Technology for a Remote Workforce

September 24th, 2020 by David Burley

Probably like many of you, we’ve been working on modernizing our tools and processes to operate even more effectively as a remote team. All of our systems for our United Way partners function remotely, but we still have a few internal processes to modernize. One of those is our Accounts Payable process — and today I was able to swipe-right to approve an invoice!

What processes and technology would you like to streamline today? We have been working with many United Ways to solve problems, so if you want to work together, please reach out to us and we will be happy to set up a discussion.

But first, here’s what my office looked like yesterday morning…

 

Here are a few examples of how you can improve systems today and be ready for tomorrow.

Active Directory and System Management

Remote team members aren’t in the office, they cannot authenticate to Active Directory from home and cannot access resources that are in the office. One partial solution is to not have a centralized directory. Another more recent option is to join the systems to ‘Active Directory in the Cloud’. This also allows users to have the same password for their local workstation as they have for Office 365 – and more. For local file resource solutions, see below.

Files

Virtual Office is there to support your file access needs, but there are more modern alternatives integrated and included with Office 365. Microsoft Teams is a versatile platform built on top of SharePoint, and allows file access across all your devices (phones, tablets, computers) from wherever you are.

OneDrive is also available for files you might otherwise put into your H: drive, with built-in sharing features. Both OneDrive and Microsoft Teams allow for co-authoring of documents, where multiple people can edit the same document at the same time. This is great for collaboration with colleagues in different locations in real-time.

Phones / Conferencing / Chat

Many United Ways we work with are using a variety of tools for communications. One common setup is Zoom for conferencing, a phone system that only works from within the office, and Outlook for email. Two challenges here are that the systems are not integrated well and the phone system only fully functions within the office.

For United Ways without 2-1-1 on the phone system, we are recommending all of these functions migrate to Microsoft Teams. Microsoft Teams works for files but also is a suite for unified communications. It can implement IVR functionality, provide conference (video, audio, screen sharing) capability for all users, and function as a phone for every user — with soft-phones on computers, tablets and smart phones. It also supports conferencing systems and desk phones.  We found in our use that nobody wanted a phone after they could use it across all of their other devices, dramatically reducing the cost of deployment.

Security

Security is a core part of our Office 365 management solutions, Upic Essentials and Virtual Office. We can help configure multi-factor authentication (MFA), to dramatically strengthen access to content in Office 365. When a user logs in for the first time on a new device, they get a prompt on their smart phone to confirm it is them.

We also have options available to manage disk encryption on devices, which is especially important with systems being deployed outside of the traditional office.

Other Challenges

We have worked on countless other challenges, some unique, some not. One example being the Virtual VITA Program where we worked together to develop and implement an impactful program with United Way Suncoast.

Please reach out. We look forward to working with you on a solution for your remote work needs!


Find out how Upic can help you: