Over recent months, our lives have changed beyond recognition. Many of us are adapting to new remote working environments, managing home-schooling and trying to predict when things will go back to normal.
We are bombarded every day with overwhelmingly bad news, but there are several silver linings around the dark cloud that this pandemic has brought into our lives. When we look at the future beyond this period, businesses will emerge better and stronger as workforces adjust to the 'new normal'.
Today’s remote working arrangements prove that organisations don’t need a 5-year road map for digital transformation. Businesses leaders around the world have digitally converted their organisations overnight. While most CIOs would prefer a more orderly transition, digital transformation should now be considered in terms of weeks and months rather than years.
Necessity has become the mother of transformation.
We’ve seen lots of examples of this at Logicalis. In Asia, Logicalis teams designed and quickly implemented a brand new network infrastructure for a community hospital that is being used as extra capacity to support COVID-19 patients. In the USA, we quickly scaled the computing resources in an Indiana state hospital to staff who normally had no means of remote working. This enabled them to continue to assist those seeking critical care in a race against time before the governor announced the lockdown.
But what does all this transformation mean for the 'new normal'?
The ability to work remotely has become essential for most employees. In Latin America, Logicalis was able to support a large financial institution with its immediate need to enable a remote workforce. This involved providing 50,000 collaboration licences in addition to training and monitoring activity. But, beyond this crisis, indicators suggest that more people will continue to work remotely.
Furthermore, businesses will see that a more diverse workforce is now easier to achieve. Those who previously may have felt prevented from joining a typical office-based environment, such as those less physically able or carers with young children, can now take part as members of the modern workforce using intuitive collaboration tools. This possibility opens up the talent pool available to businesses and presents career opportunities to diverse groups, bringing about a positive change for many.
Hybrid infrastructure solutions, which have been increasingly common in recent years, have also been given an extra push. At Logicalis, we have been responding to an unprecedented surge in urgent demand for our Production-Ready Cloud Platform, which provides a pre-packaged, pre-configured cloud environment, designed to get a business cloud-enabled in a matter of weeks.
Solutions like this support businesses when they consider the resilience and agility of their operations. With footfall in retail down by 85% in the past two months (Guardian newspaper, UK), has your IT infrastructure been able to cope with a sudden spike in online demand? Furthermore, the increasing number of organisations enabling remote working policies has led to a greater awareness of, and need for, robust security and IT redundancy solutions.
While technological resilience can help organisations survive the crisis, beyond technology, there is a human element that we cannot forget. Everyone is at home. Everyone feels a little more isolated than usual. Remote working has shown us that mental resilience is key to coping with the long-term impact of lockdowns. Employee mental health awareness and the steps to address wellbeing should now form part of every employer’s tool kit.
I truly believe the world will be a better place when we emerge from this crisis. Technology will advance quicker; workforces will become more diverse and both organisations and people will be more resilient. In the words of my colleague, Rodrigo Parreira, a brighter future is being built right now.