The opportunity in crisis

Never let a good crisis go to waste – Winston Churchill

Churchill said these words back in 1945 during the Yalta Conference when an alliance was forged between himself, Stalin and Roosevelt – an unlikely trio that would spearhead the formation of the United Nations. It was an opportunity created from a crisis.

I’m sure most of you reading this article will be feeling “Covid fatigue”. However, we should ask ourselves what lessons we can learn from the whole, ongoing experience.

Collaboration is key

During lockdown, it was fascinating for me to see how many previously “techno phobic” people were forced to use products like Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

At the start of the lockdown, many IronTree clients contacted us frantically, asking how they could “work remotely” and “free themselves of their offices”.

Many of these customers have now remarked at how convenient this new way of working is, and I guess that 95% of them won’t go back to their old ways. This is where Churchill’s quote is so relevant: if some customers do move back to their old way of working, would they have lost the opportunity of learning from a crisis?

All of a sudden, people take Zoom for granted. And Microsoft’s corporate vice president for Microsoft 365 (the recently rebranded Office 365) says Teams might become more widely used than Windows. This confirms the very definite expectation that people will continue to work remotely.

Old-school systems vs the cloud

(geekspeak warning)

So what are our customers, who were forced into remote working by COVID-19, saying after experiencing two months of this new way of working?

  • It’s more convenient: they can work wherever and whenever they wish.
  • They have an increased sense of control: all their IT is located in one place and there’s no more “fragmented” data sitting on everyone’s laptops/computers needing to be protected or backed up.
  • Updating is easier: when software needs to be updated or “patched” it’s only done once, on the hosted server, i.e. there’s no need to run updates on each person’s desktop computer. Of course their operating systems still need to be patched, but this is an automated process.

    **Note: One of our customers uses Pastel Evolution. In the past, it had 80 users on the system, with Evolution installed on each person’s laptop, so when a new version of the software was released, it had to upgrade 80 workstations. Now, with each user logging into a central server, Evolution only needs to be upgraded on the server, saving a fortune in headaches, inconvenience and time.

  • Backing up is simpler: backups are processed from one place only because “all the stuff” is located on one hosted server.
  • They feel more secure: their cyber security software is now running primarily in their hosted environment and all users are essentially working off the same system in one location.
  • Improved performance: customers who were running old hardware experienced better performance in IronTree’s hosted environment because they’re now running their applications with optimal memory and CPU cores.

    **Note: In the current high-tech world hardware that is more than two years old is considered old. Normally, customers delay upgrading their hardware either due to cost or inconvenience and its related cousin, inertia.

So you can imagine the sense of relief our intrepid customers felt when they experienced the ease and convenience of this new way of working.

Remaining connected and contactable

It has also taken the COVID-19 crisis to “force businesses” to adopt Internet telephony, otherwise known as Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP).

The obvious advantage of VOIP under lockdown has been its portability, and the fact that it enables video conferencing as well as telephony.

Technology has improved significantly over the past few years and there are no downsides to VOIP. It gives more control over internal and external communications and is more economical than using conventional telephones.

**Note: During lockdown, we witnessed higher levels of reporting from our call centre. Clients were more responsive and reachable during this period, and we recorded trends that will assist us to improve our customer service even further.

So, my advice is not to let this crisis go to waste. Make the right choice for your business now while your options are still fresh in your mind.

Consider your processes and determine what can be streamlined and improved. Because when the world returns to normal, inertia will set in – we’ve all been there before.

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We are taking all necessary precautions around the COVID-19 situation. Our offices are closed and our team members have each been set up to work remotely in self-isolation at home. As far as possible IronTree will maintain business as usual. All our resources such as server platforms, transactional capacity, telephony and electronic communications, including video meeting facilities, have been configured in the cloud and are 100% operational. Please feel free to contact us if you require our assistance. Stay safe!
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