The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted businesses and economies all over the world. The need to accelerate digital transformation has become crucial for organisations trying to adapt to the new normal. Many have turned to technologies such as the cloud, web conferencing solutions, online banking and AI to overcome challenges during this time, however, success hinges on orgnisations having the right tools and strategies in place.
In view of the current business environment, VMware has focused its efforts on strengthening Asia’s enterprise mobility ecosystem. This is showcased by the company’s recent enhancements to its technology portfolio to enable businesses to Connect, Accelerate, Scale and Protect as they cope with the new normal.
Drawing from its own experience in devising the right strategies and using technology to ensure the resiliency of operations, Devan Parinpanayagam, Malaysia Country Manager for VMware, explained that VMware was well prepared with a business continuity plan for its 31,000 employees around the globe. Apart from implementing proactive measures across VMware offices, enacting travel restrictions and moving physical events online, VMware also encouraged all employees around the world to work from home to minimise the spread of infection.
“Coronavirus caught the world by surprise. Whether it was government-mandated forced closures or preemptive remote work initiatives, enterprises had to react quickly during this extraordinary period. We’ve had a unique opportunity to help customers around the world ensure business continuity as they transition to an entirely new way of working”, he commented.
Nevertheless, there is a valuable lesson to be learned by all organisations amidst everything that has happened this year. According to Devan, “This has been a reminder that a plan, however imperfect, is better than not having a plan. The right time to plan is when there is no crisis”.
Hardening Your Business for the Journey Ahead
Post-COVID-19 is going to be all about business continuity. Devan explained that organisations need to focus on three stages to ensure they meet business continuity objectives.
The first stage is to Respond. This means having the necessary business continuity measures for critical services, operations and personnel. For many organisations, addressing the most foundational challenges remains the key priority during a period of crisis. Manual IT operations, poorly documented business continuity processes, a rigid or outdated infrastructure, challenges scaling infrastructure and operations to reflect market conditions and a workforce tethered to physical workspaces – all these create points of risk for the majority of businesses.
As employees, applications and systems move to remote access models, business services will become not only more complex, but also more vulnerable. As such, securing key applications becomes even more critical and according to Devan, the focus should be about:
Keeping people working and productive.
Sustaining business operations.
Maintaining reliability and performance for existing applications.
Delivering on current customer commitments.
Regaining stability operationally and financially.
The next stage is to Adapt. Adaptability can be achieved by evolving systems, people and processes to a new reality. When this is done, the priorities for organisations can quickly transition to investments that return a business to growth, strengthen business operations and increase the viability of the organisation even in the face of economic uncertainty.
Every investment will be evaluated on business impact, even as budgets and spending contracts remain uncertain. This is a period of changing systems, changing business models, changing processes and changing team structures. Technology is once again a catalyst and accelerant to achieving ambitious goals that create competitive differentiation.
Stage three is when organisations can start to Accelerate towards a “digital-first” model for business and IT, build sustained competitive advantage and harden the business against future crises. Organisations equipped to adapt and evolve in the current environment are in a position to make radical investments that will drive them forward with a focus on growth and innovation. Unburdened by rigid systems, processes and cultures, these businesses are free to make bold decisions that will help them thrive.
“Businesses that have reached this point have navigated some of the most challenging and uncertain scenarios imaginable. From making it work to finding new ways to work. The path ahead is about forging better ways of doing business. Leading-edge innovations can help to define the future business state, reshape long-term customer engagement models, enhance the productivity and effectiveness of employees, and even define marketplaces and industries”, Devan explained.
The Future of Work is Nigh
It is uncertain when things will get better, but one thing is for certain, the pandemic has revolutionised the way we work. With a global recession looking increasingly likely, Devan believes skills and training will be paramount for organisations. By making this core to the recovery, organisations and employees will be in a stronger position to respond to the business imperatives of the future.
“The crisis inspires us to rethink the very nature of work itself. Before the pandemic, working from home was a luxury reserved primarily for knowledge workers. That reality is now changing. We will look back on 2020 as a watershed moment when distributed work went mainstream for millions globally. The upside here is significant. There is now improved quality of life for workers, a chance for businesses and employees to reduce their carbon footprint as well as an opportunity to expand access to a more diverse workforce”, he said.
It is indeed a stressful time for many. However, Devan believes that against this backdrop, our collective response to the pandemic demonstrates that we are smart, compassionate and resourceful. For VMware, the company is committed to doing its best to support its community – employees, customers and partners – and their needs in the weeks and months ahead.
“I am heartened by the many stories, big and small, of how people are doing everything in their power to address urgent needs and find solutions that work. Our instinct is to reach out across boundaries to help those most in need. These qualities will help us push through this incredibly challenging chapter. And they are the values that will propel us forward when we emerge on the other side of this crisis”, he concluded.