Like their peers internationally, South African large, medium, and small enterprises are pro-actively investigating ways to enable workshifting – the practice of moving work to the most optimal location, time, and resources.

This is according to Cary de Sousa, enterprise relationship manager for Citrix Systems South Africa. “At the moment in South Africa, worskshifting tends to be focused around making your employees mobile. But the end game of that, in any case, is enabling your employees to work with anyone, from anywhere, at any time, on any device.

“The overall outcome is a more flexible organisation, able to adapt quickly to market forces and opportunities. It is also able to simultaneously reduce operational costs and boost performance by utilising the best available talent wherever it is located in the world, without having to relocate that talent. And, by putting its human resources close to its markets while enabling them to connect into the organisation’s centralised data, software, and networks from anywhere in the world, the organisation is able to save on both travel costs and real estate.

“In the process, the organisation becomes attractive to high performers, whose lifestyles are closely integrated with the latest technologies and who expect to be able to use the devices of their choice to work at the times and in the locations that best enable them to achieve a work life balance.”

According to Forrester Research, 65% of information workers work from multiple locations1, and by 2016, 350-million employees will use smartphones, with 200-million bringing their own devices to work. The Citrix Enterprise Mobility Study shows that workers use an average of three devices a day. As a consequence, workers ranging from individual contributors to executives are demanding tools to enable them to be productive from any location on any device.

Covering the Americas, Europe, and Asia and involving 1 100 IT executives, the Citrix Global Workshifting survey shows that 37% of the companies surveyed are already offering their employees workshifting, with another 57% planning to do so within the next two years.

“In following that trend, South African organisations are moving first towards desktop virtualisation and from there to cloud computing as the means of enabling workshifting,” de Sousa says.

However, implementation processes are still evolving – as are the relevant technologies.

Users simply work around IT if applications, systems, and devices are complex to learn and operate. So, supporting them means going beyond individual tools to provide a seamless experience where everything they need not only just works – intuitively, naturally, and easily – but also fits in with their lifestyles.

To do this securely, IT needs a new way of doing things. Such as innovations from Citrix that, for instance, without the organisation having to set up additional servers and storage in the datacenter, enable existing office PCs to be turned into distributed virtual desktop interface (VDI) hubs,  or dumb terminals, with all data and applications housed centrally in the datacenter and delivered to each desktop on demand. This gives end users fast, secure end user remote access from any device to all the apps and data on their office PC.

A powerful cloud-based file sharing service makes it easy for people to share files with others and to ensure that their information follows them across devices, regardless of where it was initially created and saved.

“The point about workshifting is that it’s holistic,” de Sousa says. “It affects everything from talent retention and customer satisfaction to compliance. Best, therefore, to enable it with technologies designed specifically to enable that level of operational coherence for both the user and the organisation.