The corona virus pandemic is a wake up call for businesses to review their processes and systems. With most businesses operating from an office Pre-COVID, it is apparent that some business owners were caught off-guard in terms of having a contingency plan like cloud computing solutions, which facilitate work from home.
If previous flu pandemics are anything to go by, their high level of communicableness disrupts life leading to stock-market crashes, low to zero production and loss of jobs. An article by the World Economic Forum shared lessons from the Great Influenza Pandemic aka the Spanish Flu of 1918 to 1920 where 2% of the world population amounting to 39 million people are believed to have died.
While the Spanish Flu is the worst-case scenario such a pandemic can pose, The WEF notes that, “The former’s death rate (Spanish flu) of 2% of the total population translates into 150 million deaths today. Further, that death rate corresponds to estimated declines in GDP and consumption in the typical country by 6% and 8%, respectively. In addition, the pandemic was associated with sizable declines in real rates of return on stocks and short-term bills.”
COVID-19 is not expected to have such catastrophic effects with governments taking the necessary financial cushioning measures and with improved medical care. However, there’s a definite slowing down of production due to the reduction of office hours and the lack of work-from-home contingency plans by businesses as earlier noted.
Cloud Computing Solutions
Picture a case of a company that has an on-premise server meaning that staff trying to ‘flatten the curve’ by working from home cannot be able to access the necessary documents or easily communicate and collaborate to ensure smooth flow of operations. Now picture a case of company that has all its data saved on the cloud meaning that staff have access to all office documents at the comfort of their homes. The company that has facilitated work from home mechanisms is likely to stay in business despite the current hurdles.
Of course, work-at-home cloud computing solutions cannot be implemented in all industries hence the government’s directive to allow essential staff to work between 5:00 am and 4:00 pm and after curfew time commences. However, for businesses that can adopt cloud computing solutions, it will have a two-fold positive effect. One being that rate of infection reduces and second, that your healthy staff can continue to hold the fort as we all wait for the end of the pandemic.
Cloud computing has three key options:
- SAAS – Software As A Service
SAAS is a software distribution model where customers access cloud-based apps via the internet. A great example is Office 365 subscription. The fact that it is subscription based means that you pay for only what you use.
We previously shared How Office 365 will give you more than just Microsoft Office Applications. With tools such as SharePoint –a document management and storage system and Microsoft teams -a communication tool that is perfect for remote workers, companies can ensure operations continue while they save on running costs. Office 365 comes with a host of other features like:
- Microsoft Staff Hub a cloud-based application that helps in the management of schedules
- Microsoft Forms that helps in the creating of surveys and questionnaires
- Microsoft Briefing Email that helps staff prepare and manage the day’s tasks all from the cloud
- Microsoft MyAnalytics gives insight into worker productivity and has tools that help in improving personal productivity
The best part about some of the above features like Microsoft Teams is that an organization that has subscribed to Office 365 can invite an external user that does not have the subscription. So for example, when discussing a proposal for a new project with a client that doesn’t have the subscription, it is easy to invite them and communicate in an effective way especially because there’s a view desktop feature.
To enjoy the full-on benefits of cloud computing solutions like security of data, easy accessibility from anywhere, improved communication and collaboration among staff, unlimited storage capacity and cost saving among others, contact us here to get your Office 365 subscription.
- PAAS – Platform As A Service
PAAS is a platform-based service that allows users to develop and deploy apps all from the cloud. The platform infrastructure hosts the apps’ hardware and software. This means a developer doesn’t have to spend time building and maintaining in-house infrastructure for the app. In addition, PAAS comes with useful tools that allow for analytics and business intelligence. An example is the Microsoft Power BI using Microsoft Azure as a database that allows for the creation of easy to use dashboards and generation of reports.
Find out more about Power BI here.
- IAAS – Infrastructure As A Service
IAAS is mostly about computing power, which means provision of storage, and processing power from the cloud. It removes the inconvenience of having to pay and manage a physical server. IAAS mimics hardware like PC using cloud components like Virtual Machines. Examples are Azure Virtual Machines and Azure Storage.
We recently shared how to Migrate Sage Database from Local Hosting to Azure Hosted Instance to spur those already using the Sage Database to now move it to the cloud and work from home during the current pandemic. Moreover, this provides for Business Continuity Planning as you will see in the next part of the article.
Business Continuity Planning Post COVID-19
Investopedia defines business continuity planning as the process involved in creating a system of prevention and recovery from potential threats to a company. It’s being ready in the event of a threat like COVID-19.
Research by World Wide Wix for global networking application company F5 Networks, across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa in 2018, found that use of cloud services has more than doubled among SMEs and large Organizations from less than 50% use in 2013 in the three countries. “Respondents in Nigeria and Kenya named Business efficiency and scalability by far the most important benefit, with 80% and 75% respectively selecting it as an advantage. Only 61% of South African respondents cited it.”
Based on the sample used, a huge number of Kenyan businesses use and love the convenience of cloud computing solutions. However, many are still unaware of the potential of using cloud services as attested by the inconvenience suffered by businesses that did not have a cloud computing system in place, pre-COVID19.
The COVID-19 pandemic is just one of the many disrupters of work, others like terrorism and natural disasters like fires and floods can lead to loss of crucial data that is not backed up on the cloud. This is a nightmare that no business owner wants to go through. Thus, ensure to incorporate cloud computing services as part of your Business Continuity Planning in order to avoid a dip in profits after data loss.
Sunesis Consulting cares, we therefore urge you to keep following The World Health Organizations (WHO) recommendations on COVID-19 Infection Protection and Control.
- Practice Social Distancing
- Wash your hands regularly and/or sanitize your hands with alcohol-based sanitizer
- Cover your mouth with your elbow when coughing
- Use a face mask
- Avoid crowded places
- Contact a doctor in case of any symptoms or the Ministry of Health – Kenya.
These guidelines will go a long way in stopping the spread of the virus.
We are here for you. Contact us in case you need tailor-made dashboards using any of our cloud computing solutions. The best part is our experts can install what you need remotely. Also, keep it here for more on cloud computing solutions.