05 April 2020

The new connected world

By Adam Gardner - Head of Products, NEXTDC

In times of crisis, the ability to seamlessly connect and interact with customers, peers, platforms and people you rely on is more important than ever.

It’s been a difficult start to the year for humanity across the globe. Life as we know it has fundamentally changed. We are all fighting the battle of a global health pandemic where the world has been forced into isolation.

It is a true Black Swan event. Based on what we have learnt so far, it’s unlikely that life as we knew it will ever be the same.

In spite of the turmoil and uncertainty we face, I believe there’s great value to be gained in focussing on what we can control, and what we can take from this experience. I wonder just how much business productivity and commercial survivability has been profoundly disrupted and what can we do for customers to help?

For many, if not all, this is the most challenging time we’ve encountered. Disruption on this scale has not been seen since the Second World War for communities throughout the world. Society has fundamentally changed almost overnight and it is impossible to predict what happens next.

Whilst few would have prepared for a pandemic of such scale and speed, undoubtedly, it’s changed us as individuals and as an economy in ways that will carry on in a new world once the pandemic passes.

In the short-term, the priority for all businesses and the people they are made up of is to survive – mentally, physically, operationally and financially. Keeping our teams connected, engaged and productive is imperative so they can continue to provide stability to their customers, and provide them with the service and support they’re accustomed to.

As the legendary 19th century naturalist, geologist and biologist, Charles Darwin said in his book On the Origin of Species; “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” For all businesses hoping to survive, adaptation to present circumstances is the key.

Self-isolation is our primary defence mechanism to preserve the health and well-being of our teams, our families and communities. As Governments over the world introduce radical changes by mandating strict social distancing laws, working from home for much of the workforce is now a necessity and our ability to adapt must rise to the surface.

Which begs the following questions for many organisations;

  • Are your systems, processes and policies ready to support a remote workforce? 

  • Will the culture of your organisation hold firm with a new distributed and remote work force? If not, what can you change to help your team and the organisation adapt?

  • What resources are available to help you rapidly adapt to new world scenarios like the one we face now, and likely more to come?

Answers to the above questions aren’t straight forward and will be different for every organisation, but they are important to address head on and work through. The way people, industries, peers and neighbouring countries are addressing the challenges, together, is phenomenal.

To that point, whilst NEXTDC are primarily focussed on ensuring the health and well-being of our people, our customers, partners and suppliers that access our facilities, it doesn’t distract us or divert our focus from the critical role we play in ensuring our customers remain online, supported and connected.

We play a collaborative role within the wider ICT community, and continue to ensure our customers are supported so they in turn can support their remote staff, meet their own customers’ needs and limit the short term economic impact whilst also preparing for the inevitable rebound when conditions improve.

So, what can we control? We can continually refine and improve our agility adapting our business to the new challenges we face together. By keeping our customers front of mind, we can meet this challenge and importantly, offer the tools, services and support that will help our customers adapt, survive and hopefully strengthen.

At NEXTDC we’re fortunate that our core mission largely remains unchanged, providing customers a safe, completely reliable, resilient environment that guarantees 100% uptime – with direct connectivity to the global community of cloud platforms and ICT partners. I’m personally very proud, and thankful of the long hours and effort put in by our team and customers helping to keep Australia’s critical digital infrastructure running when it is needed most.

However, for many organisations fundamental shifts have occurred in how they do business, and it’s critical that we also adapt to support their changing needs, whilst not forgetting the human element in this very challenging time.

We are here to help, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if there is any support we can offer during this unprecedented time.