As the world began to change, most of our European customers reacted with speed and tenacity of their own. And while the crisis is far from over, the lessons already learned can be useful to companies still progressing through their recovery process. Each company is different, of course, but we are seeing our customers go through three main stages.
Stage 1 is a mad dash to keep everybody working, and the IT department’s biggest priority is to do whatever is necessary — quickly — to make sure employees can do their jobs. At this point, efforts to maintain business continuity should focus on three main areas:
- Giving employees the means to connect remotely through mobile solutions
- Implementing collaboration tools that allow project teams to continue working effectively
- Providing employees with access to the data they need
Once companies are up and running, they transition into Stage 2, which remains focussed on short-term activities, but also seeks to improve the situation. This means smoothing out processes, improving collaboration possibilities, and perhaps even improving the user experience.
Finally, Stage 3 is all about setting up for the future. Companies that reach this phase will encounter a change in how people work and how IT supports them. An important mind-shift is necessary at this point — for both managers and employees. For instance, many traditional European companies are used to presence management, where leaders think, “If I see my employees, I know they are working.” With remote working becoming the norm, that mind-set needs to change.
At this stage, it is also important for companies to step back from their current operational issues and really think about the future. They should assess the current situation — what went right and what went wrong — and think about general architectural changes.
Reconfiguring the workplace is a complicated task, but companies can make the process easier by:
- Evaluating technology solutions that are already available on the market. Many IT departments are used to creating their own solutions, but continuing to do things in-house is limiting — especially when speed is concerned. Innovative new options come on the market every day and are worth investigating.
- Looking for cloud-based solutions. Consumption-based services can provide increased flexibility as situations change rapidly.
- Working with a technology partner. To totally change their way of working, companies will need to implement complex technology — something that is hard to ramp up quickly without experienced help.
After the earlier scramble to find their footing, this is the moment for companies to stop and take a deep breath. This is the time to think about how they want to approach the future, how to make things better — and, of course, how to prepare for the next event.