Meeting the Remote Work Challenge

Forward by Nick Lippis, Co-Founder and Co-Chair ONUG 

In the past six months most of the requirements and assumptions IT executives, architects and designers made about the IT systems they built to support their businesses have changed.  There is a massive pivot for all corporations to be digital enterprises supporting consumers, partners and suppliers digitally.   But in addition, every large corporation now has a massive digital employee pool to support as well.

 The ONUG community has always championed greater options and choices for IT executives to digitally transform their corporations.  As a community we have advocated for a range of enterprise cloud technologies and approaches that would speed up the digital transformation process..   Little did we know that the transition, that we thought would take a decade, has occurred in six months.    

Alex Henthorn-Iwane is a valued ONUG community thought leader and he points out the remote workforce dynamic that every ONUG member corporation is experiencing. It is with great pride that Alex and Sinefa are engaged with the ONUG community to increase observability of digital systems.   The area of monitoring, visibility, observability and AIOps are fundamental to the new digital world we live in, but we’re moving faster than we can operationalize.  

The ONUG Community welcomes Alex and Sinefa to close the gap between rapid digital deployment and operationalization via observability and AIOps.

Reunited and it feels so good

ONUG is a community at heart, one that I’ve had the pleasure to be involved with for a few years across a few different companies. Last year I had the privilege to co-lead the Observability working group with colleagues from both enterprises and tech vendors. So I’m delighted to announce that Sinefa (the Digital Experience Monitoring SaaS company I joined a few months ago), is now a member of ONUG and will be participating in the working group activities and participating as a Thought Leader sponsor at ONUG Fall 2020.

 Remote work and digital transformation

Everyone knows that WFH has become a defining reality for corporate life, and by extension, for IT and network teams. Approximately 50% of U.S. workers are now working from home, up from roughly 5% before the pandemic. IT has had to scramble, in triage mode, to procure the essential tools needed for remote workers to, err, work remotely. The PC market ticked up as laptops were in sudden demand. Collaboration tools like Zoom, and Webex, and secure access service edge (SASE) tools like Netskope and Zscaler had a field day. Zoom is now worth more on the stock market than all the U.S. airlines combined. And that triage is not over. According to IDC surveys and others, organizations are still in the process of vetting, purchasing, and onboarding collaboration applications.

Furthermore, those same surveys show that the move to remote work has driven IT investments away from infrastructure and accelerated cloud adoption. Used to get your information from hallway meetings? Well now, businesses are investing in tons of new knowledge hub apps. Never used Slack before? Welcome to the party. Grab yourself an emoji and jump on in, the water’s fine. Yep, this pandemic has IT in high gear to get remote workers equipped and digitally transformed like never before.

 The need to operationalize the remote workforce

But as triage tails off, a new and critically important phase begins: operationalizing the remote workforce. Studies are showing IT teams are not equipped to support remote workers the way they need. A survey by UK consulting firm Accelerate Technologies found that IT leaders face a variety of challenges due to the new work from home reality:   

  •   58% said they face difficulties with worker performance & support issues
  •   47% said they see issues with remote worker capacity (bandwidth)
  •   45% said they see a problem with their ability to support an increased number of remote/home workers

 A survey of remote workers by 1E found that 37% are experiencing more IT issues working remotely. 72% of survey respondents said it takes days, even weeks to resolve some problems, and 74% say that they are suffering from repeat incidents. The IDC survey noted that 51% of workers could not access remote or cloud-based applications from home, multiple times per week.

 Visibility is low with dense clouds

So, supporting remote workers is a challenge. And one of the most significant sticking points for IT is lack of visibility. As a recent article in CIODive put it, “IT teams are now in charge of keeping companies connected while distributed, with the additional burden of having to troubleshoot incidents with little to no visibility into employee’s home networks.” That’s understating things. Most IT teams lack visibility into the home network, the upstream ISPs, cloud security provider networks, and SaaS provider networks and application performance. The entire service delivery chain is opaque. And in reality, even when workers were in branch offices, the extent of IT visibility was limited, due to the massive migration to cloud and SaaS and the Internet dependence that comes with it.

 Join us as we explore how to operationalize the remote workforce

This Summer and Fall, Sinefa will be focusing on the remote work operationalization challenge. We’ll be publishing further blog posts with ONUG. We’ll also be addressing this topic in live formats. 

 Join us on August 26 for our ONUG webinar on “How to troubleshoot remote work IT issues,” moderated by Zeus Kerravala, where we’ll explore best practices for supporting WFH employees.

 At ONUG Fall 2020, we’ll be holding open conference sessions on “Operationalizing the Remote Workforce” on October 14 and 15. We’ll PoC session on “Remote Work: Solving O365 and Zoom issues.”

 To learn more about Sinefa and our holistic approach to Digital Experience Monitoring across remote workers, branch offices, data centers, and clouds, including deep traffic analysis, modern traffic shaping, synthetic app, and network monitoring, and endpoint monitoring, check us out at

Author's Bio

Alex Henthorn-Iwane

VP Marketing, Sinefa

author bio