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The Cost of Doing Nothing

Joanne Lennon Senior Manager, Product Marketing Published 27 Jul 2020

As the world grapples with the COVID pandemic, there is much uncertainty about what the future holds. What will life look like in 2021? How will the economy fare? Which businesses will survive? Which will not? Will the ‘new normal’ have any semblance to the old?

We have all witnessed just how deadly and indiscriminate the virus is:

While every day we learn more about the virus, and businesses benefit from the experience of their peers who are ahead in their re-opening, countless questions remain:

  • Will there be a second wave, and could it be more lethal than the first? (like history suggests)
  • What can businesses do today to prepare for an uncertain future?
  • What’s the cost of doing nothing?

Never Waste a Crisis

Times of crisis in business can often lead to improvements. As history has shown, businesses who manage well through challenging times can capture long-term competitive advantage. Those who don’t, may not survive.

Businesses must take stock of where they are at, reflect on the future and make the necessary changes to survive and prosper.

Below, are observations on some key lessons learned over the last four months:

  1. Technology Matters

In the early days of the pandemic, an image circulated asking people who led their digital transformation effort. Was it: A) CEO B) CTO C) COVID-19

 

Amusing as it was, reality has shown that COVID-19 did spur digital transformation.  McKinsey reports that “we vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of eight weeks”. IDC reported similar findings – two years of IT digital transformation in 2 months. While many businesses may have prepared for years for their digital transformation journey, COVID was the impetus needed to make plans a reality.  If businesses can learn anything from the last four months, it is just how important technology and the network is. It is the lifeline of an organization. Technology will fuel the new normal and play a critical role in keeping us connected and safe.  

  1. Digital Adopters fared better

A proof point of 1. is seen firsthand by organizations who adapted quickly to the pandemic. COVID has been a proving ground for technology and early digital innovators have fared better than technology laggards. Companies who invested in technology and were further along in their digital transformation journeys found they were able to adapt to the new normal faster and more seamlessly than digital laggards. Many mid-sized companies who had not invested in digital, have struggled to stay connected with their customers and stay afloat.

  1. The Value of Cloud

While the pandemic has highlighted the importance of many different technologies – remote access, video conferencing, security and more – few are more important than cloud. While previously such a pandemic would have crippled businesses, thanks to the availability of enterprise services in the cloud, millions of users were able to seamlessly transition to working from home. COVID demonstrated that cloud is not just valuable, it is inevitable and is the network of the future.

  1. Data is King

Contrast the current pandemic with the Spanish flu pandemic in 1918, the most severe pandemic in recent history. Unlike in 1918, we live in a connected world with an abundance of data – data on the virus, on how it transmits, on vaccines, on the success or failure of different virus approaches and strategies. We may live in our own respective countries, but all of us benefit from global information. COVID is the data-driven pandemic and data is fueling the world’s response. Similarly, data and analytics are fueling how businesses respond and adapt to the pandemic.

  1. The Need to Think Differently

Difficult times call for creative solutions and the last four months has seen businesses and industries rise to the challenge:

    • Hospitals leveraged pop-up clinics to address the increased number of patients
    • Wi-Fi enabled buses brought connectivity to students to continue learning
    • IoT robots were deployed to clean and disinfect workplaces
    • Drone delivery provided socially distanced delivery services and enhanced supply chain resiliency

Prepare for the Future

As the COVID pandemic has made clear, things can change quickly and unpredictably. Preparing for the future demands business agility and an open mindset. It requires taking a hard look at the technology and network that fuels your organization today and questioning the status quo. For example:

  • Is the network investment you had planned for 2020 still the best one?  Would it be better served in another area – cloud solutions, data analytics, data center, etc.?
  • Does an on-premise solution continue to best serve your business needs? Is it time to consider alternatives, such as a cloud networking solution, with the enhanced agility, flexibility, and manageability to cater to the hybrid work environments of the future?
  • Is it time to change how you purchase networking equipment? Should you consider a network-as-a-service offering, that could allow you to preserve CAPEX & build a reserve fund to weather these uncertain times?
  • Does your current networking vendor have the solutions, expertise, and experience to help you in your transition to the new normal?

Doing Nothing is Not an Option

Darwin said: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent; it is the one most adaptable to change.”  Now more than ever, the capability of an organization’s network will underpin how competitive and effective they will be.

While change can be difficult and digital transformation can be overwhelming, COVID has clearly shown us that doing nothing is not an option.

A data-driven, cloud-driven network is the future. The question all businesses should ask is how and when they will get there.

To learn more about how to prepare for the new normal and how Extreme Networks can help, leverage the assets below.

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