Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic – Be Better Prepared with BOLT

By XTGlobal Posted 08-Jun-2020

The world has slowly come to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic that has nearly crippled global economies. The panic mode is over, but the fear lingers- is this the end, or is there something still to come? Whatever the result, the learning has been enormous. Priorities have changed, and so have opinions. Dependencies on technology have increased like never, and it is all based on need rather than greed.

The last two months have revealed large Achilles Heels, making companies double-check their capacity to perform during a crisis. Having operated in survival mode for nearly three months, companies are preparing for a new normal where interaction is minimal, spending is regulated, contracts are renegotiated, and initiatives are redesigned. The only common ground across the world is investing in technologies that provide capabilities to handle a similar crisis in the future.

So, what lessons have we learned from the worldwide lockdown, and how ready are we for the next one? There have been some very significant and life-changing lessons for businesses and governments across the world, particularly with regards to their IT investments. From airlines to schools, from e-tailers to mom-and-pop stores, everyone is investing in IT capabilities at their own level. However, this comes at a cost, particularly when the company wants to invest in in-house infrastructure and resources. In-house capabilities may pay off in the long run, but they require a large upfront investment. Furthermore, finding the skillsets to match the requirements at such short notice can also be a challenge. Here is why you can go for a technology partner that will provide you with all the required capabilities in terms of both infrastructure, office space, and even resources at the shortest notice and lowest cost.

COVID-19

Here are some insights that companies can take from the pandemic:

Lesson 1: Improve your Operational Capabilities

Aligning critical processes with the right resources and technology will help companies absorb the shocks of a disruption better. Operational capabilities can be enhanced using AI, ML, IoT, and cloud-based solutions so that the downtime is minimal and future-proofs against shocks as well. For instance, you can digitize and automate certain workflows so that they can be handled from anywhere, say an offshore location. While this may work for only a part of the enterprise, it will help to meet basic covenants like avoiding unnecessary travel and social distancing.

The first thing companies need to do is to understand which jobs can be done remotely and how they can enable work from home. An analysis of typical workflows, which include customer and other external interactions, would help to identify these roles.

Lesson 2: Move to the Cloud to Minimize Dependence on Human Middleware

Online sales calls, telemedicine, video classes and conferences, and even online events have already started off on a certain scale. Investing in a secure and reliable IT infrastructure will enable positive experiences in what is a new way of operating. Adopting cloud-based technology is the best way to obtain IT resilience. The IT operations team is responsible for on-premise data centers and other infrastructure such as networks, storage, servers, middleware, databases, firewalls, networks, and applications. Preventing downtime due to data center outages or other disruptions is the main part of building IT resilience. This is possible by investing in cloud-based technologies, with minimal dependence on human middleware. With technological advancement, building, managing, and maintaining IT infrastructure is no longer an in-house task. Outsourcing and offshoring of these functionalities will free the core IT team and help them to focus on more strategic tasks.

Lesson 3: Give Enterprise-wide API Integration a Priority

Integration may have been a future plan for many organizations until now, but post-COVID, this has become a matter of priority. All data, applications, and devices need to be connected to get real-time insights and also to process requests faster. For instance, Governments across the world have created special apps to locate those infected with the virus and to help others stay safe by avoiding “hot spots.” Integration plays a key role in facilitating connectivity and communication between programs, devices, backend systems, enabling seamless operations. A good integration strategy enhances customer experiences and improves customer retention.

Lesson 4: Look at Data Security Beyond the Office

With employees working from home, there is a different mode of data security that needs to be considered. Providing end-point security to devices, developing secure sign-ins into corporate systems, updating system access policies, and procurement of secure network management, hardware, software, infrastructure that can be accessed from anywhere is key. Employees will need training on data protection and use, security, assessment, and review. Having offshore development centers will mitigate the risk to a large extent as well.

Lesson 5: Invest in Self-Healing IT Infrastructure

Managing complex IT landscapes that are based on both cloud and on-premise environments can be quite a challenge. With companies dependent on ERPs, analytical tools, data, and reporting applications and more, its dependence on IT support increases substantially. Use of tools like predictive analytics, circuit breaker patterns, Machine Learning, prescriptive analytics, triggers, smart alerts, logging, and monitoring tools will minimize the need for human intervention.

Lesson 6: Respond Quicker to Changing Customer Expectations

Online customer demand has seen a shift from non-essentials to essentials. Even the way these essentials are moved, handled, and delivered requires a change in policies. Widespread opening of markets and malls is not in sight anytime soon, so customers’ dependence on online platforms is likely to increase. Prepare to interact with IVR systems, chatbots, mobile phone apps, and self-service web applications using AI to address customer queries or most common requests. This requires investment in automation tools, cloud-based solutions, and dedicated staff as well, which can be outsourced or taken up by an offshoring technology partner.

Lesson 7: Improve Collaboration with Technology

Instant messaging, video conferencing, data sharing, and other communication and collaboration tools have seen a tremendous increase in use with WFH. Assigning tasks, sharing documents, central or cloud data storage, project management, recording of online meetings, real-time data collaboration, are just a few tools that will improve productivity dramatically while saving time.

Lesson 8: Change Production as per Demand

Several companies have already started to create new products to meet demand for them. For instance, apparel manufacturers have moved into making face masks, pharma companies have ramped up their capability for sanitizers and ventilators, and several more have moved into the making of protective gear. On the technology front, companies are ramping up their capacity to provide newer kinds of collaborative tools, messaging apps, gaming devices and streaming services to meet huge spikes in demand. Those companies that invest in a reliable and resilient IT infrastructure will handle product designing and development faster than their competitors. With the right kind of technology like automation, production development time can be reduced drastically, and applications will have faster time-to-market.

Conclusion

Thanks to technology, the world did not come to a standstill in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. However, there is much to learn and a lot to change for businesses as well as consumers. The best way for companies to cope with these challenges quickly is to invest in a partner that already has these capabilities, whether it be trained and vetted resources, or infrastructure.

Ensure your Business Continuity with XTGlobal’s BOLT

XTGlobal’s BOLT (Build>Operate>Lease>Transfer) can be your safety net against any similar situations in the future. With this strategic partnership, you can operate a world-class delivery center in India, mitigating your risk from threats to your in-house capabilities. Apart from exceptional cost savings (60% and more), you get trained and experienced engineers, consultants with expertise in Oracle and Microsoft technologies, and best in class delivery centers of excellence in two of the best Indian cities in South India- Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam. XTGlobal will take on complete responsibility for your operations, enabling workflow automation to keep your business running at optimal levels.

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