INSIGHT

Why connectivity is crucial to the private sector’s Covid-19 rebound

By Andrew Halliwell, product director, Virgin Media Business

No one could have predicted what 2020 would bring. How Covid-19 would affect the pace of digital change.

From supporting remote working for employees to finding new ways to improve the digital customer experience, the pandemic has forced leaders all over the country to rapidly rethink how their business operates.

In the face of the second wave, Covid measures continue to impact working practices and influence customer demand and behaviour.

The question now is: how can we sustain these digital transformations over the long term?

Digital acceleration

During lockdown, businesses rapidly accelerated their digitisation plans. 

49% of the UK workforce has been working remotely since April, with most continuing to do so despite a temporary easing of restrictions.

Online retail surged by 129% across the UK and Europe, with consumers spending up to 30% more on digital channels as a result of the pandemic.

The shift has been fast and wide-ranging.

To adapt, businesses must continue to invest in firm foundations that allow them to cope with greater online demand for services and support flexible working, getting employees collaborating and driving projects forward.

Networks are fundamental to this transformation. They have been the invisible force behind the conference calls, instant messenger chats, ecommerce platforms and collaboration tools that have helped businesses through this unprecedented period.

Leaders in enterprise are recognising networks’ increased importance and are showing a willingness to invest.

Global spending on digital infrastructure is projected to grow by 5.3% in 2020 and software investments by 1.7%.

But there are traps to avoid.

Investing in the wrong solutions could result in businesses acquiring technology that isn’t optimised for these new ways of working, or that doesn’t come with the right security software, leaving them exposed.

The technology businesses really need are those that give them greater flexibility and control without requiring them to rip out their systems and start all over again.

Building the right network

How can business leaders meet the demand for more flexible, powerful and resilient infrastructure without disrupting their everyday operations even further?

The good news is that from business growth to organisational resilience, advanced connectivity technologies offer solutions without the hassle of a complex set-up. These will give businesses the power to quickly set up in new locations, introduce new services, respond to shifts in working practices and even expand into new markets.

This will bring benefits to customers and employees alike. What’s more, they can be embedded within an organisation incrementally, without needing to involve lots of heavy disruption, which businesses can’t afford right now.

SD-WAN is a prime example of an advanced connectivity solution that provides flexibility, control and security, all of which are crucial to implementing remote working effectively and responding to shifting customer demands.

What makes such solutions even more important for enterprises is the security they offer. Network security is no longer just about the number of protective layers between networks and customer data but it’s now about who is accessing the information and where they’re doing this from.

Robust digital infrastructure like SD-WAN, can respond to these needs by providing end-to-end data encryption to all customers.

While not all SD-WANs come with this level of support, with the right strategic partner and solution, organisations can benefit from solutions which authenticate each user against every app, providing system managers and business leaders with peace of mind and the capacity to focus on making the big decisions that will help them to rebound post Covid-19.

A connected rebound

As we move into the next phase of the pandemic, it’s more important than ever to put in place the right networking technology to meet your organisation’s needs.

If done right, this will give you the connectivity to fuel your future rebound without compromising fundamental business resilience, helping you to move forward and thrive

A version of this article ran on Vanilla Plus.

Virgin Media Business will also be publishing more research findings and customer insights on our dedicated hub page.