With the recent accelerated trend towards remote work and digital-first workplaces, many businesses are being forced to rapidly adjust to new workflows and tech stack frictions. Legacy systems and internal tech stacks may have been custom-built for internal needs. Suddenly, your business needs to make all of that rich technology remote-friendly to support your network of employees at their homes.

Not only can any small hiccups in your enterprise tech stack quickly lead to lost revenue, but companies are dealing with new challenges in the realms of employee motivation, productivity, and performance. For many businesses, the road to remote work has happened too fast to lean on policies and previously established IT frameworks. You may be in the dark.

  • Can your tech stack support the user experience necessary to handle this influx of remote workers?
  • Does your IT team have the resources they need to handle user experience issues?
  • Have you previously stress-tested all of your apps for remote functionality?

According to recent Gartner polling, 88% of employers are now encouraging their employees to work remotely. We're in a transition phase in the work ecosystem. In tough economic times, 70% of organizations say that technology is the key to managing costs and empowering their workers. But what happens if that technology doesn't work?

Chances are, you didn't have time for lengthy stress tests and monitoring. You're hoping that your tech stack just works. But if it doesn't, you're going to lose money, productivity, and time. And even small road bumps can lead to disasters when your entire workforce is out-of-the-office and relying on tech to enable them on-the-job.

Here at 2 Steps, we've been monitoring the remote workspace closely. We built our software from the ground up to enable people to test technology remotely and accurately using patented image-recognition technology. We've found that while many businesses are entering this brand new territory without a gameplan, testing and monitoring your tech stack remotely doesn't have to be a headache. In fact, having access to the right user experience monitoring tools can empower your workforce to get more done faster than ever before.

The 6 Remote Work Challenges Businesses Are Facing

As businesses continue to move their workloads onto the cloud and prepare their apps for remote use, many are running headfirst into brick walls.  While finding ways to measure and track employee performance, dealing with employee motivation issues at home, and leveraging new outlets for teams and employee communication are certainly issues that businesses are facing in the remote space. But, without a doubt, the biggest challenge is tech.

Remote work is entirely grounded in technology. Your SaaS solutions and cloud apps are your bread-and-butter. They're the engine that makes remote work possible. So, you have to make sure your tech stack is functioning properly before you can even begin to worry about all of the employee motivation nuances.

Here's the problem: your tech stack probably hasn't been used this way before. You haven't tested for user experience in remote situations. This is especially true for legacy systems that you're quickly rigging up for remote activity. How can you be sure that your employees are going to be able to successfully use these apps at scale?

When we look in the tech space, we find 6 primary challenges that businesses are facing.

Challenge #1: All of Your Apps are Now High Priority When it Comes to User Experience

According to Gartner polls, 54% of HR leaders say that poor technology and tech infrastructure is the biggest barrier to remote work. You may have job functions that you never imagined would leave your internal office suddenly remote. So, naturally, the apps associated with those job roles weren't tested for user experience in remote situations.

This is a massive issue. Businesses have to accelerate monitoring and tech infrastructure to keep up with remote demands. This increased level of utilization means that your business needs to ensure that workflows work appropriately at the beginning and end of the day, not just broadly.

Your tech stack may have worked in the past for a few remote employees, but that doesn't mean that it will work flawlessly in a continuous remote work situation. Your systems probably weren't designed for everyone to be at home accessing them simultaneously. You need continuous, on-demand monitoring that can help you holistically test your entire tech stack daily. You want to run through all of your workflows and ensure that there aren't any breakpoints or user experience frictions that could become a barrier to employee productivity.

Here are some questions you should ask yourself:

  • Do my internal apps have large-scale remote user experience issues?
  • How can I automate my testing solutions to pinpoint remote issues as they arise?
  • What kinds of user experience issues am I already combatting?
  • Will remote work amplify my UX issues (hint: yes!)

Challenge #2: You Need 24/7 Functionality

While performance, UI, and accessibility are all critical components of creating a remote-friendly tech stack, businesses also need to measure overall functionality. Systems don't always behave the same way at the office as they do remotely. Congested networks and shaky mobile traffic can quickly stall apps and create a plethora of unique tech issues.

You have to stress test all of your systems to ensure functionality.

But when do you do it?

Some enterprises are trying single day stress tests. JP Morgan is having all of their employees work from home for a single day to identify breakpoints, and then they're pulling them back in to reassess and fix up their systems before they fully embrace remote work.

Other businesses are using the far-more-risky strategy of waiting for breaks and fixing them ad-hoc. But does it really make sense to wait for issues or to do a one-time measurement? Measuring functionality should happen constantly. You want to monitor your tech stack for frictions every moment of the day. And, you should run an agentless monitoring solution in the morning and evening to double-check employee workflows.

Challenge #3: IT May Have Issues Understanding the Struggles Faced by Remote Staff

IT teams already spend 50% of their time fixing issues that could have been avoided in the first place. When they also have to deal with remote issues, they can enter a battleground completely unprepared. Not only is IT going to working on home networks and systems outside of their comfort zone, but they're going to have to remotely fix those issues themselves.

To get ahead of the curve, you have to identify issues early and often. You want to figure out your issues before they become roadblocks. Monitoring should be implemented early and often.

You want an automated agentless (or synthetic) monitoring solution to sniff out issues and uncover defects before users run into them. This saves your IT team from dealing with a never-ending queue of tickets from remote workers experiencing issues, and it gives your IT team the freedom and fluidity to get ahead of problems instead of always chasing them down.

Issues are harder to fix remotely. They just are. Discovering those issues early and often is the secret to reducing IT burdens and fostering creative, compelling, and ultimately engaging work technology environments.

2 Steps is an agentless monitoring solution that can stream data directly into Splunk. That means IT workers can get a clear picture of monitoring performance and alerts directly through the dashboard they're already familiar with. This reduces tech onboarding frictions and helps your workers instantly familiarize themselves with the 2 Steps technology and the rich data pouring out of that tech.

Challenge #4: An Elevated Need for Monitoring and Very Little Time or Resources to Implement

If remote work is ushered in slowly, you may get a preemptive strike on the implementation of monitoring technology. But what if it happens more suddenly? Disasters can strike rapidly. And when they do, you probably won't have the time or resources to implement full-scale monitoring solutions. Even if your business had time for internal implementation, you certainly wouldn't have time for remote implementation, right?

Fortunately, monitoring doesn't have to be a large-scale, code-intensive process. 2 Steps is an agentless monitoring solution that's deployed directly in the cloud via AWS on an Amazon Machine Image container. 2 Steps can run on Windows across remote environments, and it can even act as a VNC, RDP or Citrix client — allowing it to run on non-Windows devices.

The biggest mistake that some businesses are making when the switch to remote is failing to leverage monitoring solutions. You may be scared you don't have the time. And you may be worried that implementing monitoring software will create more pain points than it solves. With 2 Steps, you don't have to worry about implementation. It's rapid, cloud-based, and useable across almost any environment.

Challenge #5: Management May Have Difficulty Understanding User Experience Issues

User experience isn't just an IT problem. Management needs to see and understand where issues are coming from to allocate resources and people-hours to those issues. When a tech issue arises, you need to be able to communicate that issue in the boardroom (or, in this case, a Slack channel).

Unfortunately, that can be difficult. Many monitoring agents spit out code and complicated, highly-technical reports. So, when management sees the issue, they may not buy-in. It can be difficult to explain complex issues "in the moment" when two people are separated by miles. Not only does remote work make finding digital experience issues more critical than ever, but it also makes communicating those issues a challenge.

With 2 Steps, you don't have to worry about communicating UX issues — 2 Steps does it for you. Our agentless synthetic monitoring solution produces videos of each issue that are clear and easy-to-understand. This gives IT the freedom to visually understand issues outside of the data, and it gives management a chance to rapidly understand issues without a complicated IT back-and-forth. It's a win-win.

Challenge #6: Your Web Web-based/RUM Monitoring Solutions May Suddenly Be Useless

While web-based monitoring tools and RUM solutions may be useful in-house, they're going to be virtually useless in remote situations. They won't help you with apps that require internal resources or internal apps that are being leveraged remotely. This can present a few problems.

  1. The monitoring solution you invested in is suddenly non-applicable to your current remote situation.
  2. You're without a way to test UX issues for your employees.
  3. Your web-based solutions may only work for a few select apps, which can lead to over prioritization.

You need your tech stack to work flawlessly, and you need a way to remediate technical issues as they arise. With 2 Steps, you can monitor internal apps remotely, and you can monitor all of those other 3rd party apps that your employees are connecting to via internal resources (e.g., accessing a database frontend via a remote laptop).

How 2 Steps Agentless Monitoring Can Help You Solve Issues Remotely

At 2 Steps, we built our agentless synthetic monitoring solution with remote work in mind. We created a solution that's useful across environments so that you can instantly access the critical monitoring solutions you need. 2 Steps emulates real remote users' workflows to discover user experience and technical issues within your tech stack. You can start 2 Steps up at the beginning of the day to ensure that everything is running smoothly, and you can catch issues throughout the day as new variables unfold.

If you want a remote work synthetic monitoring solution to enable your employers to get more work done faster, you need the right technology to support them. 2 Steps will uncover hidden issues, provide high-quality video replays of all of those issues for clarification, and fit in snuggly to almost any desktop or virtual environment — even Citrix.

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