Adapting in the post-pandemic business world involves at least 3 key areas

Cat Mules

Cat Mules

Global market research and analytics firm, Forrester, reports on how businesses can make the wisest of decisions, with recent insights covering advice on enhancing remote working, security and quality customer experience related to global Covid-19 disruptions. Here’s a roundup of their suggestions, followed by top tips from Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud on thriving in the emerging business landscape.

Global market research and analytics firm, Forrester, reports on how businesses can make the wisest of decisions, with recent insights covering advice on enhancing remote working, security and quality customer experience related to global Covid-19 disruptions. Here’s a roundup of their suggestions, followed by top tips from Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud on thriving in the emerging business landscape.

Remote working and the cloud

The momentous upsurge in remote working reveals many areas of amplified capacity enabled by cloud-hosting platforms, with what Forrester claims are clearer signs than ever before that the prevailing businesses will be cloud-based. Forrester’s infrastructure and operations principal analyst Dave Bartoletti recently explained how as “customers demand more cloud-enabled experiences…”, businesses in parallel will “only realise these benefits with a pragmatic cloud computing road map.”

In times of pandemic, elsewhere Dave Bartoletti clarifies why the cloud is really the only option, explaining “the public cloud was designed for massive scale and spiky demand,” and that it has “the experience and capacity to respond quickly to an influx of new home workers and digital business.”

For business-people looking to align with a transforming world, these are the mission-critical actions for companies to power up using the cloud:

  1. Ask your critical remote working app providers, what are their pandemic response plans? If they don’t have a sufficient, comprehensive plan in place, it’s time to quickly transition to another one.
  2. Sync regularly with your most important public cloud platform providers.
  3. Remain calm. After all, cloud capacity has a strong foundation to handle the increased load that comes with millions of home workers.

Security

Safety and security of confidential data is a top concern for businesses as they transition to an improved online and on-cloud mode of operating. Forrester’s security and risk principal analyst, Chase Cunningham, leader within the ‘zero trust’ movement, warns that the extended device links that come with remote working give hackers more room to pounce on system weakness.

“Malicious attackers will look for new ways to access companies’ data, even during a pandemic,” he explains. “The odds are employees are remote working with their own devices at least in some manner and operating outside protected infrastructure, whether or not the firm issued the device.”

Here are Forresters’ recommended critical areas to ensure modern companies stay safe:

  1. Start with identity and access management in your resource protection strategy.
  2. Integrate and automate threat protection to build advanced, networked security networks.
  3. Make information protection a priority to protect the sensitive data of your customers.
  4. Build comprehensive cloud security to protect every resource layer.

Digital customer experience

Digital channels are more important than ever, with each channel’s brand seen as engines for empathising with customers and holding opportunities to fit with their needs. In times of pandemic, businesses will benefit from tuning into these brand relationships more than ever. Forrester’s customer experience principal analyst, Rick Parrish, offers three simple ways to get CX in the time of COVID-19.

1. “Get the emotion right for this moment – Contrary to what many companies think, the right emotion is not necessarily ‘delight’, It might be ‘confidence’ or ‘trust’, for example. Delight may be way off-key at a time like this. Emotions vary widely in nature, strength, and frequency. That’s why you have to think about what spurs each emotion and what customers will do as a result of each one.”

2. “Apply the peak-end rule, adjusted to the crisis – Two moments dominate people’s memory of an experience: the most emotionally intense moment (the peak, whether positive or negative) and the end. If your CX lacks a significant natural peak, look for opportunities to create one that suits this time of crisis. If the experience already has a natural peak, hone it for maximum effect if it’s appropriate and adjust it if not. In either case, be sure to end on an emotionally positive note that, again, is not tone-deaf in the context of a pandemic.”

3. “Communicate more simply and clearly than ever – It’s hard for people to focus when they’re stressed so dense language annoys them and drives them away, even more so in the current situation. Clear communication drives trust throughout the customer life-cycle, and that’s especially important now.”

 

TIPS FROM THE CLOUD ON POST-COVID-19 OUTLOOK FORECASTING

dave howden forrester peice

Dave Howden, Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud

As the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced massive uncertainties about the future, for many businesses plans and forecasting have been turned on their heads. In the inaugural Functions-as-a-Service Platforms report, Forrester credited Microsoft’s event-driven applications and “robust programming model and integration capabilities” as the best in breed above all other platforms. I asked Umbrellar’s Head of Cloud, Dave Howden, about his pointers for forecasting in this fast-changing environment.  Here’s what he shared.

TIP 1 – Figure out the cost, and reality, of virtual working.

No-ones clear on precisely what the pandemic means for the economy, but the opportunities are clearly vast. The Umbrellar team went early into lock-down: 3 days prior to COVID-19 Level 4, we were assembling our new full remote mode of working and aligning on what our new reality was. Actually, the results surprised me right away – everyone was embracing remote working and seeing positive side effects as a result. More focus time, no shoulder tapping and (this is key) NO AUCKLAND TRAFFIC!

If this is our new normal, I embrace it. Of course, the true challenge is how we maintain human connection as the lock-down progresses. We know that it won’t be forever, but the questions in my mind is this: will going to the office ever be the same after we now have been forced to trust that our teams can deliver whilst not being physically present?

TIP 2 – Working from home is just the start.

Never more has the work life balance saying been more prevalent than during this period. The reality is, our routines have been turned upside down – with kids at home during work hours, aged family requiring assistance to remain in doors, our usual idea of work/life balance has gone out the window. With committed and engaged employees, businesses must address new ways to deliver services that accommodates their employees ‘new normal’.

Right now, business leaders are given a chance to think about the workplace differently and about how to move to an outcome based trust model. For my team at Umbrellar, it’s never been about hours, or days….. but results. I say, ‘show me the results and you define what work life looks like for you’.

The early signs are that if this model can work under these extremes, then certainly it can when the pendulum swings back to our new normal, whatever that may be.

TIP 3 – Don’t try to predict the future… But do be nimble.

Forecasting the future is far from easy and often comes down to more luck than judgement and then, once you’ve got a plan in place…. the unexpected occurs! Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of advantages in being prepared, however it’s far more important to appropriately respond to the facts and specific scenario at hand, than to try and fit with action ‘plans’ for different scenarios. This is what I call ‘Respondability’…

As business leaders, it’s our job to guide businesses towards being flexible within the bounds of whatever life throws at them. For me right now, this mean not only supporting our people, but addressing the 90,000 customers we supply with Cloud solutions and listening to how we can help them survive this hard economic period. Leading our customers through this pandemic involves listening to their pain points and responding accordingly – this is key.

 

Discover more:

How has work changed in response to Covid-19? We asked four kiwi companies

Real-time, contactless payment systems shown to be the way of the future with Covid-19 – GlobalData

Post Covid, more companies will ditch their servers

Cat Mules

Cat Mules

Umbrellar's Digital Journalist, coming from a background in tech reporting and research. Cat's inspired by the epic potential of tech and helping kiwi innovators share their success stories.

Microsoft

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Microsoft is a technology company whose mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more. We strive to create local opportunity, growth, and impact in every country around the world.

Umbrellar

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The Cloud, Done Right. Umbrellar is New Zealand’s only dedicated Azure & Azure Stack Managed Services specialist. That’s why successful New Zealand companies of all sizes choose us to transform their businesses.

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