The pandemic has been a two-edged sword for businesses While on one hand, technology emerged as a game-changer for companies embracing digital transformation, the flip side resulted in many businesses going out of service due to lack of proper ICT strategies to combat this pandemic. Here is a six-step approach that will support businesses in building a robust ICT plan and ensuring business continuity.
Sustaining your business through these times requires flexibility and a deeper understanding of solutions that helps in building a robust ecosystem for transformation. The budding trends of remote working, distance learning, online shopping, telehealth, and more are becoming an obligatory requirement. As the world comes to terms with the new normal, the most crucial question remains, ‘does your business have all that it takes to keep it going just like before?
Here is a six-step approach that will support businesses in building a robust ICT plan and ensuring business continuity.
Step 1: Prepare your network infrastructure
The pandemic has made “work from home” the preference of the day, which is understandable given that infections at the workplace can cause the temporary, even long-term, shutdown of a facility. What this means is that having a large number of staff working from home could cause capacity and load access problems because of the heavier connectivity traffic.
This can be addressed by having the company take a closer look at their network and bandwidth to see if it can support remote work continuously. To build a conducive network, it’s essential to get the basics in place and build the overall infrastructure. By redesigning and upgrading your network, your business can cut unnecessary costs of frequent technology updates and your IT staff can focus on core tasks rather than operational activities. Next-generation solutions like an SD WAN can not only support their current requirements but are built to seamlessly integrate with future updates.
Step 2: Move to the cloud
The second step to the 6-step approach is cloud adoption. The pandemic situation requires a technology elevation, not just for selected teams but across the organization. As the role of employees undergo a transition and managements take remote working into key consideration as a long-term new way of doing business, moving workloads to the cloud supports stability and productivity.
As the information is securely available to all employees using the cloud, it helps businesses access collective insights and analytics that benefit in tracking performance leading to an informed decision-making process. Fully leveraging cloud services means facing the current challenges and preparing for the future with increased agility by building a progressive infrastructure.
Businesses need to select a proper cloud infrastructure and take the decision of moving to a public or private cloud based on several factors like their organization’s size, budget, and IT services. Managed service providers are adept at helping businesses in designing, implementing, and migrating cloud services.
Step 3: Prioritise team communication and collaboration
With hybrid working in some businesses, if not all, it becomes essential to ensure your communication channels are seamless and deliver a high-quality experience to enable not just employees to be productive wherever they work from but maintaining continuous communication with all your business ecosystem.
Cloud-based communication and collaboration tools provide the required infrastructure to improve the way the workforce communicates and collaborates and collectively takes responsibility for business continuity. These communication tools offer the flexibility to scale up and down based on the business requirements, hence providing low upfront investment and getting a quality communication infrastructure in place. In addition, cloud-based telephony systems lay proper regulatory metrics and analytics to track employee performance and focus on keeping the business going no matter the location.
Without prioritising the communication and collaboration channels it’s impossible to continue operations. Unlike before, the post-pandemic world is competing internally to digitally transform operations and survive rather than channelizing their focus on competitors.
Step 4: Update customer communication channels
Surviving in the ‘new business normal’, organisations require a comprehensive strategy to interact with customers, vendors, partners, and others. As the one-on-one personal meetings have reduced significantly, alternatives like HD audio and video conferencing options are being adopted quite quickly.
To design a 360-degree communication and collaboration strategy, multiple aspects need to be considered including services like secure remote access, Cloud Platform as a Service (CPaaS), live support through virtual agents, and Cloud Contact Centre as a Service (CCaaS). The primary goal for prioritising the communication and collaboration channels is to maintain visibility among customers and clients and ensure all tasks are accomplished virtually as planned, be it presenting a proposal to a client or collaborating with team members for projects or getting real-time updates.
Modernising the communication infrastructure isn’t just a step to building a robust ICT plan, but it’s a key necessity that businesses looking for long-term survival need to cultivate.
Step 5: Enhance health and safety measures
Regardless of the vertical or nature of the business, every employee expects its organisation to be vigilant and make their health a priority. Check out the guidelines from your local government regulatory authorities for all the precautions you need to take for your business from implementing the rules for social distancing and health and safety measures.
From installing AI-based thermal scanning devices to wearables that ensure safety is always maintained, businesses are working towards creating a safe environment for their workforce. The different wearable models with clinical-grade sensors monitor skin temperature, heart rate, SPO2 along with data analytics platform to manage sensor data, monitor staff/personnel/patients in real-time. For larger operations, there are touchless, fully automated kiosks that detect body temperature of the user and also measures the blood oxygen and heartbeat. It can be installed at various public places such as oﬃce areas, schools, community buildings, restaurants, hotels, malls, hospitals, railway stations, airports, etc., for the public safety and welfare.
These technology solutions create a level of trust among the workforce making them embrace the changes more optimistically. Businesses need to take these measures by following the safety and health guidelines and cope up with the ‘new normal’ responsibly.
Step 6: Reassess your security posture across all the steps
Once all the steps are in place and your business is prepared for the current and the future world, there’s the last but the most crucial step to be addressed - comprehensive security. Analysis of business resiliency will make sure all your systems are designed to combat the present-day threats more tactically. Securing the overall architecture and integration will improve your security posture through the configuration of security controls, advanced security automation, and network security review.