Windows 10 Pro and the tools for agile working
How the shift to Windows 10 Pro can help to get your agile workforce moving
It's no secret that broad strides forward in technology have been key to the development of modern agile-working culture. Desktop computers demanded that workers stick to their allotted desks, and even clunky, old-school laptops weren't convenient or widely available enough to permit employees to pick up and settle wherever they liked in an office building or beyond.
Cheaper, more efficient mobile devices enabled the agile revolution, where workers could be equipped to hotdesk, work remotely or even on-the-go, and pack up and move at a moment's notice – and the events of 2020 have accelerated remote-working practices at a greater rate than could have been anticipated. But having a laptop and an internet connection isn't enough for effective agile working – you need to supply your staff with the correct tools for the job. With support ending for Windows 7, moving to Windows 10 Pro shouldn’t just be seen as an OS necessity, but also the catalyst to upgrade your hardware and optimise your dispersed workplace.
Representing a modern business
The prevalence of quality laptops in the modern workplace created an expectation among employees, and the 2020 lockdown crystalised this into a necessity. When someone starts a new job, they are likely to assume they will be given a reliable, up-to-date machine to work from, and to a certain extent, your business' desirability to a potential hire may hinge on the hardware you have on offer and its ability to enable agile working. Running a fleet of the cheapest possible PCs isn't going to make your organisation a tempting prospect to new talent.
Agile working opens another related issue that you might not have considered. Once restrictions begin to ease, we will again begin to see the visibility of your workforce increasing. Laptops will be taken to external meetings, and your employees may even choose to spend the day working off-site with clients in order to build stronger ties. It's not only your workers that will be more visible, but the hardware that they carry with them.
When it comes to agile working, your mobile devices represent your company too, and to project a professional image you need to keep them up-to-date. That dented laptop from five years ago just won't do if you're trying to impress a client.
Efficiency and security
It's not all about keeping up appearances. A decentralised, mobile workforce opens up new security risks, whether through lost devices or stolen data. A laptop in a cafe or private residence is much easier to swipe than a desktop computer in a secure office building, and you need to be prepared for the worst.
Windows 10 Pro offers a host of new security features that will mitigate these risks with features like Find My Device and BitLocker dynamic encryption. But to get the most out of these features, you need not just the updated OS but new laptops – like the HP Elite Dragonfly or HP EliteBook x360 – which include the hardware to maximise those safety features. For instance, these newer models like HP’s 800, 830 and 1000 Series come equipped with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) that, coupled with BitLocker, will make your hard drives functionally impossible to decrypt. HP's Elite range also includes biometric sensors that use fingerprint or facial recognition to enable Windows Hello's secure login system.
When it comes to performance, the Elitebook range packs in the latest Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, giving you four cores running at speeds of up to 4.2Ghz, with up to 32GB of RAM and dedicated NVIDIA GPUs on some of the most performance-focused models. This is more than enough to crunch through demanding business applications and daily work tasks. The Elitebook 800 and 805 G7 series, meanwhile, use the powerful and battery efficient AMD Ryzen PRO processor. The 805 series is billed by HP as “the world's thinnest and lightest AMD-based mainstream business notebooks”.
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The reliability of your hardware becomes even more key when you factor in agile and remote working. It goes without saying that an old laptop with a tendency to crash when its user is calling in to an important meeting is a liability. Newer devices are more likely to be compatible with any apps your business uses, and will run faster, cutting down on any time wasted waiting for the computer to catch up and sparing you from the egg timer/pinwheel icon – never mind the dreaded blue screen. With many workers no longer based in an office with easy access to their IT department, serious tech issues have become even more inconvenient and disruptive.
Battery life is another basic issue that can become a major agile working roadblock. Old devices whose batteries run down in a matter of minutes – or don't retain any charge at all – need to be replaced, because your workforce's mobility will be seriously limited if they can't stray more than a few metres from a plug socket without their laptops dying. Each generation of laptops also delivers lighter, sleeker machines – the newest models are now genuinely portable and won't leave your workforce with incipient back problems from carrying them around.
Fortunately, upgrading your hardware doesn't have to be the enormous expenditure that it once was. Managed service providers (MSPs) and the ever-increasing 'as a service' options available – such as such as HP Device as a Service – can provide your business with the latest equipment, shifting high capital expenditure into more manageable operating expenditure – as well as bringing in outside expertise to assist with your shift to an agile working culture and take some of the pressure off your IT department. And for your business printing device needs, there’s also Managed Print Services (MPS), with a modular approach that can be tailored to your company’s specific requirements wherever and however your workforce is operating.
In 2020, with the uptake in remote working forcing swift changes in the workplace, the need for a modern management approach to your IT estate is required. Recent research from Microsoft revealed that nine out of 10 workers want the latest technology solutions to enable them to do their jobs. Upgrading to the latest devices, like those on offer from HP Services, gives workers the opportunity to collaborate in real-time, have always-on access to files, stay secure, and work from wherever they might be located. All of this comes as an out-of-the-box solutio – and device rollout needn’t be a headache, either.
You can shift to remote management without changing your existing IT infrastructure, thanks to features that simplify device deployment, personalisation and sign-up. Windows Autopilot, for example, can customise images and pre-configure new devices – the only thing required from the end user is to connect to the company network and verify credentials then set-up will be automated.
By adopting these services, it demonstrates to those nine out of 10 employees that yours is a modern, technologically forward-thinking and desirable business to work for – and one that is properly equipped to confront disruption to the degree we’ve seen in 2020.
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