As a result of the shift to remote and home-based working, businesses are dealing with the biggest change to their operations since the industrial revolution.
COVID-19 presents several challenges for businesses. By far the biggest challenge has been ensuring employees can access tools, collaborate with teams and receive or exchange information from anywhere, on any device as they adapt to long-term remote working.
This includes how we increase collaboration among remote teams, create the kind of connections remote teams need to be able to work effectively from anywhere, and how we ensure this new way of working continues to evolve into an efficient business model.
Today, it’s about developing a remote working solution that promotes sustainable, long-term remote working for a bigger proportion of the workforce.
Networks today are handling much higher levels of capacity than they ever have.
In some countries, data traffic increased by as much as 50% as networks tried to manage new usage patterns, according to a survey of our customers.
Whether it’s hospitals adapting to remote consultations for patients unable to attend appointments in person, multinational corporations holding global conferences over video, or manufacturers using data and connected devices to proactively monitor and improve supply chains.
The need for fast, flexible and agile connectivity has never been more important — and there are tools available to help. One of which is SD-WAN.
An SD-WAN solution provides intelligence to help improve and manage these new network requirements and ensure information can be easily exchanged and moved between teams or departments reliably.
By building SD-WAN over an existing network, businesses can easily manage the journey of data across devices – and across connections.
Global water management, waste management and energy services company Veolia has over 300 locations across the UK and Ireland. Each site uses a variety of web applications with fluctuating bandwidth demand.
In 2020, Veolia moved much of their workforce to home working, meaning they needed to grow their digital capabilities to cope with more flexible forms of working so employees have access to their applications wherever they are.
It also helped them to improve their — and their customers’ — efficiency, as well as their ability to reduce carbon emissions as they work towards their long-term sustainability goals and a more sustainable business model.
Speaking about their work with Vodafone Business, Stuart Stock, Chief Information Officer at Veolia said:
“Now we have recognised that employee productivity needs are evolving, we need to essentially change how IT delivers software and provisions hardware to support the ability to easily work from the home, the office and anywhere in between.”
“With SD-WAN, we will be able to use the bandwidth more securely and efficiently whilst ensuring high levels of performance for those important applications, especially during peak service times.”
“It will also set the foundation for future technologies such as 5G and AI.”
Ultimately, SD-WAN will be increasingly integrated with cloud and WAN technologies, helping to create truly autonomous networks over the next five years.
It’s not just about developing networks that work for remote workers.
Managers are dealing with a need to create ‘smart workplaces’ that will be much more data-driven and reliant on new technologies.
This could be using worker insights and data to understand office planning for a safer environment.
For example, using insights to identify areas where employees gather in larger numbers or understand how they move around the workplace.
These tools will require more capacity to maintain high levels of network performance.
When planning the network and connections for the future, it’s important to remember the role that physical workspaces will have.
We’ve all shown that we’re adaptable to new ways of working in the short-term.
The question we’re asking now is whether the changes we’ve made in the last year or so will be sustainable, and beneficial for businesses and employees in the long-term.
As well as what role technology will play in speeding up more digitally focused and ‘connected’ ways of working.
So far, the signs seem to be that businesses have fundamentally changed how they work.
More businesses will be using a hybrid model of employees both working remotely and working from the office. For others, remote working will be the only option in the future.
To meet the needs of changing times, businesses need to invest in dynamic networks that meet more varied, challenging requirements when it comes to data capacity and management.
While we may no longer be as connected through our physical locations, it is vital to future success that employees and customers stay connected through whatever means businesses have available.
And that starts with creating the networks for the future.
Ready to find out more? Download our “How to build a tech stack for the healthy and productive workplace” guide to see how you can get your people back to work safely.
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Gartner names Vodafone as a Leader in its 2020 Magic Quadrant for Network Services, Global.