We have just marked the first anniversary since the UK went into what was thought might be a three-week lockdown. Over the past 52 weeks, organisations experienced a maelstrom of challenges not only from the impact of the pandemic but also from Brexit.
Thankfully, thoughts are now turning towards how we can relaunch our businesses to suit a post-pandemic life. As recovery roadmaps are activated, organisations must focus on how they adapt to suit the “new world”, with everything from office needs to company culture up for discussion.
A lot has changed over the last year and we must accept most of it as permanent. While we all had to flip to a remote working world overnight last March, organisations and their IT teams now have the luxury of time to carefully consider what processes and practices will suit what their business has become.
But what should organisations specifically consider?
Review your IT needs
The move to remote working prompted many organisations to consider what they needed from their IT infrastructure. This shift saw many businesses increase their footprint in cloud-based architectures to support this move.
However, 12 months on, there may be other aspects of the business that could benefit from the cloud. This time, we can be more strategic in the tech we use as we shift into new ways of working.
As part of this, organisations must consider what this means exactly as stay-at-home measures ease. As plans are developed relating to re-entry to the office, the IT team must be continuously consulted to ensure that the technical infrastructure of the business is fit to cope with the changes – particularly if staff choose to work in a hybrid fashion.
In parallel, the team needs to be looking at the existing setup of systems to make sure it suits where the business is right now and is working efficiently.
Extend your talent pool
As these tech reviews take place, it’s natural that attention will also turn to the team. One of the positive outcomes to emerge from the pandemic has been that any concerns surrounding remote working have been allayed.
Not only is this likely to suit many employees, it has also opened up the talent pool – it no longer matters if you live in the Hebrides and want to join a company in Helensburgh. Technology has broken down geographical barriers and increased an organisation’s access to new talent.
This is not only limited to employees, as the same logic can be applied to prospective customers. We’ve seen many companies that were previously “bricks and mortar” businesses take their offering online and extend their customer base. Whether you offer cupcakes or the cloud, now is the time to look at how technology can work to your advantage.
After looking at these two areas, organisations must look introspectively at any gaps that exist. Unfortunately, the pandemic has considerably broadened the IT skills gap. Recent research from the Learning and Work Institute found that less than half of UK employers believe new entrants to the workforce have the necessary advanced digital skillset.
While this is an industry-wide issue that will take some time to resolve, businesses must consider how they can upskill existing teams to fill the gaps and strengthen expertise.
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Many individuals have taken advantage of lockdown to fine-tune their competencies – something that many of our team have done as they became AWS certified engineers – but equally, it’s useful to consider where limitations lie and bring in external resources where needed.
While plans have no doubt been ripped up and rewritten many times this year for a lot of businesses, we have reached a momentous milestone where light is appearing at the end of the tunnel.
Hopefully, this means the next plan you make will take you forward for many months to come. If you want to make a difference in your business, now is the time to reflect, review and revise plans to be ready for the new world.