Every organisation’s strategy is uniquely aligned to their corporate objectives, but last year they all had one thing in common; they were all torn up and thrown away when the COVID-19 pandemic hit. As office staff retreated to their spare bedrooms, businesses up and down the country began a mad scramble for laptops and wi-fi boosters. At Advanced, we were helping our customers to deploy VPN clients, scale up remote access platforms and connectivity, alongside accelerating their adoption of Microsoft Teams.
As we approach the long-awaited ‘re-opening’ after Easter, it’s still hard to anticipate what 2021 holds in store for us. When we can’t forecast the future, we must set ourselves up to be agile to survive the constantly changing circumstances. For those who adapt best, these strange times represent an opportunity to not only survive, but to thrive. In this blog I am sharing some of the strategies that I’ve seen implemented among our own customer base, that I suspect will soon become common practice.
Simplicity is key to flexibility
Clearly, being adaptable will help mitigate against future risks and enable you to pursue future opportunities, but how exactly do you go about it? First, look at your vendor and partner relationships, and ensure that they are inherently flexible by allowing you to scale up or down as required. Next, make sure that your technology is inter-operable wherever possible; software is now more open than ever, which opens opportunities for integration and automation. Finally, be clear on your key objectives, and if you find that your technology doesn’t support them, identify the challenges you need to overcome, and pivot quickly.
Look after customer number one; your people
Technology offers us greater insight into the user experience, helping to identify how we can better support people through these difficult times. For example, it is now expected that your team will have access to everything they need from any device, in any location. This is now made easier than ever by the evolution of Microsoft 365. From a management perspective, analytics capabilities are increasingly part of a software product’s core feature set, which enables the adoption of XLAs to help us measure what truly matters most. As someone much wiser than me once said, look after your people, and they’ll look after your clients, and in turn your profits will look after themselves.
Define your Cloud Strategy (and stick to it)
By now everyone should have a Cloud strategy, whether that be formalised in a document or just some informal guiding principles that you follow. Importantly, Cloud First principles should not be compromised; being ruthless will pay dividends over time. If you have a workload that won’t easily migrate to the Cloud, then maybe it’s time to part ways. Sometimes you have to roll a hard six. For a reduced Total Cost of Ownership, the optimal migration approach is SaaS first, then PaaS, then IaaS, and you need to perform cost optimisation. However, bear in mind that Cloud economics will typically only deliver an ROI over three- to five-years, so sometimes you need to be brave in investing for the future.
Understand your Key Vendors
New products and services are being released to the market at a ferocious and unrelenting pace, as traditional vendors are now having to compete with start-ups who can leverage the Cloud to bring new propositions to market faster than ever. The technology landscape can seem busy and confusing, and it’s a full-time job just keeping abreast of the latest developments. However, once you’ve identified your key vendors, establishing good relationships with them will ensure that they come to you with the updates that are relevant to you. Most of the key vendors will have teams who are tripping over themselves to engage with end users, so be sure to take advantage.
While we prioritise short-term challenges, don’t forget to have ambitious long-term objectives too. This period of change is a great opportunity to rebuild the foundations of your operating model in a way that is future-proof and sets you up for future success. The rise of Cloud generally means more OpEx and less CapEx, which can be a challenge for some organisations. This means that every major investment should not only be looked at through the technology strategy lens, but also needs to be underpinned by a solid business case.
Of course what works for one organisation is not guaranteed to work for another, but the above practices are tried and tested. Having said that, you’d be surprised how many people fail to follow them.
What do you think of these ideas?
What has worked for your organisation?
How could you look at things different in order to get better outcomes?
Get in touch to discuss this further with our Managed Services experts.