By Bethany Allee, Executive Vice President of Marketing, Cybera
Chances are, you’ve already seen dozens of articles on how COVID-19 is impacting all types of industries. Well, this is another one. Sort of. But in this case, I want to focus on C-stores, QSRs, and retailers in particular—highly distributed businesses with multiple remote sites.
If that matches your business profile, I’m guessing you already have a pretty good sense of the pandemic’s immediate economic impact on your business. But what about tomorrow? Unfortunately, the uncertainty we all face can make predicting anything beyond today feel like little more than a wild guess.
However, that’s precisely why you need to think about the future now. We’re witnessing an unprecedented wave of new requirements—such as social distancing, employees working remotely, and already-tight budgets shrinking even further. Consider these challenges to be the tip of the iceberg, because we’re likely to see another wave of new business requirements in the short term.
Do You Have the Right Networking Platform for Success?
Before you try to predict your future requirements, it makes sense to assess how well you’ve handled the current ones…starting with your networking platform. For instance, has the pandemic amplified any glaring weaknesses in your current platform?
If so, that might signal a need to reconsider your approach to connecting your sites and keeping information secure. The good news is that we already know a modern networking platform built for digital transformation is a key driver of strategic business success. The only difference is that now you need to be even smarter and more selective in the platform you choose and the vendors you work with.
So, what should you be doing now to prepare for the future? Start with these three steps to help your business thrive in the pandemic era and beyond.
1. Embrace Hyper-Adaptive Business Concepts
A hyper-adaptive business is designed to operate with greater agility and competitive advantages, even in the midst of an extremely disruptive economic environment (such as during a global pandemic).
Your business must be able to adapt quickly to what consumers need or what the market dictates. That’s why digital transformation is so critical. Introducing principles of automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence can be game-changers for distributed enterprises—and the right networking platform provides the agility to capitalize on these forward-thinking technologies.
You can future-proof your business with:
- Flexible platforms that easily evolve with your business needs
- Increasingly secure and agile networks that simplify connectivity without sacrificing performance
- Scalable business apps and services that optimize your engagement with customers and partners alike
2. Simplify Your Operations for Greater Efficiency
Imploring you to “simplify your operations” isn’t exactly revelatory advice. But when the rest of the world feels overly chaotic, it’s the right time to simplify. This is especially the case for your network environment. Traditional ways of connecting disparate systems and physical locations have been far too complex—which is why so many networks are prime candidates for simplification.
If you anticipate your already-tight budgets staying flat or being reduced, that’s even more reason to keep things simple by:
- Investing in preconfigured, tightly integrated solutions so you can avoid having to juggle multiple vendors and services
- Deploying low-maintenance, turnkey platforms that don’t require an army of skilled IT staff to manage them
- Implementing managed network services that offer a complete range of security and compliance capabilities
3. Double Down on the Advantages of the Cloud
The very attributes of distributed enterprises can create unique logistical challenges, but they can also offer impressive business advantages with the right networking platform. With so many workers (and workloads) migrating to remote locations, the cloud has become an increasingly essential business tool—and that trend will only continue in the pandemic era.
Regardless of where commerce actually takes place these days, the cloud helps you take a low-touch approach to security, compliance, and remote site management. This is especially critical during times where we’re all experiencing fewer onsite and face-to-face interactions.
With an efficient, agile networking platform that leverages cloud-based services, you can:
- Securely implement zero-touch installation, configuration, and management for remote locations
- Quickly deploy a wide range of managed business services across your enterprise
- Accelerate the rollout of new customer-engaging apps and services
How Prepared Are You for the Unknown?
With the economic impact of the pandemic still top of mind, it’s a good bet that the accelerating pace of change will become the norm moving forward. In other words, expect the unexpected and prepare for the unknown. Sounds easy, right?
No, I don’t expect “easy” to be the adjective any of use anytime soon. But if you embrace a simplified, flexible, and cloud-based networking platform that gives you maximum choice for both your current and future business requirements, your odds of success should go way up.
About the author: As Executive Vice President of Marketing at Cybera, Bethany Allee is an accomplished business leader of global and regional marketing organizations. In addition to her deep passion for the arts, she is committed to developing female leaders and serving as the Treasurer for Dress for Success Austin. Allee holds a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies and resides in Austin, TX.