Is it so easy to buy devices for business personas in the hybrid working world?

Laptops based on Intel’s new Evo vPro platform can help IT teams support the changing requirements of new usage models and working styles

Person holding laptop and gesturing towards a graphic representation of users in a global network

As the world emerges from the pandemic, it’s clear that the way we work has changed forever, and that there’s no one size or working model that’s going to fit all. A 2021 report by McKinsey* suggests that nine out of ten executives envision a hybrid working model going forward, and that they expect employees to work in the office anywhere between one and four days per week.

When PwC surveyed 1,200 workers in November and December last year, more than half said they would prefer to work remotely three days a week**. Microsoft’s Work Trend Index survey for 2021† found that while 67% of workers want more in-person collaboration than they can get working from home, 73% still wanted the option to carry on working remotely. Hybrid working styles are here to stay.

This makes things complicated for IT leaders and their teams. Traditionally, when deploying computers, mobile devices and other IT resources, they’ve been able to work around a series of business personas focusing in on specific scenarios and use cases.

These differ from sector to sector and organisation to organisation but might include the more demanding power users based in the office and the road warriors doing sales and support work far from corporate HQ. They might include creatives, working in production, media or marketing, or the executives moving from meeting to meeting, making decisions and managing their teams. And in the middle, you have the regular office-based or mobile professionals, working within their own departments or business unit to help drive its activities forward.

All of these personas had their own needs and their own styles of computer to meet them, and this created a kind of device-buying shorthand that helped guide IT teams towards the right choices. Power users needed desktop computers or powerhouse laptops that sacrificed size and mobility for performance and a richer set of features. Creatives had broadly similar requirements, but focused more on productivity, colour management and GPU performance. Road warriors needed laptops with a low weight, wireless connectivity and an epic battery life, while execs wanted a stylish design and a premium feel. Mobile professionals needed devices that could support their productivity in the office or on the road.

In the post-Covid world, these personas are changing. True, the needs of the road warrior haven’t changed as much as some of the others, but they’ll still be spending even less time in the office and potentially more time working from home, or from the ad-hoc workplaces they discover while travelling. Power users and creatives are as likely to be working flexibly from the home as from the office or may even find themselves working between the two. Some executives will be spending more time in the office, meeting virtually where they used to travel, while others will be finding ways to be productive and effective from home. And both office-based and home-based professionals are likely to find that they don’t spend every day in just the one location but need to be set-up to work in either. All groups will be working differently, with more virtual communication through video calls and collaboration software, which will require decent screen space and good connectivity to enhance the virtual experience.

In short, these personas will need to adapt to myriad hybrid working styles – and they’ll need a more versatile breed of devices to support them as they do. You could even argue that, given the overlap in working styles of traditional personas, a user will effectively move between personas, so flexibility and quality of devices across usage models has never been more important. Luckily, that’s just what Intel, working in concert with many of the world’s biggest PC manufacturers, has just delivered.

The new Intel® Evo™ vPro® Platform enables manufacturers to design and build thin-and-light laptop PCs with the performance, form factors, screen sizes and all-day real-world battery life for employees to work effectively from wherever they need to work. What’s more, with Intel vPro platform technology at their heart, they give IT teams the same fleet stability, security and management capabilities they’d expect from a conventional Intel vPro platform-based laptop.

The key to this is that, just as not all user personas share the same PC requirements, so not all Intel Evo vPro devices are the same. They vary in size from compact ultraportables with 13.3in screens to powerhouse systems with 11th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 and i7 processors and 15.6in to 16in QHD displays. Yet while there’s variation in terms of size, styles, specifications and price, all these devices share capabilities in common. These include Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for high-speed networking in and out of the office, high-performance USB Type-C and Thunderbolt 4 connectivity and Intel® Iris® Xe Graphics. And they can do this while offering between 10 and 24.5 hours of productive battery life and weighing between 1.15 and 1.65Kg.

What does this mean for our user personas? Well, power users can have laptops on Intel vPro with Evo designs, giving them the performance they need to run demanding, graphics-intensive applications, but in a form factor they can move between home and office setups. If they need more screen real estate – and what power user doesn’t? – they have the connectivity for external monitors, keyboards, mice and storage at both locations. With the right docking solution, all it takes is a single cable.

It’s a similar story for creative professionals, who can rely on the same high-performance components and high-definition displays while they’re on the move or in the office but plug into a full desktop setup when at home or in the office, depending on which location best fits their working style. Road warriors and executives can have sleek, stylish laptops with enough battery life to last the working day without a charge, but they still get the performance and connectivity needed to plug into crucial business intelligence, sales, operations and productivity apps, whether delivered locally or as Software as a Service (SaaS) through the cloud. Features such as improved security, cutting-edge graphics, and quality cameras and screens make these devices desirable and will help enhance productivity. Meanwhile, rank and file office and mobile workers get access to thin-and-light laptops that support a hybrid work style and are easier to secure and manage.

The way we work is changing, and that affects user personas as much as it affects everything else. But with laptops based on Intel vPro with Evo designs††, IT teams have access to a range of machines to handle every persona and every work style. These are PCs designed and built for the hybrid working world that we now find ourselves in.

Learn more about the Intel Evo vPro platform

*https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/what-executives-are-saying-about-the-future-of-hybrid-work 

**https://www.pwc.com/us/remotework

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/worklab/work-trend-index/hybrid-work

††https://www.intel.co.uk/content/www/uk/en/now/worksbest.html

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