The impacts of the pandemic on businesses and their staff are continuing to be felt in every industry across the globe. Almost overnight, we were required to work from home which for many, was a completely new way of working.
For a number of our customers, we saw a whole host of new challenges occur as a result of this. Luckily, modern technology has been there to guide organisations throughout the hardest parts of the pandemic, and continues to help them thrive in this ‘new norm’.
As the country went into lockdown in March, we discussed with a number of our customers their Covid-19 anxieties and problems. As an IT provider of theirs for a number of years, we had the knowledge to be able to recommend and then implement the best technologies for helping them overcome these problems and allow them to continue working as normal.
Below we have gone through four unique customer stories which address different problems faced during the pandemic so far – and how we used technology to solve them.
A nationwide kitchen designer, retailer and manufacturer who are a customer of ours came to us with worries over their sales process. Their USP had always relied on face-to-face communication with clients and being able to provide that personal touch. As everyone was having to stay at home apart from essential outings and their showrooms were having to close for the foreseeable future, they questioned how they were going to be able to reach even close to their normal turnover as a result.
With over roughly 16 years of experience in providing IT solutions and services to businesses, we had just the answer. We suggested Microsoft Teams and swiftly implemented it within days of the first lockdown occurring.
Microsoft Teams is a platform for team collaboration and communication. From simple instant messaging to voice and video calls, as well as the ability to access files, simultaneously work on them and view feedback as you go, users can maintain productivity from anywhere. It is this ability to access it from anywhere on any device which makes it so popular. Moreover, with security and compliance built-in from the start, senior management can rest assured that all business data within the platform is protected no matter where employees are located.
A key feature of Teams which particularly helped our customer with their concerns was video conferencing. This is because they were able to ensure face-to-face communication with clients remains which, therefore, meant they could maintain their USP. The company predicted that they would hit no more than 20% of their normal revenue turnover in the peak of lockdown in May. However, thanks to Microsoft Teams and the ability to video conference, they hit 65% of normal turnover. Many of the sales personnel even commented amazed they were at how seamless the transition from the showroom to their living room was.
Throughout subsequent lockdowns of the pandemic, we found many business owners to be worried about the security of their closed premises. Indeed, this was the case a customer of ours in the retail industry whose branches were closed for an extended amount of time. Branches of theirs located in built-up areas where crime rates are high were of particular concern to them. Unfortunately, the cost of traditional CCTV, as well as inflexibility of it, had always meant it was out of reach to them.
After discussing this issue with them, we proposed a new prospect to them – Cloud CCTV. Put simply, it is standard CCTV augmented with Cloud technology. As is the case traditionally, you would still use a network of cameras at your site, you still have a specific location where you store your video surveillance, you can still use it to monitor footfall and activity, and finally, you can still use it to help keep your branches protected. However, rather than requiring a costly on-site DVR, footage is instead stored securely in a Cloud portal that you can access on your PC via the internet or smartphone via the app.
As the country went into lockdown in March, we worked hard with this customer to install a number of cloud-based CCTV cameras across their branches. Therefore, they could view them all remotely from their smartphone, and get alerts should someone break-in. What’s more – all of this was for a fraction of a price of traditional CCTV.
In the years leading up to the pandemic, we had serval customers already using Cloud CCTV who have benefitted first-hand from having it implemented. For instance, one customer who experienced the unfortunate event of a burglary was able to use the HD footage to help prosecute the criminal who broke into their premises.
Another of our customers were struggling to think of a solution to how their employees were going to be able to work from home when their business model had always been with them in the office. They were also worried about how staff would adapt and if it would impact their productivity, which, could in turn, negatively impact the business.
For this customer, we initially implemented the free trial version of Microsoft 365. This meant their staff would have full access to all the documents and files they have in the office, but when working remotely. In addition to this, they had access to additional productivity tools that allow real-time collaboration from anywhere. The implementation of Microsoft 365 was so successful that recently the director questioned whether they even needed an office at all. Many staff remained working from home to keep them safe as productivity levels were as high as when in the office. They may potentially keep staff working remotely long past the pandemic.
For many years, Microsoft 365 has been the go-to option for those looking to be as productive as possible no matter where they are working. The popularity has been especially evident in 2020, with organisations in all sectors implementing it to help staff overcome all productivity bottlenecks associated with working and collaborating from home.
As lockdown was introduced in March, one of our customers was still using legacy phone lines. They were startled to find out the cost of call-forwarding to the mobiles of staff for these but had no other choice as they needed to ensure their phones remained answered.
We recommended to them a softphone solution such as VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol). This is when calls are translated into data and transmitted across a broadband connection, just like when an email is sent, rather than using legacy lines. The customer transitioned onto our emergency COVID-19 VoIP telephony package.
By implementing VoIP, call-forwarding costs for the customer were slashed to almost zero. It also provided them with a range of new exciting features that they didn’t have access to before due to the limitations of legacy phone lines. For instance, integration of their telephony with their CRM platform.
The results that came with having VoIP introduced into their organisation was loved by all staff and senior management. Not only were outward appearances up for a fraction of the cost with employees remaining safe at home, but they can easily revert back to normal in the office by using their desk phones whenever they want.
Can your IT provider do that?
For nearly 15 years, we have been leveraging modern technology to help companies across sectors get the most from their I.T so they can achieve their potential. Our skills and experience have both been put to good use especially throughout the pandemic as they meant we acted quickly to equip all our customers with the tools needed to help them continue working from home.
The four customer stories discussed are based on four key players in modern technology; Microsoft 365, Teams, Cloud CCTV and VoIP. All of these have assisted our customers with a variety of issues and will continue to benefit them long after the pandemic.
We don’t assume that everyone has experienced these same pain points. In fact, we hope that many businesses had solutions such as Microsoft 365, Teams, VoIP and Cloud CCTV implemented way before the pandemic due to the many benefits they can bring! However, if any do resonate with you and are still unresolved, then you may benefit from some help. We understand that every business is different and can work with you to find a solution that will keep your workforce working their best throughout the pandemic and beyond.
Please get in touch for more information.