The COVID-19 Crisis Has Raised the Importance of the Power to Change

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Click to learn more about author Steve Sullivan.

If there is one place where the global COVID-19 crisis has left its deepest mark on the business sector, it is on the ability to change. Undoubtedly, no one expected or estimated the extent of this crisis, and, these days, it still leaves big question marks in the global and local markets. The published forecasts are mostly bleak, and the uncertainty is great. Although the quarantine is lifted and borders are opening in many places around the world, everything is still handled under great fear and under restrictions.

While a second wave may still be on the horizon, many businesses are still trying to recover from the blow of the first. However, those who have learned to be flexible and were able to change managed to survive and even gain a competitive advantage over similar businesses — and technology plays an important role in this.

The Concept of “Resilience” Has Changed Beyond Recognition

“Resilience” is a familiar concept in IT that refers to the ability of a network or system to adapt to change and protect the business and its customers from disasters or serious disruptions. A business that has invested in the resilience of its IT will be able to continue from exactly the same point where it existed before the disaster or disruption occurred.

When it comes to a disaster of fire, war, or a cyberattack on the organization, resilience can indeed get the business back on its feet, allowing it to conduct itself as if the disaster did not exist at all and continue with normal and routine organizational activities.

However, when it comes to a global disaster such as COVID-19, it is not enough. Organizations cannot get back to the same point they were at before the crisis began. They must change — and fast if they want to survive and stand out in the market. Going back to the pre-crisis time for many of them is a death sentence.

In the wake of this crisis, businesses must reinvent themselves and accelerate digital activities. Food retail businesses, for example, had to allow the acceleration of in-home deliveries directly to the consumer and allow a significant computing platform to support the demand. Manufacturers who usually deliver their goods exclusively to stores changed the way they distribute completely during the crisis. Similarly, government departments such as Education, Health, and Social Security, which are more accustomed to dramatic changes, had to change their way of working and allow it to be managed remotely. Traditional organizations such as banks, insurance companies, and health services had to quickly close down and allow remote work from home while marketing the services through advanced applications and online services — and all this had to be done, of course, in a very secure manner.

The current pandemic is so deep and widespread that it is still unknown when it will end, and if it even has an end at all. The name of the game is the ability to change, transform business models, and prepare quickly, which requires a huge and dramatic increase in IT requirements for an unknown period of time.

How Can the New Resilience Be Provided to a Business?

In order to allow a business the ability to change quickly and adapt to the changing reality after the crisis, it must be provided with flexibility. Flexibility is expressed in two ways:

On-Demand Technology: Customer-focused technology providers, who felt their customers’ distress and demand for increased flexibility, began to offer new models of on-demand service or technology — that is, according to actual consumption, on the scope needed and only at the time it is needed. In the field of data storage, for example, this allows organizations the ability to prepare quickly and the ability to increase and decrease the volumes of data as needed. This way, businesses could launch projects and respond quickly to market changes with innovative products, without embarking on long, expensive, and complex procurement campaigns.

Supplying on-demand data storage volume has been a breath of fresh air for many businesses, which these days are struggling to meet the needs of the organization and assist in its survival journey — they certainly cannot afford the complex implementation of expensive storage systems or huge financial expenses on cloud storage.

Reducing the Physical Accessibility of Manpower to the Data Center: The COVID-19 crisis has raised the importance of the ability to perform routine or special maintenance in the data center in as proportionate and limited a manner as possible. In the field of storage, it is essential to minimize the number of times a data center is required to be physically accessed and perform repair operations. High redundancy of hardware, at the level of n + 2, makes it possible to deal with any malfunction, and not in an immediate emergency format. That is, it makes it possible to collect a number of faults, postpone treatment, and deal with them when possible so that the business does not go into a dramatic emergency. Peace of mind has no competition in these difficult times.

Resilience must now allow businesses to not only return to functioning as it was before the crisis but to change and reevaluate for unpredictable scenarios. Businesses that have this level of resilience can present a significant competitive advantage, continue to be flexible, and change in the face of drastic changes in the markets in which they operate. It is time for technology providers to allow businesses flexible models of consumption and increase redundancies, which will allow them to bring innovation to the market on the one hand but also deal with physical constraints on the other.

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