31 March 2020

Australia’s evolving landscape and the impacts of COVID-19

Written by David Dzienciol, Chief Customer and Commercial Officer

With the developing global pandemic surrounding COVID-19, these uncertain times could well be the catalyst for the next major shift towards complete digitalisation. Interestingly, IDC research analyst Wayne Kurtzman recently came out and said that “this may have jump-started the market by seven years”.

With staff, customers, partners and supplier safety and retention paramount in times like these, many organisations have either already pivoted or are in the process of planning to move their workforce to remote working scenarios for the foreseeable future.

With no line of sight as to when the situation locally let alone globally will stabilise, it’s forcing organisations everywhere to think about how they create a resilient, distributed and mobilised environment to support a new world of remote working for as long as it’s needed.

With so many millions of people world-wide having remote working immediately thrust upon us, it’s forced us to change the way we approach our everyday work practices.

To keep productivity and staff motivation high, organisations are calling for digital technologies and platforms to create personalised experiences where we have the ability to maintain close and connected relationships from within our homes. We are all subsequently faced with the opportunity to think outside of conventional ways, and be creative in the way we interact, collaborate, prospect, support and trade.

In fact, this could very well be the perfect opportunity for organisations to act on their long-term digital objectives. With millions of people being forced to change their everyday work practices overnight, it could be an opportunistic time to act.

These global health challenges will usher us towards a new way of working, posing a unique set of opportunities for us to explore around how we connect, collaborate and work with our customers, partners and suppliers.

Such an enormous shift in remote working and environments becoming increasingly more distributed will create a new surge of demand for cloud services, connectivity and stronger reliance on digital communication and collaboration tools. As a result, inherent tailwinds will unfold with the increased use of online digital technologies to support virtual workplace environments.

An example of this is the huge spike in the number of new users and business Slack and Microsoft both reported from their workforce collaboration platforms.

Slack Chief Executive Officer, Stewart Butterfield reported that their group messaging application saw an increase of 7,000 customers since the start of February 2020, which is a 40% jump on their typical quarter.

At the same time, Microsoft said the number of people using Teams on a single day early last week reached a staggering 44 million users. That’s more than double the record 20 million users that they reported only four months ago.

Microsoft’s Head of Office365, Jared Spataro believes that this pandemic will go down as a turning point in history for the way people work. “I don’t think we’re ever going back to the old way of working” he was reported as saying.

For consumers, there will likely be additional provisions required to support the growth of online shopping, food delivery, social media, video streaming and gaming, amongst others during this time of social isolation in the home.

But changing the primary working environment isn’t the only change organisations are tasked with addressing. At times like these, the health and wellbeing of people is the most important consideration, as such, organisations are mobilising fast to take all actions necessary to support the rapidly evolving needs of our people and customers. These universal changes will create strong tailwinds to the way we live and work, and will further accelerate the reliance that businesses and their remote workforces place on their digital platform and technologies.

Whilst we continue to work through the evolving landscape of a global health crisis, staying productive, profitable and creative as an organisation is critical. We haven’t lost sight of the critical role we can play in supporting our customers businesses and helping them remain successful during a time of uncertainty. 

Implementing critical measures is crucial right now to promote and preserve the health and safety of everyone. NEXTDC are making all necessary changes to move our business in line with our customer evolving requirements, from continuous and thorough industrial-grade cleaning of facilities, through to assisting customers in new ways of working, by expanding the capacity of onsite technical support services. By fully deploying and commissioning customers’ infrastructure in our facilities, it will enable them to avoid physically attending site which in turn supports their own internal health protocols.

Above all things, the importance of leadership and community spirit has never been more important than right now, and NEXTDC are committed to doing everything we can to support our community through these turbulent times.