Gordon Adie, managing director at Arrowdawn
The world of work may never be the same again after these unprecedented times.
The Covid-19 pandemic has, for the moment, changed the way that millions of us perform our everyday roles. The question, I guess, is: have we permanently reshaped the working landscape?
Specifically, the lockdown has seen businesses around the world embrace home working on a mass scale; a once unimaginable triumph for networking technology.
It was a sudden transition for many organisations as they adjusted their operations to keep their personnel safe and minimise spread of the virus, while supporting their business continuity goals as best they could.
In recent weeks, as a specialist network solutions provider, we’ve helped customers transition to what is a ‘new normal’ for most enterprises. Having said that, the principles behind it are very familiar to us at Arrowdawn.
One of the core elements of our customer offering is the provision of remote support whenever it’s required. In fact, the nature of our business and how we deliver support means our people seldom spend more than a few hours on customer sites at any given time.
We’ve always embraced the Smart Hands approach, collaborating with customers to achieve ‘zero touch’ system deployments where possible. Modern technology fully enables such an approach – one that also has a carbon offset benefit.
By way of example, a project to configure three separate networks – corporate, contractor and guest – at 16 sites around the world was completed without an Arrowdawn network engineer leaving the office – it was all handled remotely. The benefit to the client is the reduced reliance on expensive on-premise resources. Our model also allows multiple network projects to be carried out by an experienced network engineer, rather than the client utilising a member of staff that may also have to focus on the wider network and communications strategy. To use an analogy, it’s the client’s train but we drive it to ensure everything is running as it should be through monitoring and maintenance support.
The events of recent weeks have served to demonstrate that remote working – even when embraced at short notice – can be made to work well, with the right network support. As a business that’s based significantly on remote service methodologies, we’ve been able to accommodate a surge in demand for our services without any major changes to our operations. It raises an interesting point: do we physically need to be in the ‘same room’ to work effectively together?
More than 50 clients at 300 sites across 25 countries have been able to call on our network, security, maintenance, VoIP services and expertise as and when required. It’s a plug-in-and-play solution that utilises the power of technological advances. It’s a smart way to operate in terms of cost, time and resource.
There are, of course, far more significant implications associated with the pandemic and the focus of all of us should be on staying home, protecting our health services and safeguarding lives.
However, from a strategic business perspective – and looking to the longer term – I believe we could be on the threshold of radical, and permanent, change in how we do our work.
Gordon Adie is managing director of Arrowdawn, a network and communications support business. The company, a Cisco and Fortinet specialist, has operations in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Inverness. All of its staff are currently working from home while supporting client operations. Arrowdawn was established in 2000.