By Deshni Harricharan, National Sales Manager
The pandemic has forced business leaders to rethink almost every part of their operations. Various challenges and disruptions to business continuity arose almost overnight, and many have begun to rely more heavily on technology to develop new offerings, operate remotely, and deliver goods and services through digital channels.
In some cases, businesses found that their technology infrastructure was inadequate, and they struggled to respond with the required flexibility, while others were able to pivot their business models to unlock broader opportunities in a constrained business environment. Technology can help organisations overcome both present and future challenges, enabling innovation and operational continuity, especially during a global crisis. So, what has the pandemic changed, and how can technology help businesses achieve resilience in the face of new challenges?
Adjusting to the new normal
When the shift from business-as-usual to crisis management happened, businesses had no way of knowing that they would suddenly have to scale out their digital infrastructure to be able to reach customers, enable employees to work remotely, and overcome various other challenges. Supply chain disruptions, a global shortage of resources, cashflow constraints, the unavailability of frontline staff, and gaps in continuity planning all presented significant risks to business continuity.
As organisations hastily tried to accelerate their digital transformation efforts to meet these new challenges with innovative digital solutions, they were also subject to greater cybersecurity risks. Malicious actors began to capitalise on having a larger attack surface with underprepared and unprotected businesses and employees, making disaster recovery even more difficult.
Resilience through technology
Technology can build resilience through innovation and flexibility, giving businesses the ability to operate during times of change with minimal impact on critical operations, and allowing them to be better prepared for future challenges. But achieving resilience is about more than just having the right tools and technologies; it is also about being able to recognise new challenges as they arise, and identifying what technologies can help solve them. This means that business leaders must have a good understanding of their existing technological infrastructure and its shortcomings, and how they can fix it.
With limited resources at their disposal, businesses need to ensure that they can rationalise which technology project they need to prioritise. Naturally, critical business operations need to come first, and employees need to be equipped with the right tools and guidance to support this shift in priorities. While cashflow constraints may mean that some projects may have to be put on hold, it is also important to know when to fight for additional technology investments that would accelerate recovery, improve business performance, or create new revenue streams.
Start with the foundation
The migration towards hybrid work models has resulted in increased network traffic and new usage patterns, which is why businesses need to equip their connectivity, security, and network infrastructure with modern capabilities. This will ensure that they have the technological foundation to support these new ways of working. Connectivity infrastructure has become the gateway to almost every business interaction today. Teams or Zoom, for example, are now essential communication and collaboration platforms. Several business processes and applications have moved to the cloud, and if businesses don’t have a plan in place, a sudden increase in network traffic can easily result in costly downtimes, poor application performance, or frustrating service delivery for online customers.
Businesses cannot undergo digital transformation without implementing strong security measures along every step of the way. With more employees working from more vulnerable home networks, security mechanisms, such VPNs and access control, need to be present in every layer of a network.
A cloud-first approach
The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated the migration towards the cloud, providing businesses with the convenience of accessing services and resources from anywhere, enabling remote collaboration between teams, and powering more innovative business functions. Organisations can push out workflows to improve employee productivity, make remote configuration changes, and offer customers self-service capabilities. The cloud gives businesses the flexibility to scale their infrastructure up or down – such as their bandwidth, storage, or computing capacity – to meet fluctuating demands, which often occur during a crisis.
A cloud-first approach has become the new normal, and has proven to be a valuable lifeline for many companies over the last 18 months. Because of the cloud’s flexible nature, this technology gives business leaders the confidence to meet both present and future challenges with the capacity to scale and operate remotely.
Preparing for the digital future
The pandemic has forced many of us to rethink the way we do business, and it has challenged the established paradigm of the physical workspace. Companies should not only invest in their remote work capabilities, but also look at their wider technological ecosystem to make wiser investment decisions that support resilience. The business world is on a steady track towards rapid digitalisation, and those who delay digital transformation will only be left behind.
Navigating the growing complexities of ever-changing technologies may seem daunting at times, and that is when businesses need to ensure that they are partnered with the right technology leaders to guide and support them. A good technology partner will have the industry expertise to understand a business’ unique requirements, and help achieve organisational resilience by building an adaptable, future-ready technological infrastructure.