The pandemic has forced organizations to adapt at pace to survive and stabilize. McKinsey described the first three months following Covid-19 as a “90-day sprint”. It was during this period that they had to rapidly pivot to support working from home and meet omnichannel customer demand. This was largely a success.
But now the question isn’t one of just surviving. It’s about recovery and the rebound. Having leapt forward by five years digitally in a matter of weeks, business leaders must push forward with digitization, upgrading core IT infrastructure and ensuring long-term prosperity.
The new needs: managing workers and customers
Since the beginning of lockdown, online shopping has boomed by 129%. With high street footfall remaining stagnant, it’s clear the pandemic has permanently shifted purchasing behavior, heightening customer expectations.
Organizations need to have resilient, flexible and agile cloud computing technology capable of providing business elasticity and strength – supporting virtual contact centers in catering for new customer needs. The same applies to the workforce. While few predict that universal remote working is here to stay forever (the government is already encouraging people to return to work), staff will expect more flexibility from their employers in future.
Deloitte has found that more than six in ten young people have viewed working remotely during the crisis positively. Seven in ten millennials and two thirds of Generation Z say the option of working from home helps to relieve stress.
With employers needing to connect workers operating across multiple locations seamlessly and securely, business leaders will need to turn towards networks and cloud infrastructure flexible and resilient enough to support massive data flows. These will need to be installed without having to rip systems out and start all over again – something organizations can ill afford during these uncertain times.
Promisingly, leaders are showing a willingness to invest in infrastructure. An analysis based on interviews with 127 large enterprise and public sector bodies has revealed investment in cloud infrastructure to be a top priority as these organizations look towards building on their 90-day sprints. But it’s vital they choose solutions equipped with the right protection, embedding resilience at the heart of their organizations.
Maintaining momentum with resilience
Online threats have surged by six times their usual levels since the pandemic struck. The World Health Organization, on the frontline of the Covid-19 response, has reported a surge in cyber attacks. The evidence couldn’t be clearer. To maintain momentum, organizations must choose infrastructure that provides multi-layered cyber security protection, as well as enhanced scalability and agility. Otherwise, they could find their digital leap forward cancelled out – forever.
With more remote workers accessing different cloud services and providers, and increased dependence on apps and services, it’s vital that IT management and security managers take a holistic view about who is accessing sensitive data and where they’re doing this from.
Cloud-ready connectivity technologies, such as SD-WAN, respond to this new landscape by not just offering increased flexibility, agility and scalability, but also providing end-to-end data encryption to all customers. Organizations can authenticate every user against every app, providing system managers and business leaders with the reassurance they need to grow.
They also don’t require businesses to rip out their existing infrastructure entirely – these connectivity solutions can be added incrementally. And with the right technology partner, organizations can benefit from advice on where exactly these upgrades need to take place. Which brings us to the power of partnerships.
Build winning relationships
Boston Consulting Group has found that businesses that maximize their use of external technology vendors are better able to move seamlessly from a legacy position to a forward-looking, digitally driven business. To truly build momentum on the 90-day sprint and flourish amid economic and social uncertainty, large enterprise and public sector organizations must invest in technology partnerships. They must broaden the pool of expertise they draw on when investing in infrastructure. Organizations can benefit from consultancy on every aspect of running their business – from improving customer experience to bolstering security – driving value and maximizing investments.
This is particularly important for technical infrastructure, such as cloud systems. These are fundamental to organizational success and are easy to get wrong. By selecting one without the right level of protection, a solution can actually end up presenting more security risks than it’s able to solve. This won’t just undermine attempts to build on the 90-day sprint. It could derail any digital progress made since the pandemic struck.
Effective partnerships won’t just help organizations to improve efficiency and productivity. They will also minimize threats and give leaders peace of mind. After the 90-day sprint
Looking to the future
Organizations must combine incremental digitization, a knowledge of the security landscape and healthy partnerships in order to recover successfully. Doing so will not only boost the customer experience and provide companies with the strength and resilience needed in the current climate. It will also streamline working processes for staff and employees, creating greater efficiency and a first-class working experience.
This will be instrumental in achieving long-term prosperity and powering the rebound for businesses and public sector organizations across the country.
- Mike Smith, Managing Director (Direct), Virgin Media Business.
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