18th April 2016

Flexible Working – A Question of Hard Cash

A CTS article, supported by IBM and written by Guy Clapperton

Over the last few years a great deal of words have appeared on the subject of agile working. People talk about quality of life, they talk about the ecology, but at IBM MSP CTS we’ve discovered the secret.


It’s all about hard cash. This, we believe, is a good thing.

Before we get to that, though, it’s worth looking at what people actually mean when they talk about “agile working”, “smart working” or whatever else they might call it. Too many companies pay it lip service and assume that it’s instructing people they may work from home on Friday, or indeed that they are obliged to do so.

This isn’t really agile, it’s simply instructing people what to do but telling them to do it in a different place once a week. It’s counterproductive because the shape of the workplace is changing. We’re noticing that particularly as a business serving the law firm environment; an incoming generation has very different expectations of an office than the forty-somethings might have had on entering it.

They expect to be able to bring their own device and for it to work on a corporate network, first of all. They expect to be able to work in the field and from wherever they want or need to, in a secure and compliant manner. They expect all of this when they arrive at their new workplace. If your company can’t keep up, they won’t work for you for long.

Actually this is a good thing for many organisations. There is a lot of help available from people like us, and the cost benefits start to stack up immediately. If widening the pool of talent from which you can draw by bringing your workplace up to date isn’t enough, then consider the other elements. Hot desking and a workforce that isn’t always in the office lessen the requirement for expensive buildings.

We and IBM help with a number of specifics. To make this new environment work you need Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and here you save money once again, by allowing us to host your systems so that your colleagues can log onto them from anywhere. The great thing about this is that you can scale up or down very quickly; tell us you need fewer systems in play over a lean period and we’ll scale it down. Tell us it needs scaling back up again and we’ll do it overnight, and you will pay only for what you use rather than for a load of technology that takes up space and is used only occasionally. Better still, it appears on OpEx rather than CapEx on the bottom line. Financial people love that.

The good news is that agile working really is based on hard cash. The productivity, the work/life balance, the general happiness of the workforce that appears, are all a by-product of saving money. And this really is good news because hard cash savings means it’s sustainable. Nobody is going to run out of steam, nobody is going to lose interest because they will be able to see the benefits, in real time.

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