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Cloud uptake boosted by the pandemic holds benefits for HR and FM teams

Morphean’s CEO, Rodrigue Zbinden, considers the recent increase in cloud adoption and how hosted security solutions can help to manage teams, facilities and operations.

COVID-19 forced businesses around the globe to deal with a great many new challenges. Not least, work-from-home-if-you-can policies were enforced as national lockdowns were imposed, allowing businesses to remain operational and with many turning to hosted video conferencing platforms to replace the need to meet face-to-face. As a result, the digitalisation of business processes and functions has been accelerated by the rapid need to embrace cloud technologies.

To better understand the ability of cloud technologies to help businesses during the pandemic and beyond, and to reveal purchasing intent in relation to cloud-enabled security solutions, Morphean commissioned a survey of 1000 senior decision makers across the UK, Germany and Sweden, working within HR, facilities management, IT and security.

Cloud adoption and the changing workplace

Our survey found that, as a result of the pandemic, over three quarters (76%) of managers across industry increased their organisational use of video conferencing software, such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. In fact, the web / video conferencing market is now expected to reach $10.46 billion by 2027[1], with the dramatic increase in predictions being attributed to a dispersed workforce, the closing of educational institutions and the mandatory lockdowns imposed by governments across the world.

Results revealed that 65% of respondents have increased their usage of hosted office applications, 53% have increased their use of online file sharing technologies and 46% stated that their organisations are using social collaboration platforms much more than before the COVID-19 pandemic began. The requirement to spend more time at desks and in front of devices, as opposed to in meetings or commuting, clearly points to a greater reliance on technology, with more than half of facilities / operations departments (55%) reporting increasing their use of cloud-based applications.

Many senior decision makers will have realised the merits associated with embracing digitalisation measures across the enterprise. 78% of respondents anticipate their organisations’ use of cloud (hosted) technologies to increase in the future as a result of COVID-19, with 50% indicating that having more flexibility in working locations is a primary advantage. 82% of all respondents stated that they would expect to see much more or slightly more working from home or flexible working than pre-pandemic levels.

Efficiencies through greater insights

From a facilities management and human resources perspective this raises many questions around the management of premises that may remain empty for extended periods and a workforce that is flexible in terms of both working hours and working space. A recent study by Deloitte[2] predicts that, where an employee previously had to request to work from home, it will become normal for the opposite to happen; working from home will become the new standard and office space will need to be applied for, along with a desk, parking space and adapted allowances.

HR managers ranked easier collaboration (46%) and more flexibility in working locations (46%) as the main benefits of moving business functions to the cloud, while facilities and operations decision makers highlighted more flexibility in working locations (56%) and cost effectiveness (48%). Businesses can use this more flexible approach to their advantage, with facilities teams making efficiencies around the use of energy, lighting, heating and even the leasing or divesting of work space according to data around its use, obtained from modern cloud-enabled access control systems and other interconnected network camera devices.

VSaaS and ACaaS: a call for urgent adoption

Physical security solutions such as video surveillance cameras are also increasingly moving to the cloud, spurred on by the rapid uptake of cloud systems as a result of the pandemic. Connected to a network as an IoT device, modern solutions bring powerful insights from collected data that can enhance security for comprehensive levels of protection. In addition, such systems offer many benefits outside of security, which can aid operations and business decision making. One example is office track and trace, where access control and video data can be used to determine an employee’s movements in the event of a positive COVID-19 result, and alert others who may have made physical contact with that individual.

39% of facilities managers and 34% of HR managers revealed that they currently use a cloud-based system such as video surveillance as a service (VSaaS) and access control as a service (ACaaS) for security purposes. When asked whether the pandemic had increased the necessity/urgency for businesses to adopt VSaaS and ACaaS, a significant 70% of respondents agreed. Security will need to be enhanced to facilitate greater flexibility in worker patterns. An access control solution which is linked to HR records, for example, can check the swipe of an access card against staff records, with surveillance cameras providing secondary authentication, visually clarifying an individual’s identity.

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A more convenient business model

Cloud will enable more businesses to customise and scale quickly to meet ongoing challenges, with solutions offered ‘as-a-service’ meaning a move toward an operational expenditure model, rather than one based on capital expenditure. While this model will be unfamiliar to those businesses used to purchasing equipment as a capital asset, the freezing of budgets during the crisis will surely have made a model based on small recurring monthly payments more appealing.

In fact, 28% of respondents highlighted cost benefits as a key factor in the move towards VSaaS/ACaaS and 19% indicated that they would expect to see all-inclusive updates/upgrades and support. VSaaS and ACaaS are supported by the latest software updates and firmware upgrades, so are always up to date. Additionally, functionality such as remote management allows operations to be monitored offsite via mobile device. Access from any location (32%), remote maintenance (31%), and the ability to monitor empty sites (29%) were all identified as key benefits of introducing VSaaS and ACaaS, alongside better security (40%) and better functionality (33%).

Cloud is here to stay. Its resilience and ability to connect the world during the COVID-19 pandemic has proved its worth, even to the uninitiated who have now witnessed first-hand the value of connected systems. VSaaS and ACaaS provide a flexible and fluid security and business solution to meet the demands of a rapidly evolving world, where the changing threat landscape means investing in the cloud is an investment towards success.

Read the whitepaper for further insights and to understand the benefits for FM and HR managers:

Picture4 - Business Express
About Morphean SA

Morphean is a Swiss technology company with a strong presence in more than 12 countries worldwide. Founded in 2009 and with over 60 partners across Europe, the secure Morphean platform informs decision making and drives efficiencies for all organisations by generating unique and actionable insights from a multitude of data sources. With expertise across retail, transport & facilities management, among others, the company is recognised as a leader in secure service platform delivery through the use of cloud and AI technologies. The platform helps firms prepare for the future by keeping their ‘Eyes Wide Open’ to the intelligence gathered from a variety of network connected devices.





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