We’ve moved on from the pandemic.
That doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten COVID and its impact on society. Our lives were uprooted for three years as world leaders scurried to find ways to get things back to “normal.”
Now that it’s all over, we all realize normal isn’t the same as it once was. We all kept referring to “the new norm” during the pandemic, and the phrase has come to fruition.
This transition isn’t always blatant or in our faces, though.
Yes, some people walk around in masks. There remains an abundance of disinfectant hand-wash everywhere you look. Plus, let’s admit it, we all get a little nervous when the slightest hint of a cough enters our respiratory systems.
Besides those changes, one might mistake the post-pandemic world for how things were before COVID-19. Only when you start peeling back the layers is it clear that–yes–the world is much different than it used to be.
The Pandemic Opened Pandora’s Box For Digital Transformation.
Many trends during the pandemic weren’t meant for the long haul. We were never going to keep making homemade bread or trying to substitute real parties with Zoom parties once social distancing was no more. Eventually, the handshake would always make a rousing return to polite society (elbow bumps plainly couldn’t suffice in the big picture).
All the same, we did learn lessons along the way. We found better ways to do certain things out of sheer necessity.
For instance, businesses still relying on more manual, in-person methods and approaches were forced to embrace tech. They were thrust into the digital revolution because there was no other choice–their survival depended on it.
We should note that many of these businesses–many of them small–were doing well before the pandemic. These were thriving organizations. Even though they were somewhat tech-averse, it didn’t mean they weren’t exceptional at what they did.
Then came the pandemic–and Pandora’s box was opened.
Once organizations started incorporating tech, whether through remote work, product deliveries, points of sale, eCommerce, etc., they realized what they’d been missing.
This brings us to the hybrid philosophy, which has taken many industries by storm. Now that the pandemic is over, “hybrid” can truly take hold. We can all benefit from the in-person touch often necessary for companies to thrive and use more advanced tech and tools to bolster those tried-and-true business practices.
That said, small businesses are faced with a crucial obstacle. They need to operate their tech and ensure it runs smoothly. Managing IT 100% in-house requires considerable resources that many small companies would be wiser to allocate elsewhere.
So, how can these organizations, without the unlimited budgets of massive corporations, seamlessly incorporate tech into their operations? By partnering with an IT solutions provider.
Here are five ways an IT solutions provider can help small businesses like yours thrive in a post-pandemic world:
1. Managed IT Services Can Help Your Business Keep Up With Growing Post-Pandemic Tech Demands.
Efficiency and speed are everything in today’s landscape. Small businesses especially don’t have the luxury of clunky processes because lower budgets are less tolerant of missteps and bloatedness.
Customers are driving this need for speed and efficiency. The pandemic showed them the capabilities of technology. They’ve witnessed and want to align with businesses that promptly respond to their needs because these consumers know the tools are available to make it happen.
Studies indicate that collaborative technology can increase business efficiency by 130%. There’s a caveat, though. These tools require a robust IT infrastructure that ensures they run optimally at all times.
Many small businesses don’t necessarily have the budget to manage every facet of their IT infrastructure to ensure optimal efficiency. As you continue to add tools, the number of moving parts becomes increasingly more challenging to coordinate.
An IT solutions provider like Portola Systems offers managed IT services where we handle multiple–and often, all–facets of your tech infrastructure. You can focus on the big-picture strategies that drive your business’s growth while we take care of the nitty-gritty tech details.
This way, you’ll have all the support you need to move with lightning-quick velocity to stay ahead of the pack in a post-pandemic world.
2. Equipping Your Business For Remote Work With Cisco Meraki.
Work-from-home protocols have basically gone extinct. You hear of the odd person who isn’t going to the office still–but, more often than not, most of us have returned to the physical workplace.
However, the existence of remote work doesn’t hinge upon strict work-from-home protocols. Remote work has a far vaster definition and can manifest in many ways.
For instance, many businesses do still offer a hybrid workplace. Employees can work from home sometimes, whether one or a few days a week.
Conversely, you might have employees who are continually on the move. They may require internet access at airports, cafes, shopping malls, etc., to perform their work duties.
Employees entering business networks through home WiFi or at other remote locations can put your company at risk.
Home networks, specifically, rarely receive the attention or support they need. Passwords are often weak, and virus/malware protection is an afterthought. Other public networks aren’t much better.
You can’t afford the associated cybersecurity risks stemming from remote work. 60% of cyberattacks target small businesses. After these attacks, 61% of the targeted companies will fold.
Yet, utilizing remote work can help your company be more productive. Fortunately, technology like Cisco Meraki (offered by Portola Systems) can help bridge the gap, enabling your business to leverage remote work without the risks.
Cisco Meraki is a cloud-based tool that simplifies security, connectivity, application, and device performance management. Thus, remote work scaling becomes seamless in almost any work environment, whether in traditional offices or remote locations like a home or library.
3. Course Correcting With IT Consultation.
The pandemic gave small businesses a new opportunity to embrace tech. Nonetheless, it was tough on these companies’ bottom lines. 200,000 more business closures occurred during this period than what was typical for historical trends, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Small businesses that remained afloat did so through guile and determination. Still, the need to regain your momentum lingers in the post-pandemic world.
A thriving IT infrastructure empowers businesses to successfully play catchup and soon exceed where they were before the pandemic. However, a vast gulf exists between potential and reality.
For one, applying an IT infrastructure in the most streamlined, profit-friendly, and productivity-bolstering manner isn’t a cakewalk. Given everything else you need to focus on, properly ironing out a tech roadmap can be anything between a distraction and a disaster.
Leveraging an IT solutions provider’s consulting services can help you overcome the above hurdles.
The pivotal advantage here is your ability to course correct. IT consulting services give you an expert’s perspective on your current setup. For instance, at Portola Systems, we advise our clients to follow the most efficient and productive approaches based on their business needs.
Without that expert guidance, you won’t necessarily have a direct route to success. You’ll need to keep making mistakes until you find the best way to do things–and a small business doesn’t necessarily have time for extended trial and error.
4. Disaster Protection To Keep You Up And Running In Times Of Despair.
If there’s one thing the pandemic proved, it’s impossible to know what tomorrow will bring.
Life is unpredictable–even when everything seems stable. You could have robust cybersecurity and be committed to rigorous antivirus practices that protect your network 24/7. Then, all of a sudden, your workplace gets hit with a tornado and destroys everything.
It sounds hyperbolic, but these things can happen. At Portola Systems, we worked closely with businesses impacted by the 2017 Sonoma County Wildfires. We’ve witnessed firsthand how the consequences of these catastrophes can be dire.
As your IT solutions provider, we’ll offer disaster recovery, including keeping your precious data safe and sound and other continuity planning protocols. With these high-level services, your business can see its way through the eye of a hurricane.
5. Helping Your Business Function Like An Industry Heavyweight.
A primary selling point of an IT solutions provider is how they supercharge a small business. With the tools these companies provide, you can suddenly operate with the same swiftness and efficiency as industry heavyweights. Your status as a small business won’t limit you from taking chances and expanding because you’ll have built-in systems offering stability and reliability.
In fact, you’ll have an advantage over larger corporations. While big businesses are under continual scrutiny, your status as a small business empowers you to fly under the radar as you attract more customers and grow your brand.
Want to learn more about what Portola Systems’ IT solutions can do for your business? Then contact us today!