As of press time today, March 24th, 2020 AD, we are at the precipice of a sea change defined as a profound or notable transformation. America has previously been challenged with great wars, economic meltdowns, attacks from outside and civil war from inside. As a people, we are resilient. We follow good leadership and advice, we lead others and we determine how best to move forward. This challenge may be different as it is global, but the reaction will likely be the same because our resolution is written in our DNA.
A challenge of this scale will likely have a pre-COVID and post-COVID epoch in the minds of not just Americans but worldwide. What does a post-COVID world look like when evaluating the workforce, the digital infrastructure and the way we conduct business. As a foundation, let us understand that it was really not long ago that we spoke of “Disaster Recovery” as a way to mitigate against local or regional disasters that impact business. Disaster Recovery also meant having the ability to transition to a secondary site, having backup IT infrastructure in place and transferring business to these backup sites upon demand.
Contrast this to what we have just gone through, it is entirely different. The office workers of today (those not in direct services, food, hospitality, manufacturing or healthcare) have been informed and instructed to work from home. For some business, this has caught them completely off-guard, totally unaware of even how to accomplish this. The exodus that has happened in the first three weeks of March from the office to the home, has been unprecedented. For businesses who have counted on internal IT infrastructure, on-premises hardware and legacy manners of accessing corporate infrastructure this has been particularly difficult. For them, this has meant shutting down the productivity to a degree that has never happened in business to this scale.
Other businesses who have embraced cloud technology are steps forward from legacy models but most business never planned for the kind of exodus to quarantine in place like we have today. Therefore, although they have the infrastructure in place they have not fully taken advantage of what the tools offer. Without the challenge of a pandemic, nobody tested the environment to ensure that business will continue at the same pace as before.
Now we enter the post-COVID World. What does the future hold for business? As we envision a Post-COVID World, I believe the vision and strategy we have been putting into place (cloud technologies and solutions) are the mechanisms for business to have a true business continuity. This makes the businesses able to react by working remotely through cloud technologies upon necessity.
Looking at the small to midsize businesses that make up a large share of the American Economy, I believe we have the unprecedented need to take what we have learned from this experience and apply it to our businesses. For the good of our businesses, employees and the economy as a whole this will require an “All of Business” approach (borrowing from our government’s response) to accomplish but it is an imperative that has more priority than ever.
We often hear our leaders say “we will emerge from this stronger”. In my experience, I am optimistic that this statement is truer than ever. Let us stay strong, stay healthy and keep of good cheer through this.
As we go through this, please do not hesitate to call me even if it is just to catch up and talk. I know everyone on this list personally, so this is personal. My wish for you is to be well, stay positive and together we will get through this! If there is anything I can do to support you through this crisis, please let me know.