Is COVID-19 the global wake-up call the world needed to take e-business Seriously?
COVID-19 The world has been surprised by the impact of a virus on the global economy.
Very quickly manufacturing, transportation and the lives of billions of people were disrupted. We saw retailers and restaurants furlough staff, creating waves of requests for financial assistance. And we saw millions of normally office-based staff working from sequestered homes. Millions of students and teachers went to remote learning/teaching models. And millions of health workers, sanitation workers and first responders had to perform longer hours in higher risk environments. We learnt what services are actually essential. Even entertainment providers closed their doors including stadiums, theaters and bars.
When the peak of infections is reported and we discover the full extent of the pressure on the infrastructure, we will all start to manage the slow ramp back to normal.
But this will be a new level of normal, because now we know what has to be done to avoid this next time (and there will be a next time).
There are several lessons that the world has learnt, chief amongst these are:
- Every business must be able to deliver their services purely digitally when needed.
- Risk needs pre-investment.
We all learned that it’s not enough to have a “vanity” e-business project, such as a website that shows some of a business’s products and isn’t easy to place an order. Companies that have become used to their e-business representing a small fraction of their entire business, have struggled when 100% of their business has been on-line. There will be times when all business must be able to be enacted on-line. And at these times peak loads may be extreme.
Some very capable businesses have found that that ability to schedule deliveries weeks ahead of time has been overloaded with requests, and they needed a process to allow customers to place orders even when a delivery window cannot yet be confirmed. This required quickly modifying processes and developing new applications and modifying existing applications to manage the requirement. And to be able to manage these changes very quickly.
Some very well-established applications that have been in use for decades needed to be modified to deal with a much larger number of requests from a different type of user. This put incredible strain on existing resources, and made it clear that even legacy code needs agility.
Privacy and Security protocols have had to be modified to allow certain information to be used quickly without the normal level of compliance. Health and safety regulations have been modified to allow people to be cared for in ways that would seem far too risky at other times.
There is now a clearer justification to invest more in the IT side of each business. Application availability, application performance and the overall user experience must be considered differently when the applications in question become the only way to do business.
We can expect to see more epidemics, and pandemics in the future, as well as other kinds of events, and customers will expect business to have improved from the experience of covid-19.
When this pandemic ramps-down, and furloughed worker’s return to work, we will be able to asses to true impact. It will be high, but it will not be the worst it could have been. Many things worked very well. The telecoms infrastructure and the resilience of modern IT platforms globally may well be one of the unsung heroes of this time. But we will see the gaps in strategy that must be filled.
Security and the ability to rapidly manage change will be critical factors to invest in.
- What can your business do to improve its ability to deliver change quickly?
- How will you manage the peak load requirements next time?
- What can you do to maximize security, even when normally office-based workers are remote?
How will you respond to changing user requirements next time?
These are the questions your customers, executives and board of directors will be asking. How will you respond?
There is a saying that “warriors become battle hardened”. I think covid-19 may well be the equivalent for business and the economy. We’re all learning lessons that will allow the economy to be more resilient in the future and able to handle rapid change.
Nastel has created a feed with some new information on COVID-19! Click here.