The recent outage of a popular cloud-based accounting platform in South Africa has highlighted the importance of being always on in a digitally driven business environment to avoid disruptions to mission-critical systems such as human resources and payroll. Ian McAlister, General Manager at CRS Technologies, believes that because CRS is a technically powered organisation, it has been able to stay ahead of the curve and thrive, despite the pandemic and resultant lockdown conditions.
“The lockdown and rapid decentralisation of the workforce last year caught many organisations off guard. They had to rush to migrate their employees to digital environments that would enable them to remain operational, regardless of their geographic location. During this time, many compromised on establishing the technological foundation required to effectively manage a cloud environment. As things started to normalise, however, the flaws in some of the systems and infrastructure have been exposed, with some companies experiencing significant downtime as a result,” he says.
According to McAlister, customers’ expectations have evolved over the past several months as they expect more digital enablement from their service providers. They do not care about whether the infrastructure is up to the task or not – it must simply work and deliver on their business requirements.
“Unfortunately, so many small companies are unable to meet the needs of their customers due to the lockdown and putting remote staff in place. Many of these were initially hesitant to go the cloud route and are now paying the price. But this does not mean there is nothing they can do to stop the bleed. By scrutinising their service providers and doing an honest assessment on whether they can cope with the needs of a digital world, they will likely find more robust partners that can help them grow in an agile environment,” he says.
Delivering on digital
Fundamentally, it comes down to the capacity of a service provider to be able to service existing customers and an influx of new business that is likely to result from this shift in focus.
“Given everything that has happened in recent times, service providers cannot continue to blame system upgrades, ageing infrastructure and the like. They must evolve with the times and ensure that their IT processes are ahead of the curve to keep their customers always on and connected. No company can afford downtime, given the economic challenges brought about by the lockdown. It is time to work with a trusted service provider that can be the enabler for change going forward,” concludes McAlister.