There's nothing quite like rolling out of bed (or staying in it), opening up your laptop, and being able to start your work day. No commute, no stress. Just some hot coffee, a homemade breakfast, your computer, and your workday pajamas.
Even just 5 or so years ago, this work from home experience would be less than ideal. In fact, your work laptop or home desktop would likely just be a replica of your in-office experience -- a way to remote into your internal tooling and partake in the same begrudging experience.
Enterprises, by their very nature, are slow beasts. Even mid-sized companies between 500-1000 employees can only produce internal tooling so quickly. The old way of remoting into antiquated internal systems just wasn't cutting it for the new work-from-home experience.
If you worked from home in the past (or currently), you've probably had this happen to you:
Permission's error - Looks like I can't login to anything. Is one of our systems down?
Video conference - Screen frozen, can't join, "hello can you hear me?.. how about now?", "you can see me, but can't hear me?", robot voice, and much more.
Coordinating meetings - Is everyone away from their desk? Is there a surprise meeting I missed? Can someone invite me? Wait, when did we decide that?
Companies have begun to notice that working from home only works if the employee has the tools to work. Otherwise, it becomes more of a day off than a day of remote work. So, how do we fix this?
The Consumerization of Enterprise
The phrase consumerization of enterprise is being thrown around more and more. What does this mean for your job? Your software development cycle? Your process for building and deploying? You may see it impacting your day-to-day life sooner than you think.
Gartner formally defines consumerization as:
Consumerization is the specific impact that consumer-originated technologies can have on enterprises. It reflects how enterprises will be affected by, and can take advantage of, new technologies and models that originate and develop in the consumer space, rather than in the enterprise IT sector. - Gartner 2017
Goodbye Internal RTC Tool. Hello, Slack/HipChat
Real-time is where it's at. SaaS tools are no longer just that hot trend for startups. They are starting to become normalized in the enterprise world. Real-time communication is creating a consistent experience from work to home, where you can access the same set of tools remotely as in person. SaaS companies are beginning to adopt enterprise security compliance to appeal to larger organizations.
Sprints are no longer just a 9 to 5 endeavor. The ability to ping you at all hours of the day, via phone, desktop notifications, and email notifications will keep you on your toes 24/7.
Excessive communication may leave you drained and overstimulated, but you'll be able to get answers quickly and stay up-to-date with the office chatter.
GIFs and emoticons allow you to imbue some personality into your remote communication.
Video Conferencing That Actually Works
Well, we all know that video conferencing still isn't perfect, but companies are starting to adopt some of the newer tools, like Zoom and HighFive. More casual companies are even facilitating peer-to-peer collaboration through Skype or Google Hangouts.
More importantly, this is allowing remote conferencing to become a more seamless part of everyday Agile life. It has now become the norm that at least one person will be remote for a meeting, so setting up the video conference is just part of everyday life.
Real-Time Document Collaboration
Gone are the days where you had to send files back and forth via an internal file management system. You can now collaborate in real-time using tools like Dropbox and Google Drive. Once these cloud systems are adopted company-wide, then it closes the gap between in-office and remote collaboration.
This document collaboration also manifests in new SaaS project management and issue tracking tools. Your entire Agile workflow can now seamlessly transition between in-office and at-home work environments.
The New Consumerization Equation
Agile + Work From Home = Consumerization of Enterprise
The need to release software quickly, accelerate sprint cycles, and accommodate the modern developer lifestyle has driven enterprises towards consumerization. This means that employees are now being treated like consumers, whereby the tools they use should be intuitive, friendly, and accessible from anywhere.
The more enterprises consumerize, the more the line will blur between in-office and remote, for better or for worse.