If there is one thing the past six weeks have taught us, it is how much we depend on network connectivity for work, school and even family gatherings. Looking forward, a key part of the pandemic’s legacy will be a dramatic increase in awareness of the network’s role in our economy and society. At the enterprise level, the network is essential for developing, operating and improving business applications and maintaining a continuous improvement program for operations.
This means your network will need to be a strategic priority as you recover and build toward your new future. Here are our Top 5 ways to rethink your network.
- Treat the network as a strategic priority. Demand for bandwidth has skyrocketed in the last two months. It’s become abundantly clear that the network is the single most important link during this period of social distancing. The ability to communicate, collaborate, take orders, coordinate delivery, engage with customers, buy and sell goods, and work remotely are all reliant on being connected over a combination of wireline, cellular, Wi-Fi and other networking technologies. Networks enable the multiple supply chains that ensure we have food, power, medicine and everything else we need to live in our modern society. We have been a connected society for a long time, even if we did not think about it before, and networks are what make this possible. Networks comprise our virtual workspaces, and it is time to realize that the most successful companies are putting the same level of strategic planning into their networks as they have historically put into physical workspaces.
- Right-size your network costs. Like any other element of businesses, networks contain elements of old and new technologies. Infrastructures, contracts, pricing and delivery strategy provide opportunities for quick hits to upgrade services and save costs. Optimizing your network environment can pay big dividends, whether by renegotiating or re-sourcing your carrier, modernizing your infrastructure and adopting more cost-effective technology, or getting rid of unused but expensive capacity and connections. Conduct an assessment and audit and go after network savings now; our experience shows you can save between 20 and 30 percent in most cases.
- Start building resilience. Driving out cost does not mean driving out capability. Let’s face it, you need more network capacity now than ever before to enable remote working and business continuity. Application performance and worker productivity all rely on strong, resilient connections. This means ensuring a certain degree of redundancy as well as a diverse array of network architectures. Maintaining your workforce will mean giving them unlimited access to collaboration services like Microsoft Teams, video meeting platforms like WebEx and so forth. Each of these require bandwidth to support the virtual face-to-face environment that will hold your teams together during this period and in the future. And if you are still struggling with your contact center, this has to be an immediate action to ensure you can take care of your customers. This all has a cost, so you’ll need to understand how to acquire this capability cost effectively while managing cost elsewhere - and do it quickly.
- Leverage the network to be first to recover and lead your industry in the second half of 2020. Adversity presents opportunity to take a leap forward. Start planning now for the next stages of the pandemic. Resumption of business will come in steps as we recover globally, and each step will require an evolving network strategy to support your employees and customers as we face uncertainty and then eventual recovery. Continue to design the network capabilities that will support each phase of recovery, so you are the first to be operational at the next level and can maximize your share of returning business.
- Start building your future business now for success this year and into 2021. While you are operating under the restraints of the pandemic is the perfect time to design your future. The limitations of physical access provide a unique sandbox in which to test new business processes and refine various types of remote operations. Processes that leverage remote sensors, robotics, edge computing, smart factories and 5G will all be key to future competitiveness. The pandemic has fueled an outbreak of creativity and ideas, freeing us from many of the old paradigms and excuses and forcing us to begin adapting and experimenting. Business and the world will never be quite the same. Use the gift of forced adaptation to prepare for the new future – and find new opportunities for your business to thrive.
We invite you to join us for a webinar Building Network Resiliency and Driving Out Costs to explore how you can create a resilient network on the road to the new future.