Over the past few years, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions have seen a remarkable increase in use and popularity among enterprises. According to Gartner, SaaS is the largest market segment among public cloud services and is poised to grow from $101 billion in 2020 to $138 billion in 2022.1 It makes sense: Instead of worrying about on-prem installations, SaaS promises to provide users with access to data and applications anytime, anywhere and on any device.
The pandemic certainly put that promise to the test. Almost overnight, office buildings cleared out as people were sent home to work. Employees were using their home networks and, in many cases, home devices to connect to the enterprise. As a result, businesses needed to find a new way to collaborate—and quickly.
While many enterprises had online collaboration platforms already in place, collaboration was still a physical-based process before the pandemic. On-site employees were expected to gather in the same meeting room, while only off-site attendees would dial in. Once everyone became an off-site attendee, IT quickly learned that while SaaS meeting and collaboration solutions provide many benefits, they are not without their challenges, such as user experience, security and identity validation. In addition, IT often found it difficult to integrate their SaaS collaboration and conferencing solutions with each other and with other platforms.
Preparing for a Hybrid Workplace
Now that people are returning to the office, it’s a good time for IT to reassess the solutions put in place during the pandemic to ensure that they are also appropriate for the office. Before the pandemic, the enterprise infrastructure was built assuming most meetings would happen in person. If someone was joining remotely, that often happened over the phone or as a single video stream accessed by the online collaboration platform.
Post-pandemic, we will see a hybrid workplace environment where each employee—whether working from home, the road or the office—will need to log into an online collaboration platform to participate. For a small business, this might not be a big deal, but you can see how bandwidth can grind to a halt for a corporate campus with tens of thousands of employees.
Achieve SaaS Benefits with a Hybrid Approach
Technologies like the Intel Unite® solution can help you achieve the full promise and benefits of SaaS collaboration platforms without clogging your network or hindering your user experience. It uses both your cloud-based applications and your on-premises network to create a hybrid cloud to transmit data in one of the most effective ways possible.
For example, imagine you are holding an all-hands meeting over Zoom for your 10,000 employees at your headquarters. With a cloud-only infrastructure, you would send that content stream out from headquarters to the cloud, only to download it 10,000 times on the way back to reach employees at their desks. The Intel Unite® solution is instead designed to download that stream once to a hub computer with Windows 10 and an Intel® Core™ i5 or higher processor, which serves as the session host. The hub then sends the stream wirelessly across your internal network, helping significantly reduce bandwidth and potential lag. This also helps ensure that data and shared content is kept more securely behind the organization’s firewall.
This hybrid approach enables an intelligent architecture that offers both the best of SaaS and on-prem in one of the most efficient ways possible. It provides all the benefits of LAN speed by communicating directly when appropriate, while also freeing IT from having to manage extra infrastructure that can be better delivered through the cloud.
Now is the time to look at your in-office collaboration tools and spaces to see if they still meet the needs of your employees in the new hybrid work environment. By using technology like the Intel Unite® solution to not only deliver content with a hybrid infrastructure but to simplify the collaboration space experience, you can ensure your employees can continue to meet and collaborate smoothly and efficiently. Learn more today.