May 14, 2020
By Richard Parkinson
Are you a Teams, Zoom, or WebEx person? If that question was asked a few months ago there’s a fair chance that the response would have been a blank look or shrug of the shoulders, but the shift to remote working in response to COVID-19 has seen these collaboration tools become an integral part of our working lives, meaning that everyone now is dealing with one, if of not all of these apps. Usage has increased massively along with cloud services, virtual contact centres and remote access technologies.
Nobody would have wanted it to happen this way, but the COVID crisis has forced organisations to adopt rapid technology change. Many of these technologies that organisations are now relying on are the same ones that many have wanted, but struggled, to adopt for some time. These are not ‘new’ as some organisations have been using them successfully for many years; only now even more are looking to quickly integrate them into normal day-to-day working. Will these technologies and revised ways of working become the ‘normal’ and will they continue to be used after the COVID crisis has passed?
Early indications are that the technologies will remain, but this lockdown and associated way of working is anything but normal! Yes, we will adopt these technologies to do things differently, but they will add to our working ways; they will not replace face-face meetings and social interaction. We are already having discussions with clients who are planning to use these technologies for new ways of working on a permanent basis. But it will be at a lesser extent than present, given that the eventual lifting of social distancing restrictions is likely to reduce the number of staff working from home. These remote working technologies are continuing to offer a range of benefits; including optimising use of office space, improving business continuity capability, and creating more efficient business processes. Staff also like aspects of working from home, although possibly a less strictly enforced version of them, and we must remember not all staff do.
Remote working directly impacts organisations’ IT infrastructure and processes. Organisations will need to review and update their architecture to ensure that they can deliver reliably and securely. Network topology, security, application and hosting arrangements should adapt to support the shift from on-premise services to the cloud or a hybrid version. Similarly, operational processes must be updated to provide day-to-day support for cloud-based services and remote users.
Thankfully, these technologies are not ‘new’. We have been advising clients on their adoption of for a number of years and understand the practicalities involved and the true capabilities of the marketplace.
What we’re going through is not ‘normal’. However, we can use this period to adopt the best approach to provide organisations and staff with a flexible and resilient approach to working, and the potential to improve the quality and efficiency of service delivery.