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How network flexibility is important for successful remote working

12 Feb 2021

Is flexibility the most important network attribute you need for successful remote working?

According to research by Gartner, the vast majority of employers (82%) are going to allow employees to continue working remotely in the future.

But whether this means working from home or in the field, the changes of 2020 will have long-lasting implications.

As businesses change how they run to meet the needs of their employees and customers, their networks, communications infrastructure and remote working solutions need to adapt to become more flexible to new ways of working and demands.

This isn’t simply a case of shifting from a static network to a mobile one. It’s about creating an environment where bandwidth and capacity are easily increased and decreased to match demands at a given time. An environment where new users are seamlessly added and infrastructure expanded as the company grows.

It’s also one where employees have access to high-speed networks and tools that can support them, as well as real-time data and remote monitoring that allows them to improve the way they work.

Network changes are already happening

Valmet, a leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries, has already taken the first steps.

To meet the demands of its business’ future growth plans and improve customer experiences, it’s created one of the most automated network solutions in the world.

With 150 site locations on five continents, we’ve worked together, alongside Finnish digital telecoms provider Elisa, to shift the network from a centric, ‘static’ environment, to a cloud platform to improve the flexibility and performance of a widespread network.

Using SD-WAN, Valmet is now able to manage a global network and make changes according to the business needs at a particular time. This means it has a network that can expand and adapt as the company grows on a global scale.

That’s not all. Employees across the globe now have easy, reliable access to all the tools and networks they need to be able to do their jobs from anywhere — without the tedious, resource-intensive management of ‘traditional’ networks.

Keeping pace with change

Though the pandemic has prompted businesses to adapt at short notice, businesses across the globe deal with changes and new challenges all the time.

For the media and communications industry, change has been constant for the last decade, especially with many accelerating their digital transformation plans.

Take Diversified Communications UK, for example. As the go-to organisation for bus and coach industry news, opinion, innovation, comment and analysis, it is expected to deliver information quickly in an accessible way.

However, when their needs became greater (such as sending and receiving larger files) it was time for a change.

Working together, we moved the company’s systems to the cloud and created a far more flexible and robust network. This made transferring data much easier and improved the overall customer experience.

As part of the process, all existing landline numbers and mobile numbers were ported to our One Net Business offering. Employees received brand-new desk phones and smartphones, instantly connecting them with their colleagues. They also built-in collaboration tools like Microsoft 365, so employees had reliable access to all the tools they needed.

As a result, Diversified Communications UK now has a connected workforce across their offices, and can collaborate effectively, helping drive down costs and achieve better results. Also, employees can continue working and publishing media from anywhere.

A communications network for true remote working

Despite what many might think, remote working isn’t new. For some businesses and their workers, it’s in their DNA.

Take taxi services, for example, having flexibility built into their network isn’t just a solution to a short-term problem, it’s critical to their success.

With more than 500 taxis operating around Dublin, VIP Taxis need its drivers to communicate with dispatchers at all times. It is the difference between winning and losing customers.

The business started to experience some problems with the communication network when two-way radios started to lose connections due to bandwidth challenges and drivers dispersed over wider areas, meaning drivers didn’t know where to go to pick people up.

By moving to a more mobile, cloud-based system, with drivers able to receive information directly through an app, VIP Taxis were able to improve customers’ route selection based on real-time traffic information.

This data could be seamlessly sent over the network to drivers, allowing them to plan or alter routes to the best or quickest available based on data.

It didn’t just mean a better customer experience either. By moving away from static networks, VIP Taxis managed to improve their network and service in a more cost-efficient way — meaning more money for investment in better technology.

Building communication networks for the future

However businesses view the future of their working model, whether they go fully remote, office-based or hybrid, the increasing need for better communication and collaboration, as well as the reliance on data to be sent between teams, means rethinking network capacity and flexibility.

We’re already seeing the benefits; not just by replicating the “office model” of network flexibility, but also by taking time to think and design communication networks with remote working in mind.

This includes adding unified communications and collaboration solutions for specific remote areas or making it easier for devices to communicate over tremendous distances to share information.

Tomorrow’s communication network will meet greater demands and challenges, all of which need flexibility and adaptability as standard. Is yours ready?

To take the next steps and prepare for the future, download our guide to aligning tools, processes and culture for healthier remote working.

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