01 Aug Doing More with Less – Navigating the New Working World
We’ve been in business for over 15 years, and during that time we’ve seen a lot, but we’ve never experienced a period of greater upheaval and uncertainty as to the situation we’re all finding ourselves in now. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the business world on its head, and as the ever-evolving, uncertain and challenging drama rolls on, businesses are rediscovering the importance of resilience and efficiency.
Let’s not get too mired in doom and gloom, one-day things will return to normal, but until then it’s more important than ever to prepare your business for further uncertainty – the possibility of further lockdowns and continued low-confidence in the economy. In terms of your business’ IT this means extracting the maximum value out of the technology you have, making it remotely accessible (so you’re prepared for further lockdowns) and trimming back the excess infrastructure and replacing it with cost-effective, flexible alternatives that achieve the same end result.
Adapting technology to a dynamic working world – what should I do?
We work with businesses UK-wide across various sectors to deliver high-performing, stable, secure and tailored solutions to the unique business challenges they face.
The current situation has been a catalyst in the adoption of new solutions which are typically ‘infrastructure-lite.’ More than ever businesses are looking for three things from their technology:
- Flexibility – Unhindered access to office resources is essential for remote teams.
- No Compromises – Businesses need full-functionality solutions so they can maintain uncompromised service delivery and stay competitive. No stop-gap workarounds!
- Cost efficiency – With lower than usual consumer confidence and uncertainty looming, the value for money is more important than ever.
Fortunately, the tech solutions to most of the challenges we currently face have existed for some time. Let’s explore a few of these.
Investing in IT used to mean server stacks, lots of wires and massive upfront costs. Now thanks to the accessibility of Cloud computing, traditionally office-based technology can be hosted entirely offsite. Servers, firewalls, networking solutions, document storage, telephony systems and much more no longer require extensive office infrastructure thanks to the Cloud. There are some limitations to the use of cloud platforms but in most cases, such solutions offer substantial benefits.
- Cost efficiency! Many cloud services are offered on a per-user, per-month basis so there are no daunting upfront costs and you don’t have to pay for capacity you don’t need.
- Unrivalled accessibility! Whether you use a public-cloud hosted service or you choose to operate your own ‘private cloud’ remote access is fundamental to the cloud experience.
- Zero (or less) maintenance. In most cases, Cloud computing will result in no maintenance for the user whatsoever. Cloud service providers take care of maintenance and security – it’s in there interesting to do so – so you can focus on running your business.
- Huge scalability potential. Physical infrastructure is inherently inflexible. The Cloud, on the other hand, lets you add and remove capacity as required, so you only pay for the resources and services you need.
This isn’t as “Science fiction” as it sounds. More and more businesses are discovering the benefits of ‘Robotic Process Automation’ (RPA) as a way to free up staff time for more productive endeavours. Automation has many applications, but one of the most common is to bring together multiple data sources in situations where time-consuming data entry would traditionally have been used.
Microsoft’s PowerApps platform is a popular route of entry to the world of automation. This easy-to-use platform lets users create applications to eliminate menial tasks, gain business insights from previously underused data and much more.
The Home Office
Working from home has suffered from a bad reputation in the UK for many years, with many employers fearing the practice will lead to poor productivity – but the evidence suggests the opposite. Working remotely has been proven to improve staff satisfaction, increase productivity, improve staff retention and even reduce absence rates.
Despite this, you may have to invest in up-to-date technology and other infrastructure to ensure your staff can perform as well at home as the would in the office.
Computers If your staff are using their own devices consider the long term risks – personal devices are harder to manage in terms of security, and they often blur the lines between personal content and work-related files. Consider providing your staff with devices so that you can control things like security and access, data management, maintenance and more.
PC performance. Are your staff using modern up-to-date machines, or are they plodding along with ancient, slow, insecure old things running unsupported operating systems? The latter will stifle productivity and any unsupported software platforms will present security risks.
The Office setup. Chairs, desks, footrests, lamps…a comfortable workforce is a productive one!
Connectivity We have all endured the frustration of a dodgy home internet connection. You may want to consider a dedicated line for key staff members who are struggling to work due to unreliable or slow home broadband.
Communication tools Video conferencing via apps like Teams and Zoom are a great way to keep remote teams engaged. Consider investing in microphones and headsets for those who need them.
Proactive IT support
Managing your IT in-house is great if you have the resources, but outsourcing your IT has many benefits. You and your team will be free to focus on strategy, great customer service, sales and growth while you’re IT partner takes care of the behind-the-scenes tasks involved in keeping your technology secure, dependable and high-performing.
A great IT partner will take the time to understand your business and your sector so that solutions can be tailored specifically to your needs. They’ll be commercially-savvy, security-focussed, proactive and in-tune with what your business wants to get out of its technology.
Customer experience matters too!
Does your service delivery suffer when your staff work remotely?
If the answer to this question is ‘yes’ then it’s time to take action. Think about how the customer experience may be suffering:
- Are simple tasks taking ages due to poor remote file access or limited communication channels?
- Are you able to transfer calls?
- Does your business suddenly appear less organised and ‘in-control?’ There are a wealth of productivity tools and workflow management platforms to help tackle this issue.
- Are your team struggling with new technology? Investing time in training will ensure your staff appear competent despite the changes to their work environment.
Where do I begin?
The UK government is currently in the process of rolling out funding to help businesses make efficiency changes as part of its economic response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
These grants of up to £5000 could help you embrace technological change, in order to improve efficiency, resilience and ensure your business is able to sail through these turbulent times relatively unscathed. This funding could help you invest in productivity-boosting new tech, migrate systems to the cloud and ensure your team are adequately trained and supported in the use of any new technology.
At Netcom, we are well-versed in helping companies in various sectors navigate the often mystifying, jargon-filled worlds of IT. With over 15 years’ experience and covering virtually all aspects of business IT, we can help guide your business through this uncertain period and help you deploy cutting edge solutions that will not only help you weather the current storm but keep your business at the top of its game beyond the pandemic.
So for guidance on Government funding, IT strategy and digital transformation why not book a free, no-obligation discovery call today by calling 0114 361 0062.