Addressing technology risks vital for business growth in the new normal
By Ralph Berndt, Sales and Marketing Director at Syrex.
The past 12 months have brought about significant disruption in organisations' technology processes. Instead of dealing with a predominantly centralised workforce, IT teams must now manage a work from anywhere environment while still ensuring systems run optimally. Addressing this will be one of the strategic priorities for operational success in a cloud-driven world.
During the start of the hard lockdown, many employees struggled with connectivity as they transitioned to working from home. And even though fibre roll-out initiatives have accelerated in recent years, access is not pervasive, leaving a significant portion of South Africans at a disadvantage. Furthermore, the price of mobile data has not yet reached the point where it can be available on tap for every remote worker.
This has required business leaders to shift limited budget to connectivity and relevant cloud-based solutions. The pandemic has highlighted the need to be cloud-enabled, but it has also highlighted the challenges of legacy systems in dealing with these often disparate set-ups.
One of the knock-on effects of this is practically evident. It has been challenging for IT teams that have been tasked with getting a clearer understanding of where the bottlenecks lie operationally and how to leverage the cloud to best unlock possible solutions. With executives so focused on putting things in place just to keep the business running, it has been the responsibility of the technology teams to help provide guidance on those areas that must be revitalised.
However, this has contributed to growing pressure in reconsidering the importance of the cloud for those who have been sitting on the fence regarding its adoption for their business. In fact, having a cloud strategy in place will be driven as a corporate priority in 2021. Now, it is about integrating teams, using the likes of platform as a service, and even finding ways to embrace software-defined networking to unlock business potential and value.
Fortunately, most organisations have been spurred into action, looking at the best ways to combine a remote (or mobile) workforce with existing systems. In addition to the technology requirements, companies must also consider how this will fit into the business culture and the work ethic of employees. Time management in such a distributed environment becomes even more critical to avoid workers burning themselves out as stress levels are still high given the uncertainty of future waves of the COVID-19 virus.
Contributing to this is the inability to effectively forecast what will happen in the business environment on the road ahead. Companies need to prepare the technical components required for digital transformation. Some are still hesitant to fully embrace a cloud-enabled environment. But this adoption will become increasingly common as it brings security benefits as well as the ability to leverage high performance computing capabilities of hyper-scalers to unlock more competitive advantage.
Eventually, a multicloud landscape will become more common, with businesses relying on trusted technology partners to help them effectively manage the different technology layers to help drive the organisation. So, whether it is the likes of Microsoft 365 or Kubernetes, the ability to deal with multicloud solutions will be integral to success in a continuously evolving landscape.
After all, a business can only overcome adversity with the right systems and tools in place and the right mindset to adopt change. With companies unable to control what the government, the economy and the pandemic will do, they can still control their ability to manage and change according to this new environment. Embracing the cloud is a key aspect of this.