In May of this year, a CS:GO team entered the record books by playing an official match in Ukraine. The reason has nothing to do with the number of headshots, win volume, K/D or anything usual: the Young Guard team is the one with the highest average age to participate in an e-sports tournament in that country. Yes, the members are all seniors, with an average age of 75 years. This comes on the heels of the already famous Silver Snipers and Gray Gunners, who played in the senior world final of this game in 2018.
The data can be curious, even fun, but it brings a very impacting reality: the user profile has changed. Gone are the days when gaming was for the young, tech for the nerd and digital threats for the IS team, boundaries are increasingly blurred, the pace quicker and the user is flowing in the midst of this shift. However, while this brings new and excellent opportunities for companies, it also requires a lot of attention, care and a strong will to change.
If this change was already happening at an accelerated pace, the pandemic made it all faster, leading organizations to have a new sense of urgency in understanding their audience, which is still in a process of change. The work environment is an excellent example of this.
With restrictions on social contact, the solution was to place a large part of the workforce in the home office. Until then, the practice itself is nothing new, it is quite common to occasionally perform remote work. Things change, however, when employees start working almost exclusively from a distance.
All of a sudden, quick meetings that were held in the coffee shop or at a colleague’s desk do not exist. WhatsApp, Zoom and Meet become the basis of communication for all teams. Those who only used the computer for Word and Outlook found themselves needing to quickly learn to navigate all these new tools with some proficiency.
At the other end, IT teams now have to worry about home networks, peripherals, home IoT and many other potential threat hotspots, without necessarily being ready for this challenge. Remote access became more important than the endpoint at corporate headquarters; in fact, the endpoint itself was much more fluid. It can be in the employee’s room or on the beach.
The same challenge affected the educational sector, which saw itself entering EaD massively even without having plans for it. Teachers teaching from anywhere to thousands of students in any other location. Retailers, on the other hand, discovered the importance of e-commerce, even if their business had never felt any prior need for this feature. Looking carefully, it is possible to notice that the challenge was not only technical; in fact, perhaps that was the least of the problems.
Again: the user profile has changed, and this goes beyond the tool you choose to account for and guarantee access for everyone. Yes, the cloud has become even more important, there has been a shift in the corporate security paradigm and collaboration tools have become fundamental. But going beyond that, we note the importance of finding ways to keep the work focused in an environment that has what it takes to generate distractions.
Managers had to keep teams united and productive, even without meeting in person. Tech people had to race against the clock to try to ensure that everyone was aware of the security precautions and good use of corporate equipment. And, given that, what can we expect for the near and distant future?
First, it is accepting that change is here to stay. We are not going to go back to the past, at least not completely, and that means that companies must make their home in this new situation, whether in the corporate sector, be it in the educational sector or in the commercial sector.
Second, to understand that, in order to be able to relate to their audiences, it is essential to see that the new profiles are more fluid and “less square”, and that companies need to know how to deal with this “elasticity”.
Finally, third, don’t forget that, with companies, threats also evolve. Criminals are taking advantage of the moment of decentralization and a certain fear about the issue of the pandemic to generate all kinds of malicious action, which creates an even greater need to remain vigilant and careful to ensure the safety of their work environment and their home – which, it seems, must be the same thing for a long time.
Marisa Travaglin, columnist for TechWorld, has been Head of Marketing at Trend Micro Brasil for over 5 years, has over 20 years of strategic and practical experience in Marketing and Communication.