Most businesses in Northern Ireland will already be used to the quick and dramatic shift in working practices the Covid-19 pandemic has brought.
In the month since restrictions began, like never before, businesses have streamlined work-from-home practices and policies, unlocked all the benefits of cloud computing and are already considering how to integrate this rushed-through learnings into their long term plans.
In the aftermath of the crisis, experts believe that the way we live, work and travel will change profoundly, and they predict big policy implications for government for transport, commuters and for broadband availability.
For many well-placed organisations, working from home, or remotely at least, was part of their culture. For others, the crisis came as a major wake-up call and a steep learning curve.
Fortunately for everyone, in 2020, we’ve never been better placed to capitalise on the tech options available and relative broadband availability.
As talk of wider economic recovery begins and as businesses ignite new growth plans, if the following tech solutions aren’t already being deployed, there’s never been a better time to review these future-proof measures.
Avaya Team Collaborate
One of the top options for business use; this secure, exciting and easy-to-use platform enables voice, video and group conference but also includes document storage, file-sharing and task management options. It’s easy to use on your smart phone, which means you can collaborate effectively in this one-stop solution. This one App does it all.
An already established platform for business use and widely known, Microsoft Teams provides multiple users with the opportunity to instant message, speak, see one another and share documents – all at the same time. It’s part of Office 365 and all the tools, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Hosted VoIP telephone system
Protect your vital telecoms infrastructure in the event of any crisis by keeping your customers and staff always connected. Hosted (VoIP) telephone systems are vital for business continuity, delivering a secure and flexible backup to keep going. Should a crisis hit, a hosted phone system can immediately divert inbound calls to designated numbers, ensure call answering, provide update messages to customers, record messages and manage online enquiries.
BCP call management
A simple, quick and cost-effective solution which can easily be ‘switched on’ remotely and even used on older ISDN lines. Our BCP (Business Continuity Planning) call solution means you can manage your main number calls between a group of designated staff. Using their own mobiles, staff can also dial out but where the main office number is only visible to those at the other end. Cheaper, more reliable and more flexible than traditional call diverting, it’s an immediate problem-solver for many businesses.
You will already be aware of the plethora of apps available. From Zoom, Google Hangouts to House Party and FaceTime, there’s no end of choice. While most are free, there are emerging concerns around security and reliability and not everyone’s systems are compatible to allow them to perform at their best. Review the options to determine whether your business needs a professional solution to deliver these benefits, without the security risks.
In the absence of a comprehensive work from home solution, one obstacle you might have run into is how to share files securely and safely. There are plenty of options available, and, generally, the more you pay the better they are. If you already use Microsoft, you should already have access to OneDrive. Dropbox is also great alternative and can be set to synch your files automatically. Initial sign-up is free for most options but beware of the size limitations allowed.
While it won’t be business as usual for some time yet, the Covid-19 crisis has certainly put business continuity planning back on the priority list. However, what this huge and unexpected upheaval has taught us is that we need to be ready for every eventuality, to analyse the impacts and mitigate them quickly.
For 2020, we’re now better placed to do that than at any other time in our history.