To be resilient is to have the capacity to recover from setbacks. Seeing how 2020 continues to be a terrible year for companies in Virginia — what with COVID-19, racial justice protests, and hurricane season ravaging the state — grit is truly what we need right now.
This begs the question: what do businesses need in order to be resilient? In this digital day and age, many solutions lie in IT.
Processes for delivering goods and services can be disrupted by many unexpected events, such as machine, power, and internet connection failures. The immediate resumption of primary operations after a disruption is called business continuity. Many solutions that serve to support business continuity are infrastructural, and most of these are IT-based. To illustrate:
- You won’t have to suffer an unstable internet connection if you have more than one internet service provider you can rely on.
- Having your data and apps on the cloud allows you to keep business going even if your on-premises machines are carbonized by wildfires.
- If a power outage occurs, you can use uninterruptible power supplies and generators to prevent data loss and equipment damage. (This is an example of a non-IT business continuity solution.)
Data, information systems, and IT infrastructure are valuable assets that companies can’t afford to lose or operate without. For instance, if an eCommerce website crashes due to a server malfunction or a distributed denial-of-service attack, then every hour of downtime can mean hundreds if not thousands of dollars in lost sales.
This is why business continuity plans have disaster recovery as a vital component. Its purpose is to get IT systems back up and running as soon as possible after a highly disruptive event. For this, disaster recovery focuses on having fallbacks and being constantly prepared, just like other business continuity management solutions. For instance, cloud-based backup systems allow businesses to fall back on data stored off-premises if flash floods damage on-site servers and make the data they contain inaccessible.
Unlike in-person service businesses, such as restaurants, movie theaters, and salons, most office-based businesses can let staff work remotely. For as long as company data and apps are accessible via the internet, then employees can go online, work from the comfort of their own home, and keep themselves and their families safe from COVID-19. IT solutions that support remote working include, but are not limited to:
- Cloud-based productivity suites such as Microsoft 365
- Cloud-based data storage
- Online communication tools such as web conferencing and web-based chat
- Web-based project management tools
- Cybersecurity tools such as VPNs and identity and access management software
With consumer behaviors changing drastically because of health risks, sociopolitical upheavals, and ecological changes, it pays to be able to go to where your customers are and address their shifting needs. To do these efficiently, you need business intelligence (BI) tools.
In a nutshell, BI tools are analytics programs that use artificial intelligence and machine learning to derive actionable insights from mountains of customer data. For example, service providers can use these insights to determine which offerings to promote, enhance, or discontinue.
Another way that BI tools can be leveraged is by using these to enhance eCommerce sites. To illustrate, a website armed with machine learning can keep track of the products you view and purchase so that it changes the products it displays to you to better match your preferences. Imagine visiting an online furniture store with a huge catalog of products, and you spend a lot of time looking at brown leather sofas and glass coffee tables. With every page refresh or upload, a BI-powered website can alter its default product displays to include more of the same or similar-looking furniture you’ve checked out before.
In short, BI tools help turn crises into lucrative opportunities, thereby making businesses more resilient. In Virginia, companies rely on Tech Squared to help them leverage BI and other IT tools against the many challenges they’re facing today. If you want resilience for your business as well, contact us for a free consultation today.