Tech Stack Reset: Prioritizing Workplace Tools for High Impact

  • Post category:Blog

Many organizations are scrutinizing their 2023 budgets amid economic uncertainty with the ultimate goal to “do more with less” in the year ahead. Consolidating workplace experience (WPX) technology is an opportunity to drive down costs; however, prioritizing high-impact tools can be a challenging endeavor without a guiding framework to separate “must-have” tools from “nice-to-have” tools. 

During a recent webinar, Grammarly’s Product Manager for Privacy and Trust, Jerrem Ng, sat down with Grammarly CISO Suha Can and Grammarly’s Global Head of Real Estate and Workplace Experience, Eric Nelson. The three discussed building a streamlined vendor ecosystem that emphasizes employee engagement and impact while balancing security.  

Collaboration tools should be well-understood across the organization to drive productivity 

In a remote and hybrid workplace, communication often occurs asynchronously, meaning not in real time and often in a text-based format. This creates a complex working model that can be challenging to navigate if employees don’t know where to communicate different messages and information. 

On the other hand, when collaboration tools and platforms are well-understood by employees, asynchronous communication creates incredible opportunities for insight at any moment. “Brilliance can happen any time,” Nelson said. “Some people do that collaboratively, and some people do that asynchronously. Being able to use these tools anywhere, anytime [allows for that].” 

When WPX tools enable better asynchronous collaboration, real-time, face-to-face interactions are also more productive. Nelson recommended that organizations work to streamline systems and discover tools that support employees in their ability to communicate ideas concisely and clearly. “If you do all these things well to streamline the process, then when you come together, you should be clicking that much better,” he said. “When [tools are] used correctly, that productivity curve will shoot back up.” 

Ensure your corporate infrastructure enables employee access to WPX tools remotely without sacrificing security 

“When I think of remote work and the world we’re living in, we probably have ten times the number of SaaS applications we did pre-pandemic,” Can said. In this new remote environment, organizations are grappling with maintaining a solid security posture while ensuring employees have access to the tools they need to get work done.

A traditional “all or nothing” approach granted employees access to all applications once connected to the corporate VPN. Can explained that this approach does not allow for granular security policies in a modern environment where there is a large number of corporate and SaaS applications. Instead, Can recommended organizations adopt a “zero trust” approach that requires users to request access to each application they need. These requests are granted on an individual basis based on who the user is and what device they are coming in from. 

Can also recommended data loss prevention (DLP) strategies to closely monitor applications that are frequently used to share documents and information. For example, a DLP strategy might limit document sharing to only corporate emails to limit any information from being shared with unknown or less-secure personal accounts. 

Evaluate WPX vendors with an eye toward simplifying to drive impact

When it comes to identifying new vendors to add to the system, Nelson recommended that organizations focus on simplification and integration. With a streamlined approach to WPX tool evaluations, leaders can focus their efforts with an eye toward impact.

Nelson outlined four key areas leaders should consider when evaluating tools.

  1. What are the gaps in your existing system? Make sure you understand the priorities of your team, so you know what functionality to evaluate when you go to the market to identify potential vendors. 
  2. How will new tools fit into your existing architecture? Identify tools that integrate with your existing tech stack or that integrate with tools you want to use in the future. These vendors should also help you with the implementation process. 
  3. How will you introduce your teams to new tools? Make sure your vendors offer onboarding and ongoing support and that the tool is easy to use, both from a front-of-house perspective (the user interface) and a back-of-house perspective (the administrative functions).
  4.  Will this new vendor innovate alongside your organization? Prioritize vendors that are transparent with their plans and roadmaps and that are willing to partner with you to add services you need in the future. 

Develop a framework to identify and closely evaluate high-risk vendors 

When it comes to evaluating potential vendors from a security perspective, Can recommended that organizations streamline the process by creating a “red, yellow, green” framework that identifies lower-risk vendors that can be approved more quickly (green) from higher-risk vendors that will need more evaluation time (red). These classifications are determined based on the sensitivity of the data that will be available to the vendor. 

For all high-risk or “red” vendors, the organization should undergo a more thorough evaluation to ensure that the vendor meets or exceeds security requirements. This process may include third-party evaluation and penetration testing to understand the tool’s security. The vendor should offer transparency about how data is stored and shared in the organization. They should also be open to answering questions about their security posture and standards. Lastly, Can recommended that security teams regularly audit high-risk vendors to ensure they maintain their security standards over time. Teams should also put in place and test incident response processes for third-party breaches.

The path forward: build a tech stack that amplifies the benefits of asynchronous work

Organizations that take a systematic approach to workplace experience technology will reap the benefits of a streamlined, easy-to-use, and secure tech stack. By prioritizing WPX tools that amplify the benefits of asynchronous work while minimizing the potential downfalls, organizations can foster a more collaborative and aligned work environment that leads to higher productivity and deeper employee engagement. 

Learn more about how Grammarly Business integrates across applications to support asynchronous communication. Let’s discuss how we can help your teams communicate effectively across platforms to drive alignment and boost productivity.

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