IT leaders find themselves at the center of a C-suite conversation on remote workforce strategy.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

August 28, 2020

5 Min Read

It’s now crucial for businesses to embrace a remote workforce strategy.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced companies to switch to working from home practically overnight. Furthermore, not everyone will return to the office once the pandemic ends.

A remote workforce strategy is critical to serving customers, generating revenue, reducing costs, and collaborating and innovating from anywhere. And it’s catching on. For example, just this week, Okta announced it will let most of its 2,600 employees work remotely permanently.

IT leaders find themselves at the center of a C-suite conversation on remote workforce strategy. That’s because they’re walking a tightrope between supporting evolving business needs, and having to cut costs amid shrinking budgets.

During a Channel Partners Virtual presentation titled “Operate from Anywhere: the Next Evolution of Remote Work,” Sept. 9, three industry leaders will share their journeys through this transition. Attendees will learn what they’re doing to create sustainable agility and growth for the future.

Avant’s Jennifer Gallego and JS Group’s Michelle McBain are among the industry speakers who will “take the stage” at Channel Partners Virtual. Our online trade show is Sept. 8-10. Don’t miss out on this one-of-a-kind event. So register now!

Speakers includeJennifer Gallego, Avant‘s executive vice president of sales for the West. There’s also Meghan Keough, 8×8‘s global vice president of product and solutions marketing; and Michelle McBain, JS Group‘s vice president of global partner strategy.

In a Q&A with Channel Partners, Gallego and McBain offer a sneak peek of the information they plan to share with attendees.

Channel Partners: How did your company’s remote work transition go early in the pandemic?


Avant’s Jennifer Gallego

Jennifer Gallego: All and all, I think Avant and many organizations did a decent job. The key to their success was the tech that supported the transition. The more cloud-ready, the more swift the transition went.

Michelle McBain: Our company team members are already spread out … so we are quite familiar and empowered to work from anywhere.

CP: Any lessons learned, problems to solve during the process?

JG: There were some initial concerns about sufficient bandwidth to run the supporting applications. We’re past that phase. Companies are now more likely to be asked for other office components, ranging from cameras, printers, etc. So the problem solving will continue as companies work to meet employees work-from-home needs.


JS Group’s Michelle McBain

MM: The biggest complexity was for our customers used to us being in person at events or face-to-face meetings. COVID-19 was the perfect storm to rapidly change companies overnight to what we feel has been a long time coming. This is why our social selling and digital ninja coaching has been so well received. [It] has driven great results, a new digital brand and profitable revenue despite these challenging times.

CP: What are the keys to a successful remote work plan?

JG: This needs to be tackled on two levels. There are the technical capabilities, such as having the right collaboration tools, bandwidth requirements, as well as security for the remote worker. Then, organizations need to establish how they are going to ensure employee productivity, how they plan on provider coaching and ultimately employee satisfaction in the new normal. Reinventing how leaders communicate with their teams as well as cross-departmentally. How do we all stay connected as human beings?

MM: First is to have empathy for the challenges many of your employees and customers are facing. Many of them or their loved ones might be high risk. It is important to be cognizant of …

… their concerns. Additionally, many [households] have two working parents who are now also tasked with homeschooling. So allowing flexibility and grace is powerful to champion a happy and healthy employee culture. They require high-speed internet, and the right technology and security to be efficient and effective in completing their roles and responsibilities.

I am a huge believer in unified communications, and allowing the face-to-face contact to remain consistent from anywhere, anytime, to not lose momentum or connection. As John DeLozier, 8×8’s channel chief, said, features go out the window if your platform is not secure. And with 44% of companies [not allowing] their employees to work from home prior to COVID-19, it is critical that information remain secure, protected and redundant. Many events and face-to-face meetings were canceled indefinitely. So building a strong personal brand is critical to success. Leveraging social coaching can help differentiate you and your company from the competition, and continue to build strong relationships with your team, customer and prospects.

CP: What do you hope attendees learn and can make use of from this presentation?

JG: Ultimately, many companies have maintained and even had continued growth during this pandemic. This wouldn’t have been possible without the UC and collaboration tools to drive communication both with employees and their customers. This pandemic will change how many companies do business forever, accelerating their jump to cloud technologies. This technology is no longer supporting a company’s infrastructure; it’s now a leading business initiative that is driving their business.

MM: I hope they can learn that despite the obstacles that 2020 has brought them, they have a great opportunity to pause and rethink their people, process, technology and how they invest to help them pivot and be successful in our new normal.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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