The world is in disarray.
The COVID-19 pandemic hit humanity like a tsunami and has spread to all seven continents. For most of last year, a worldwide shutdown was in place to contain and minimise the health risks posed by the virus. Even today, most countries around the world are adopting a policy of localised lockdowns to combat the second or third infection waves.
The pandemic also gutted the social and economic fabric in unprecedented ways. We are looking at an economic recession that might even overshadow the Great Depression of 1920.
To stay afloat, companies and businesses must continue delivering their services.
Business owners must strategise recession-proof business practices to ensure the same. It is time that businesses and organisations adopt new technologies that can help deliver better services at lower costs.
Cloud technology is one such technology that can be utilised to manage tasks with greater efficiency and reduced costs. Cloud solutions can help businesses perform a variety of functions, enabling their digital transformation.
Cloud during the COVID-19 pandemic
The onset of the pandemic forced many companies to scamper around for a reliable cloud provider to enable remote working. As per industry reports, 26% of the IT buyers in the last year opted for managed cloud services to build a resistance layer to deal with these sudden changes.
COVID-19 induced various behaviour changes in terms of operational decisions and roadmaps. This was visible in the changing requirements from businesses:
Immediate shift to remote work and operations
The lockdown made employees stay at home to prevent the spread of the infection. This forced businesses to quickly shift to remote working solutions to maintain continuity. People had to now figure out how to work from the confines of their homes.
Increased security in digital access
The shifting of business operations to remote working solutions exposed the entire infrastructure to new threats. As weak points were exposed to both internal and external threats, a security update was needed to secure against breaches.
The rapidly shifting market conditions forced businesses to change at the same rate. That’s why flexibility in cloud solutions was another requirement sought by most business owners.
The economic slowdown brought upon by the pandemic tightened the budgets of all businesses. Thus, the cost-efficiency of operations became a major point of concern for all owners.
There has been greater use of cloud technology amongst European businesses, with 4 in 10 companies deciding to increase their use of MCS. The same growth has been observed in the businesses of major cloud technology providers, most notably being Amazon Web Services (AWS), Google Cloud, and Microsoft Azure. As per Microsoft, there was a 775% increase in the business usage of ‘Teams’.
And this trend is expected to continue.
As we move forward, MCS providers are going to expand their portfolio to include cloud-based services like next-gen security, data platforms, and cognitive technologies. Currently, cloud solutions are utilised in a host of different capacities, some of the more popular ones being:
Remote WFH models
The Work from Home model became a standard operating procedure for all businesses during the COVID-19 era. Collaboration tools built on cloud technologies were quickly implemented to reduce the challenges posed by working from home.
Many cloud telephony tools helped businesses whether the COVID-19 storm:
Video conferencing –
Customised video conferencing tools have become very useful in the lockdown. They allow video meetings between employees, irrespective of location. The ability to conduct their work from home also helps save a lot of extra cost on maintenance.
Collaborative tools –
Collaboration tools enable seamless communication and execution of team tasks. Features such as instant messaging, white-boarding, and task management can also be accessed.
RPA (Robotic Process Automation) –
Enterprises can employ RPA to automate various business processes through API. The automation of manual business processes essentially shifts the business from paper-based to digital.
Virtual Hiring –
Lockdown disrupted the HR pipelines for onboarding and hiring as well. It was not possible to call candidates to the office for interviews owing to social distancing norms. In this scenario, virtual screening and video interviews enabled engagement with candidates and new hires.
Customer support cloud-based centres
The social distancing norms made the physical setup of call centres a logistical nightmare. All this while customer inquiries increased drastically.
An omnichannel cloud-based support centre became an important solution with better and cheaper service.
With an omnichannel solution, customer support can be enabled through multiple channels. Furthermore, businesses can route inquiries to the best-suited agents, allowing them to save time and money. Chatbots and IVRs can also be integrated to provide more personalised customer support.
Allowing customers to interact with your support agents through multiple channels would unlock several benefits. Digital knowledge banks can serve as helpful FAQs to direct customers towards the basic processes on the website or application.
Cloud computing refers to the ability to store, process, and analyse data on remote or cloud servers. All of the data can be accessed through an Internet-connected device, anywhere in the world. This was the perfect solution to the issue the lockdown posed on the maintenance of several physical databases.
The shift to cloud-enabled businesses to reduce CAPEX, allowing them to divert funds to more pressing departments. Additional features like tracking also enable businesses to better measure the progress of their employees. Not only does this help the team stay on track, but also helps them develop and track KPIs.
The current slowdown has tightened the wallets of all businesses. However, this should not result in a drop in service quality. Every crisis presents an opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented businesses the opportunity to quickly transition to the cloud and reap its benefits.
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