The global pandemic has been an extraordinary catalyst for change, propelling organizations to navigate change and digital transformation at both scale and speed. Models once seen as the “future of work” became a reality almost overnight as organizations accelerated digitization to support new ways of working and learning.
Beyond the need for new or extended virtual capabilities, the pandemic has created a fundamental step-change in how organizations operate and plan for the future.
Amidst this, the magnitude of business discontinuity has been extraordinary, but it has unlocked immense new opportunities for organizations to leverage technology to drive innovation and long-term growth.
Discontinuity creates opportunity
Throughout the global crisis, technology has played an indispensable role in enabling organizations of all sizes and across all industries to ‘keep the lights on’ and operations running.
Since the first outbreak of COVID-19, our teams have worked tirelessly to deliver industry-leading solutions to maintain secure, seamless, and accessible virtual working and learning environments for our customers. This has included supporting mission critical health services at the pandemic’s outset in Wuhan in China by enabling remote doctor-patient care, as well as subsequent initiatives across the Asia Pacific region to support our customers, partners, and communities as the virus spread and mass disruption grew.
In India, our team helped to set up a COVID-19 War Room at New Delhi’s Ministry of Health for a Geographic Information System (GIS) map-based view of pandemic hotspots across the country and enable collaboration between government agencies to help contain the pandemic in real-time. The digital dashboarding solutions have since been replicated in Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, and Telangana states and 20 other cities across India to facilitate density monitoring, communication of lockdown protocols and agency coordination, among other features.
Supporting educational institutions to shift to virtual in a fast, effective way has been a big focus. In South Korea, we worked with Dongguk University to leverage the Webex platform to conduct nearly 3,500 live online lectures for 17,000 students during the crisis. This meant students did not miss a single day during their first semester of 2020.
From continuity to resilience
As we move through a new phase, where countries and economies are gradually re-opening, now is a critical time for organizations to turn their attention from business continuity to business resilience.
Strengthening an organization’s resilience involves more than just implementing solutions to solve existing or immediate challenges, it is about building the long-term ability to withstand and recover quickly from future shocks and adapt with agility to new challenges when they occur.
It also means enhancing digital capabilities and building holistic IT architectures to secure your organization, empower your teams, and automate processes. This is what will enable organisations to thrive now, and to be future-ready when disruptions happens again.
Regardless of an organization’s size, cloud-based technologies, security, and automation are all crucial pillars that companies should focus on to build resilience in the post-pandemic world.
Realizing a hybrid new normal of work
Cisco’s Future of Secure Remote Work Report shows that the flexible and hybrid work environment which has become the norm during the pandemic is here to stay.
56% of Asia Pacific organizations now have more than half of their workforces working remotely, and one-third (34%) expect this to continue beyond the pandemic. Having worked remotely for an extended period of time, employees now expect they will continue to have the flexibility and ability to work from anywhere, at any time and on any device, even as they return to the office.
Our report also highlights that COVID-19 has brought about significant transformational change among organizations in Asia Pacific, with many indicating they need to rethink their overall security strategy to prepare for the hybrid future of work ahead of us.
97% of organizations made changes to cybersecurity policies to support remote working and 85% of organizations in the region say that cybersecurity is extremely important or more important than before the pandemic.
Reimagining for future transformation
Discontinuity and business disruption will continue to happen in the future, and it will present itself in many different forms. It is important that organizations take learnings from this year’s pandemic and be equipped and ready to respond quickly and effectively when disruption inevitably reoccurs.
Ultimately, the actions that organizations take to strengthen their operational resilience will have a profound impact on their overall agility, flexibility, and adaptability to evolve for future demands.
With the right tools and technology architecture in place, organizations can build a strong foundation to accelerate innovation, gain competitive edge over peers, and drive stronger sustained growth into the future.