The work environment as we know it has changed drastically in the past two years. With some companies shifting to remote permanently while others make the push back to the office, it’s impossible to ignore the impact lockdown and remote work have made on the way we work, the products we use, and the expectations we set.

Tamar Yehoshua, CPO at Slack, Anu Bharadwaj, COO at Atlassian, and Varun Parmar, CPO at Miro joined SaaStr to talk about how these changes have impacted their companies and enterprise software as a whole.

The future of work is flexible and remote-friendly.

Nearly two years of working remotely have shifted the working landscape. We’re never going back to a world where everyone goes to the office all the time. People want flexibility in both when and where they work. Asynchronous hours and working in different locations is a new expectation. 

We’re not going to go back to a world where everyone goes to the office all the time. Companies that experiment with different modes, hybrid modes… it’s really hard to strike the right balance between what works for the large majority of the company and what does not. – Anu Bharadwaj

As this feeling grows, there’s also a distinction between soft work and hard work. Soft work is team building, relationship building, overhearing conversations a few desks over. Hard work is what’s in your job description, the things you’re skilled at that provide true value for the company’s bottom line. Offices aren’t meant for hard work anymore, but soft work instead. To get hard work done, you simply don’t need to be in the office. Remote-friendly and remote-first workplaces should be able to strike that balance.

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The pandemic made an undeniable impact on product direction and roadmap, making companies shift towards product features that inspire, entertain, and improve collaboration.

Companies like Atlassian and Slack had to immediately rethink their product roadmap to see how features and direction facilitate more soft work like company culture, open communication, and so on. There’s a huge desire for remote teams to try and replicate the feeling of being in person as closely as possible, and enterprise products have shifted to working on solving those problems.

We took a hard look at our product and roadmap and shifted, accelerated, changed them to make sure hybrid work was something that would work with them—because we needed it to work more effectively remotely, too. – Tamar Yehoshua

For Miro, shifting their product roadmap was less about functionality, but more about raising the bar in terms of the product experience. Customers demand a higher quality now—things that would fly back in the office, because of immediate access to IT or other coworkers, won’t work anymore. Working solo increases a customer’s expectation of your product. 

A Best of Breed system is now the preferred tech stack, with integrations between vendors.

In the past, the preferred way to work with software was to license a single, comprehensive tool that housed everything in one self-contained platform. The unfortunate side effect of this would be the need to retrofit that tool for specific industries and use cases, which required a ton of customization and manual work for teams. The future of work is now a Best of Breed stack, not a monolith one.

A Best of Breed stack involves multiple products and tools that are designed specifically for your industry and use case. Massive engagement and productivity come from tools that fit seamlessly with your needs. Plus, multiple tools mean integrations between all of them are more important than ever.

As an application, we want to make sure that any integration with best of breed tools is the number one priority for us. Our goal is to make the self-serve experience seamless, intuitive, and discoverable. On the IT side, they need to have the controls to see audit logs, turn permissions on and off. Most enterprises expect this now. – Varun Parmar

Key takeaways

The future of enterprise software—and the future of work—is flexibility. Flexibility on how you work, where you work, and when you work. As an enterprise product, you must have multiple options for people to best meet them where they are. Some people don’t want to share files over tools like Slack and some prefer it. Some consumers live for in-app celebrations and moments of joy and others turn them off. Ultimately, your company needs to make rich tools based on a deep understanding of your customers and their real needs.

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