Spotlight on networking for ‘business unusual | NTT

by Andre van Schalkwyk

09 June 2020

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Insights for business and IT leaders on how to best manage the global COVID-19 crisis over the short, medium and long term

As the world braces itself for a ‘new normal’, we share insights and observations that we’ve gathered over the last six months since the COVID-19 virus emerged, and how our clients have responded. We’ve identified three phases in the way businesses have been, and still are, dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak:

  1. Rapid response
  2. Bounce back
  3. The ‘new normal’

Phase 1: Rapid response

As governments introduced lockdown measures, many employees had to start working from home. At short notice, businesses had to ensure:

  • primary connectivity
  • equipment and productivity tools
  • appropriate security measures

Phase 2: Bounce back

Organizations in most industries remain in a state of flux. Their primary concern is gauging how their markets changed since the outbreak and understanding what it might look like in several months.

There’s a growing interest in tools and technologies that can provide:

  • automation
  • greater visibility
  • cost reduction and control
  • secure ways of working

Phase 3: ‘The new normal’

Post-pandemic, we believe that we’ll never ‘go completely back to normal’ on many levels … in terms of the way we work as well as how we interact socially and professionally.

Some considerations:

  • Organizations will rearchitect networks to facilitate home working and smarter, safer office workspaces: Before the outbreak, allowing employees to work from home was the exception rather than the rule for many businesses. We believe that work-from-home arrangements will continue to be embraced as part of the ‘new normal’. Organizations’ will also embed resilience into their network operations to minimize the impact of any event similar to this global pandemic. Meanwhile, office-bound employees will find themselves occupying increasingly ‘smart’ workspaces that can accommodate social distancing and other safety measures.
  • Increased internet connectivity and capacity offered by service providers will be redirected in innovative ways: For example, given the point above, could the lines between B2B and B2C players may become blurred, given the increase in demand for connectivity to the home and a decrease in demand in office parks?
  • In the retail sector, online shopping will remain a popular alternative to in-store visits among many consumers: How will this affect the high levels of investment many retailers are and have made in transforming and personalizing the in-store customer experience, using advanced technologies such as machine learning to gauge individuals buying habits?

Finally, trends such as digital transformation will be amplified and accelerated with the support of relevant, secure infrastructure especially with respect to businesses’ technology, operational and financial initiatives.

We also predict that the development, deployment and use of technology have reached a watershed moment. The wave of destruction to businesses and international markets the virus’ spread has left in its wake will take years for us to rebound from.

Furthermore, it’s also opened our eyes … and new doors … to innovative use cases for technology, in ways we truly never imagined.

Read the Report here. Let’s craft the right infrastructure strategy for your business.

Andre van Schalkwyk

Andre van Schalkwyk

Group Network Advisory Director, NTT