In a survey of business leaders by BT Wholesale and Cisco, respondents ranked agility, flexibility and customer experience as critical to future business success.
That’s easy to understand. Flexibility was key during the early weeks of the pandemic when many businesses had to transition to remote working almost overnight. Now, businesses must ensure ongoing flexibility by allowing staff to work in a more hybrid fashion.
So, what does hybrid working actually mean? Well, as we’ve seen, it’s the ability to allow staff to work effectively from anywhere. It’s also about being flexible and able to adapt quickly to changing customer expectations, whether that means beefing up e-commerce capacity or adopting an omnichannel approach to customer service.
And when opportunities arise, flexible businesses can exploit them by scaling quickly and adding new seats and services as soon as they’re needed.
Digital transformation is about flexibility
This all points to the fact that flexibility is a product of digitalisation. When your customers need to equip remote workers with the tools they need to do their jobs productively, they adopt cloud-based communications and collaboration services. When customers can’t reach an organisation physically, they turn to digital commerce and contact centres.
Digital businesses are resilient businesses because flexibility allows them to bend with the wind. In the BT Wholesale/Cisco survey, 82% of respondents agreed that digital transformation made businesses less vulnerable to the economic impacts of the pandemic.
Flexible businesses also tend to adopt new technological solutions sooner. That will be essential in the next months and years as the effects of the pandemic force organisations to become leaner, more nimble, and the PSTN switch off fast approaches.
In 2025, the PSTN switch off will end the era of traditional landline telephony. The sooner businesses switch to all-IP alternatives, the sooner they will benefit from more flexible, feature-rich communications.
If flexible businesses have an advantage over more rigid counterparts, how do you become one? In part flexibility is a mindset. Your organisation has to be primed to embrace change, and see it as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
But it’s also part of a wider digital strategy. Adopting modern internet-based communications and scalable Software as a Service (SaaS) applications will help businesses become more flexible, grow faster and cut costs.
Sitting behind all of it is rock-solid connectivity. A digital transformation plan falls apart if your organisation doesn’t have the connectivity to support it. With more hybrid workers connecting to a growing portfolio of cloud-based services and applications, we’re all doing more online. In fact, in the BT Wholesale/Cisco survey, more than two-thirds of respondents had seen an increased demand for network bandwidth.
The switch to all-IP communications, in the run up to 2025, will create even more pressure on internet capacity. Getting fast and reliable connectivity that matches your digital ambitions is the first step to becoming a truly flexible organisation.
Securing your future
If connectivity is the first step to flexibility, security is the second. We know that decentralised workforces create cyber-security concerns. Connecting to corporate networks via domestic internet accounts can be risky. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies can reduce equipment costs for businesses but also open new backdoors to company data.
According to research by Ovum, many SMEs, in particular, overestimate the online protection they already have and rely on basic, consumer-level virus protection and firewalls. Security concerns have only been heightened by the shift to remote and hybrid working. To put it into perspective, Cisco’s threat detection team identifies and blocks 20 billion cyber threats every single day.
Flexible businesses are secure businesses because security gives them the confidence to experiment with new technologies and ways of working. The most flexible organisations also have data backup and disaster recovery processes in place. By contrast, security concerns hold flexibility back, by creating anxieties that undermine innovation.
We can help you create a flexible future
We can help you put the foundations for a flexible future in place. We offer a wide range of connectivity options, including future-proof Full-fibre (FTTP) broadband and Ethernet. Full-fibre lets your customers adopt multiple cloud services without worrying about bandwidth, and experiment with potentially revolutionary new technologies like automation and AI. Full-fibre also offers a large step up in reliability from previous broadband services.
It’s also good to know that our connectivity services are built on a network that boasts 99.999% availability, which means dropouts and outages are exceptionally rare. They are also protected by a huge network of specialist engineers and cybersecurity experts.
As we approach the PSTN switch off, we can also provide a range of powerful all-IP and hosted communications services, letting you and your customers work productively and flexibly from anywhere. Our unified communications solutions integrate voice, video, SMS, chat and collaboration tools into one powerful package that can be accessed from work or home. Cloud-based solutions also let you add users at will.
Everything points to the fact that flexibility through hybrid working really is the future of business. Remote working isn’t going away, and the pandemic has changed customer behaviour for good. We don’t really know what the future holds, so we need to be ready to adapt. Meaning solid, reliable and secure connectivity is the first step to true flexibility. So, get in touch if you want to embrace your flexible future.