The art of any business is that of connecting efficiently and reliably to customers and staff, and at this point the issue for the channel is ensuring that organisations benefit from the advanced connectivity infrastructure that enables this, writes Diego Tedesco, Commercial and Marketing Director at Comms Vision Platinum sponsor Virgin Media Wholesale.
Covid-19 has undoubtedly accelerated digital transformation, forcing businesses and the public sector to rapidly implement remote working and meet online customer demand. McKinsey found that organisations have leapt forward five years digitally in just a matter of weeks, rapidly supporting remote working and meeting customer needs across multiple channels. To sustain and build on this progress over the long-term, investment in infrastructure is needed now.
In the wholesale connectivity market, we are seeing a pressing need for solutions that bring wider coverage, higher speeds, lower latency and improved security. By deepening relationships with channel partners, and supporting their drive to meet customer demand, our industry can play an integral role in powering the economic rebound and preparing Britain for the next wave of digital technologies.
Meeting today’s challenges
Several household names have announced permanent remote working policies, including Facebook, Siemens and Twitter. While these companies are probably going to be exceptions (universal remote working is unlikely to be ever-present), we will definitely see hybrid working become the norm for large enterprise and public sector organisations.
This refers to a mixture of office-based and remote working, with employees connecting with each other across multiple locations. The concept is supported by UK employees – 77 per cent say that this model is the best way forward.
A continued reliance on remote working, even as part of a hybrid model, will involve a massive expansion in data. All of this will need to be managed by corporate and public sector IT systems.
The evidence suggests that this is presenting challenges for end customers. A recent survey found that 69 per cent of IT professionals are finding it challenging to ensure there is enough network bandwidth to avoid service disruption for employees working remotely, with 70 per cent reporting that it is difficult to adapt to the new responsibilities of supporting a remote workforce. Inadequate infrastructure is not just having an impact on remote and hybrid working. It is also affecting some organisations’ ability to serve customers and citizens. Bain has noted that the pandemic has reshaped how customers and businesses interact permanently and is calling for a reconfiguration of the digital journey.
But not every enterprise and public sector body has the infrastructure capable of delivering this experience. These organisations risk being left behind in the race to rebound unless they quickly show a willingness to invest and seek the right technology advice from specialist partners. This climate presents channel partners with unprecedented opportunities to make the case for advanced connectivity infrastructure.
To meet remote working and customer needs, there will be a spike in demand for solutions that can move large volumes of data at speed and scale.
National High Capacity Services, Dark Fibre and advanced Ethernet solutions can improve flexibility, agility, and resilience. These technologies will support end customers in meeting current challenges and will ultimately enable them to press ahead and ensure they thrive in the future.
Seizing tomorrow’s opportunity
The pandemic has heightened the value of technology in the boardroom. Business and public sector leaders are keenly aware of the fundamental importance of technology to success. A survey of business decision makers by techUK found that 71 per cent felt that businesses would become more dependent on technology as a result of Covid-19. This means they are more likely to invest in emerging technologies capable of transforming the world around us – from the provision of goods to built environments – recognising the massive potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), 5G and Artificial Intelligence.
These technologies, and the shifting network architectures for home working, are underpinned by increased connectivity bandwidth requirements. With the pandemic having altered consumer behaviour and operating conditions, these technologies will allow end customers to navigate the new landscape’s complexities and gain an edge on competitors.
To take advantage of these new technologies, large enterprise and public sector organisations will need to put the right connectivity infrastructure in place. This is because of the enormous volumes of data these innovations demand and the need for instant and secure processing. For example, there are growing calls within manufacturing to make the sector 5G-ready, as it will alleviate many of the inefficiencies and wastage that systems reliant on 4G still create. Advanced infrastructure will prove critical in future proofing businesses and public sector organisations up and down the country. This will ensure they are ready to seize on the next wave of emerging technologies and emerge from Covid-19 with greater agility, resilience and flexibility. In providing these solutions, the wholesale connectivity sector has a unique opportunity to play. It can prepare UK plc and the public sector for the technologies of tomorrow, ushering in a new wave of innovation, economic dynamism and prosperity.
Collaboration between wholesalers and partners is central to ensuring that UK business and public sector organisations flourish amid economic and social uncertainty. This can be achieved by going beyond purely transactional approaches. Deeper and long-lasting connections need to be built through open and transparent feedback processes and dedicated account service teams – at every stage of the partner journey. There should be a constant willingness to adapt to partner needs. At Virgin Media Wholesale, we are constantly striving for excellence in our partner journeys and are hugely excited at the opportunity to help end customers realise their potential through advanced connectivity infrastructure.
Comms Vision is the leading annual leadership forum for CEO, MD and CTO delegates making up the major league of the UK reseller community. Places are limited and by invitation: If you would like to join us this year, please register your interest to attend at www.commsvision.com