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The Importance of IT Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Business

Oct 29, 2020 - 3 minutes read

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Tony Rothwell Support Sales Executive

Tony has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, (IBM, Gartner, Avaya, Peer 1 Hosting, Bell Integration and Objectivity), working across multiple industry sectors. Focusing on Software Development, Hosting, Cloud, Support Services, Managed Services, Consulting, Professional Services, Cybersecurity, and Unified Comms.

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In this challenging time where businesses, clients, and consumers have had to adapt in many different ways due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of having reliable IT Support in place has perhaps never been greater.

The Need for Support 

Digital services form an essential part of modern businesses across the globe. According to Gartner, the average cost of network downtime exceeds £4,300 per minute. That equates to more than £250,000 per hour. In the UK alone, IT downtime costs businesses an estimated £12b a year. IT failure and unexpected downtime, even if only for a few minutes, can incur enormous cost–sometimes obvious, but often hidden. In many cases, a system failure can shut down your business. 

The problems are not all because of poorly written software and network outages. Legacy systems struggle to meet modern demands and constantly changing regulations. Migrating applications and services to the cloud often results in downtime and the need for significant refactoring.

Customer attraction and retention take time and effort but purchasing decisions can be impulsive. If systems are down when a potential customer is trying to engage or purchase from you, they may move on. Equally, employees find it hard to get work done when they cannot access the services and data they need.

Considering this, the cost of an effective and proactive support partner is negligible by comparison. The numbers present a strong business case for putting preventative measures and a support structure in place. 

Often support services are seen as an ‘insurance policy’ but they are much more than that! Predictive monitoring and capacity monitoring are key components that reduce the risk of downtime. The proactive elements of IT support services should be a core part of your service. The move to cloud often means running on-premise systems, platforms, and applications in parallel until cut-over—however, this doesn’t happen overnight but over a duration of time. Support services should be able to encompass this need as well as help in transitioning to the cloud and provisioning services.

The Retail Sector

Research shows that in retail, IT investment focuses on smaller, agile projects. There is a particular interest in AI, machine learning, and automation. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated ecommerce initiatives, delivering 2-4 years of changes in less than 12 months.

The unknown outcome of the pandemic and its associated timeframe also means critical systems and applications need continual monitoring and support. The impact of downtime is perhaps greater than ever.  

As the retail sector approaches its ‘Golden Quarter’, where most companies produce their largest proportion of revenue, the requirement for hyper-support services is imperative. Uncertainty can hinder growth and innovation plans and promotes a short to mid-term approach to business operations. Having a strong IT support programme in place can help businesses to move forward even amidst COVID-19.

The Manufacturing Sector

The manufacturing sector is currently facing unprecedented challenges due to the pandemic. The National Association of Manufacturers collected COVID-19 related data from 558 respondents between 28th February and 9th March in 2020. The bullet points below summarise the respondents’ feedback regarding the pandemic’s effects on their supply chain and operations, financial expectations, and emergency response plans.  

  • Over 78% of respondents expect some level of financial impact.  
  • Over 53% of respondents anticipate a change in operations. 
  • Over 35% of respondents are facing supply chain disruptions.  

It seems there are already considerable challenges to address without worrying about the resilience and availability of core digital systems.

Data Security

COVID-19 has also significantly affected the cybersecurity landscape. The pandemic provides an opportunity for fraudsters to gain access to data and systems. Cybercriminals have built their infrastructures to launch COVID-19 themed spear-phishing attacks on unsuspecting targets by creating fake websites and other ploys. According to news reports, Google blocks around 18 million COVID-19 emails sent to Gmail users on a daily basis.

With staff reductions, workers falling ill or having to self-isolate, remote working, and the resiliency of IT functions constantly being challenged by these circumstances—IT and its ability to support businesses is perhaps more important now than it has ever been.

Data Driven Organisation Blog Ebook 416X300
Tony Rothwell Support Sales Executive

Tony has worked in the IT industry for over 20 years, (IBM, Gartner, Avaya, Peer 1 Hosting, Bell Integration and Objectivity), working across multiple industry sectors. Focusing on Software Development, Hosting, Cloud, Support Services, Managed Services, Consulting, Professional Services, Cybersecurity, and Unified Comms.

See all Tony's posts

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