Exceptional circumstances, exceptional measures: with COVID-19, most companies have had to switch to teleworking mode to ensure business continuity. Some have decided to invest in technology to facilitate the implementation of this new way of working. Thus, the last few weeks have seen many companies rushing into a digital transformation, consciously or unconsciously. But despite its growing popularity, opting for a digital transformation now comes with its own set of challenges, with varying degrees of success for some.
The fact is that with this new landscape imposed by the current crisis, every company must make the structural adjustments necessary to ensure the continuity of its activities. In fact, you must ensure that your team remains continuously connected and productive during operating hours, even if each employee is geographically distant from one another. This can be a real headache to manage if you don’t have the right technology support.
Identifying the main sources of difficulty will help you make decisions about the measures needed to enable your organization to get through this crisis and begin the recovery process more serenely.
This article highlights the technological challenges that companies like yours are facing at this time and provides you with a few pointers to help you meet them.
Ensure continuous interaction
One of the first responses of most companies in the early hours of this pandemic was to put their teams on teleworking. With hindsight, we realize that the constraints related to the current crisis have become normal. What everyone thought were short-term solutions at the beginning of the crisis are still in effect weeks later.
Exchanges and communication: the everyday challenge of telecommuting
Just because each member of your team is not in the same place doesn’t mean that communication must break down. Whether it’s towards or within your team, regular communication is essential to having a strong team based on effective collaboration.
More generally, facilitating exchanges between everyone is essential during such a situation: whether it is about information, ideas, documents, etc., you need to be able to communicate with each other. Be sure to provide your team with the necessary and adequate tools to carry out their duties. This will help create a work environment conducive to cohesion, a cohesion that will be an undeniable asset in overcoming this crisis.
Optimize your team’s interactions with the right tools
Today’s technologies offer a multitude of ways for teams to interact and exchange information. Let it be said that there is no single solution that will address all the situations that everyone may encounter in the performance of their duties. E-mail still has a place for formal conversations if it is not an urgent matter, which is more a matter for instant messaging services (Skype, Microsoft Teams, etc.). There are also videoconferencing tools such as Zoom and Discord for meetings that offer a “warmer” side as opposed to text exchanges. File sharing is easily done with solutions such as Google Drive, Dropbox or Wetransfer.
These are the most popular tools on the market, the list is not exhaustive. Each of these different solutions offers its own approach to how to communicate. Depending on the context, it may be more appropriate to choose one tool over another for interaction.
Dare then to adopt tools like Berrycast that are designed to allow delayed communication between different participants, perfect for effectively addressing important issues that do not require immediate answers, in a visual and animated way. This will provide the opportunity to take collaboration within your team to the next level. The goal is to be able to use the wide range of tools you have at your disposal in a complementary way.
Guarantee the proper functioning of the computer park
In addition to the need to have coordination in place, telecommuting adds additional constraints in terms of your computer equipment and its management. Constraints that your IT team will have to deal with on a daily basis to ensure the smooth running of the entire company.
Remote access and security: a technician’s nightmare
One of the biggest fears about managing a computer park is related to cyber security. If in normal times, accesses come from a single corporate network that is generally highly secured, with the current context, these accesses are now decentralized due to the fact that they come from the different personal networks of each person.
Moreover, often, the highly homogeneous workstations are now replaced by the personal computers of individuals and these computers do not always contain the most recent security patches. These are all potential vulnerabilities that could compromise the overall integrity of your IT infrastructure. Similarly, this decentralization also has the effect of generating a greater number of support requests from users to technicians, in addition to their usual workload.
A few questions to ask yourself in these particular times:
- Is everyone’s Internet network secure? Is it fast enough?
- Does everyone have good access to company data?
- Will the company’s network not be contaminated by computer viruses and malware?
- Are data transfers secure?
- If you are using a solution such as a VPN, is it designed to handle heavy traffic?
- If a problem is detected in your servers, do you have the proper infrastructure to allow remote intervention?
These are all concerns that your technicians will have to deal with in these exceptional situations, and this list is far from being exhaustive. As these questions are crucial for the smooth running of the company, they must be addressed efficiently and as quickly as possible.
Modernize your IT infrastructure
We are in an exceptional situation with which processes that worked in normal times could fail given all the upheavals we have had to face. The constraints are adding up, and you have to react accordingly. Security is a critical issue for your organization and should not be taken lightly. If you haven’t already done so, you can protect yourself by securing your company’s network with a VPN: this will allow your team to communicate and access your organization’s data in complete security.
If you already use one, make sure it can handle the increase in traffic due to the massive influx of employees who will want to access the network. Also, make sure that your VPN solution offers stable and fast access for everyone. Another key point: take advantage of what the cloud has to offer. Cost, accessibility, security … these are all reasons to migrate your system to the cloud, which can offer you a flexible environment adapted to your needs.
In any case, get help from experts to design the plan that best suits your business.
Keeping operations amid a crisis
Ensuring the continuity of its activities is vital for every organization and given the difficult months ahead, it is essential to know how to make the right decisions in order to be better equipped to face this situation.
Managing uncertainty: the daily life of leaders
As in any time of crisis, the uncertainty is continuous and seems to intensify from day to day. Whether for decision-makers or employees, it can quickly become insurmountable to the point of creating a sense of panic, just when critical decisions must be made for the future of your company. With the multitudes of information, you will have to absorb, you will be much more likely to be overwhelmed by events.
In a crisis such as this one, you will have to take care of many of the essential aspects of your business: the good continuity of activities, the health of your employees, the relations with customers, etc. Thus, the management team will need to have the necessary information on hand and updated in real time. Without a doubt, it will be difficult to ensure all of this without well thought-out processes and the right tools.
Stay one step ahead of your competitors, make intelligent decisions with the long-proven technique that is business intelligence. You will then be able to identify opportunities to guide your company through this crisis.
Stay in control by automating your processes
Having a view on all aspects of one’s business is not easy, and even less so with the uncertainty that currently prevails. Leverage digitization and technology to support your decisions by creating value from all the information you have. The decisions you make now will be critical to your organization and keep you in control.
If you can, take advantage of this period when the potential impact of a major IT project is less, to shift into high gear and take full advantage of the upcoming recovery. By automating your processes, you will then be able to measure the important aspects concerning your organization to have a clearer view of what is happening. This will be a significant competitive advantage in weathering the crisis, starting the recovery, and thriving beyond it.
The ball is in your court
In these uncertain times, you and your team will need adequate technological support for your respective missions, otherwise you will quickly be overwhelmed by the situation: whether during the crisis or for the recovery that is on the horizon. Don’t let that happen. Instead, take advantage of available technologies by providing your team with all the resources they need.