable working outside of the office, but that means everything has to work everywhere on every device.
To support this we are going to enhance our mobile capabilities in the future and are looking at laptops with 5G capabilities, which will make a big difference in terms of where and how people can work remotely.
It’s about more than mobile service though, it’s about scaling service in multiple regions. It’s about improving the employee experience and increasing productivity and Vodafone Business understands that. It knows how to work with a company of our size to help enable critical business initiatives and is on board with our vision.
Q: It has been a challenging time for many businesses. How will the changes you’ve made support Oracle’s digital transformation and help the organisation face new business challenges?
MK: The digital transformation has completely changed how our employees interact with each other and with customers, especially when they are not able to travel. We were already seeing a transition to digital channels, but the pandemic dramatically accelerated the timeline of that transition.
In the past two years, we’ve gained a better understanding of the demand for bandwidth and network capacity that these new digital channels require.
And while it has been a challenging and interesting time for IT teams, the expertise and presence Vodafone Business has across key regions has helped Oracle deliver the services our employees need to help them and our customers succeed.
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