Things will never be the same again, says Corne Du Preez, Cloud Evangelist at Altron Karabina. The way we used to live, work and interact with one another pre-COVID-19 is over – but there are exciting times ahead, as the new way of doing things is pushing us to be innovative and will act as a catalyst for new technologies.

Now more than ever before is the time to be innovative and entrepreneurial and look to the future, as many opportunities lie ahead. It is out of disruptive change that new companies are born and incredible innovation happens, driving us forward. We can only guess at what the technology of tomorrow will look like.

As the world works to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, most countries across the globe, including South Africa, have enforced lockdowns and restrictions of movement, forcing companies to switch to remote working models.

This is likely to be the new normal going forward, and it is difficult to see us going back to traditional working models, even once the pandemic has been contained. Fortunately, the cloud is making this possible, or most businesses would have been forced to shut shop by now.

Most companies already had cloud strategies in place and were toying with the idea of dipping their toes in cloud solutions, but COVID-19 has forced them to relook at these plans and expedite them.

Time of uncertainty

This is no doubt a time of great uncertainty for many, but disruptive change can often be scary. It’s also probably true that many companies will not survive this transition, but for those that are willing and able to execute their cloud strategies quicker, this can be an exciting time.

Security has been highlighted by many as a new concern for companies switching to remote working models. The main worry is that a much larger percentage of the workforce is connecting remotely via relatively less secure devices.

However, security has always been one of the biggest challenges, even pre-COVID-19. It does not have to be a cause of undue worry now – companies must simply follow the best practices as put down by their cloud providers. Just keep in mind that your hyperscale providers will provide all the necessary security solutions that you will ever need.

Sure, it needs to be a partnership between the cloud provider, the partner and the customer to ensure that the right security solutions are in place and available – but again, there is a lot of innovation that can be done in this area.

Challenged in new ways

With the digital evolution that is upon us, we must accept that we will get challenged in new ways that we haven’t even considered yet. We need to embrace technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), automation and machine learning, but we need to ask whether we are utilising these solutions to make people’s lives easier.

As business, it still comes down to meeting the needs of the customer – that will never change. The difference is that we will have to execute on AI, machine learning and analytics in a completely different way. Essentially, organisations will have to find new ways to do old things, except in quicker and better ways to deliver on customer expectations, in a cost effective manner.

One of the key things that companies need to be focusing on is how to empower employees to deliver more and better, and manage and monitor their output, rather than focus on input. That will be a crucial consideration for organisations from now on – how to innovate and push to keep employees engaged.

If enterprises can do this successfully, we will see the emergence of the type of innovation, entrepreneurship and tools that will push us forward.

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