This article originally appeared in Puget Sound Business Journal’s October print issue.
According to a recent study from research firm IDG, the widespread impact of COVID-19 has more companies thinking about their digital transformation than ever before. The survey indicates that the crisis exposed some vulnerabilities in digital agility even for companies who have more mature transformation efforts underway. As a result, many organizations have begun to rethink their priorities and plan to increase their digital agility to accelerate this transition.
This trend adversely impacts middle-market businesses that need more enterprise-level solutions and connectivity to support a now mostly remote workforce and the technology enabling it. Further, as these businesses consider their future, investing in enterprise-grade technology will help them as they mature and reach the next level of their business journey – making embracing more tech a smart long-term investment.
So how can mid-market companies become digitally agile while staying secure? There are three things they can do today to manage through the COVID-19 crisis and set themselves up for growth and expansion.
Embrace the Ethernet Information Superhighway
Collaboration and communication tools for remote workers are important, however if they do not have a reliable Internet connection, they won’t be able to optimize the use of those tools. If connectivity is inconsistent, teams will not be able to mesh effectively, and employee frustration can grow – impacting productivity and morale.
Organizations that want to foster the most productive work-from-home environments should consider investing in services like Comcast Business at Home, which provides a separate secure internet connection on top of an employee’s residential service. For the employee, they stay on task and get the bandwidth they need to do things like connecting to video calls, uploading files, and accessing cloud-based applications with a secure, high-performance connection. For the business, this investment ensures their company keeps moving even during a global crisis.
Elevate Your Network to an Enterprise-Level
If you are a mid-sized business, chances are your own network’s bandwidth has been drastically impacted by COVID-19, as well. Your IT teams have been working overtime to do things like monitor and manage network functions or support important applications employees depend on at home. It becomes especially trying if you are also an organization with multiple locations on your network that all need to be monitored.
A great way to elevate your network functionality and streamline its management is by embracing technology solutions like Software-Defined Wide Area Networking (SD-WAN). With SD-WAN your organization’s network team can instantly become more agile and can monitor, troubleshoot, and push updates through one single endpoint. The technology also allows for IT organizations to set application, and user driven, policies that help to prioritize home network traffic and add an extra layer of security, both of which are extremely beneficial for a remote workforce environment. These key capabilities of SD-WAN help enable your network and IT teams to quickly monitor, and maintain, multiple-site activity through the COVID-19 crisis.
Long-term, SD-WAN solutions also support business growth. They free up IT resources and funds by optimizing network and technology performance and simplifying operations. For middle-market businesses that means managing capital costs more effectively and laying the groundwork for sustainable growth.
Embrace Managed Services to Get More Efficiency
The proactive management of IT resources helps businesses keep technology operational and up to date, minimizing problems and downtime. However, these resources might not be available to a lean IT department during a global pandemic, or a mid-market organization working with smaller budgets and tech teams.
From network connectivity to security and business continuity tools, resource-strapped IT teams at mid-sized companies can rely on managed services to get cost-effective resources and tools they could otherwise not afford. These services also come with proactive maintenance on an ongoing basis – ensuring that non-technical employees can get the support and help they need.
So, whether its readymade managed services or custom offerings from providers like Comcast Business, they can be a great equalizer for freeing up in-house IT to focus on more strategic initiatives that support the business’ core competencies, while enabling other parts of the business to become more efficient at the same time.
Navigating our current global business environment can be tough, especially if you find your organization does not have the proper resources, but it doesn’t have to be. By finding cost-effective tools and useful services, a mid-market organization can make it through and find themselves set up for future growth on the other side, and Comcast Business is available to help. To learn more about the services the company offers that foster middle-market growth, visit ComcastBusiness.com/Ethernet.