Strong connectivity is a must if businesses are to thrive in a digital-first, hybrid-focused world. How can the right tools set your firm up for success?

 

In a digital-first world, effective connectivity can be a key differentiator that separates the best-performing businesses from the pack. This contributes in a range of ways, from enabling easier collaboration to improving employee morale and work-life balance.

 

Ultimately, none of the value-added services that businesses rely on can function to their full effectiveness without strong connectivity infrastructure. Whether it’s a first-class contact centre or access to cutting-edge tools such as artificial intelligence, none of this is possible without connectivity.

Fast, reliable tools to connect your workforce

 

The backbone of any firm’s data connectivity is a fast, reliable broadband service, and in a hybrid working environment, this may be more important than ever for a number of reasons.

 

You might think that having fewer people in the office at any one time would ease the pressure on your firm’s connectivity. But there are a few other factors you need to consider that may actually increase the need for strong solutions.

 

For instance, if you’re operating with both office and home-based workers, you’ll need to keep in touch digitally. Often, this will require solutions such as videoconferencing, which can be highly data-intensive.

 

In large and mid-sized firms, where multiple employees may need to use these tools at the same time, the pressures on data networks can quickly build up, and if you don’t have technology to prioritise traffic and support high-bandwidth services, this can lead to bottlenecks and lower-quality user experiences.

 

Taking advantage of technology such as gigabit broadband is therefore a must if you’re to function effectively and stay ahead of competitors in this environment. However, while the rollout of this technology has increased hugely over the last couple of years, there’s still a long way to go before it’s available nationwide.

 

There are, however, several options for firms looking to upgrade their data connectivity. Speaking to a dedicated provider can help determine what schemes are available and what alternatives there may be to ensure fast connectivity in places where the latest technology does not yet reach, and build a network strategy that’s fit for the future.

 

The solutions to cope with new data demands

 

At the same time, many firms that embrace hybrid working strategies are likely to also turn to tools such as cloud hosting for critical business activities, in order to make them easily accessible wherever users are.

 

Flextera’s 2021 State of the Cloud report, for instance, notes that 92 per cent of enterprises now operate multiple cloud solutions. What’s more, nine out of ten firms said their usage of these tools is higher than expected since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the related changes in working practices.

 

This also leads to greater data traffic demands on networks as more users need to transfer data and access applications hosted off-site. But it’s not just speed that matters to support this way of working, it’s also reliability.

 

As firms become more dependent on these tools for mission-critical activities, the costs of downtime also grow hugely. Even a few minutes’ downtime can cost thousands of pounds, and smaller firms in particular can ill-afford this. Therefore, resilience needs to be built into every connectivity solution.

 

Mobility matters

 

It’s also vital that firms don’t overlook mobile connectivity. In the era of 5G mobile technology, the smartphone is a more powerful business device than ever, offering users the ability to work from anywhere without compromising on performance.

 

To be effective, firms need speeds that can match those provided by wired services, with no throttling of data or usage caps. Without dedicated enterprise-grade solutions, staff members will find themselves unable to contribute fully when away from their desk.

 

The importance of a fast, reliable mobile solution doesn’t just matter to employees. Mobile connectivity is also set to be critical to a wide range of emerging Internet of Things use cases. The number of IoT devices used by businesses – from connected cars to track remote workers to smart buildings – is set to grow exponentially in the coming years, and the majority of these will depend on real-time mobile connectivity in order to function as intended.

 

Even small amounts of latency can pose significant difficulties for operations that rely on IoT devices, so maintaining strong, reliable connections that also have security built-in will be essential.

 

One other element within business mobility you need to consider is in-building mobile data. This is something that can be a specific challenge for 5G deployments, as the frequencies used by this technology can sometimes have trouble penetrating thick walls. Therefore, supplementing your mobility package with bespoke hardware to address this issue can be a significant, yet often overlooked, part of these solutions.

 

The right partner to deliver your connectivity

 

Getting this right can prove difficult, especially if you try to go it alone. While you can work directly with mobile networks and the like, one of the biggest challenges with this route is that you’re likely to end up with a solution that isn’t tailored to the unique needs of your firm.

 

By teaming up with a recognised business communications specialist, you can be sure you’re getting a system that’s right for you. Whether you need to improve your voice connectivity to keep in touch with colleagues and customers around the world, upgrade your broadband to support cloud tools or videoconferencing services, or handle connected cars or wearables via 5G, an off-the-shelf solution often won’t be adequate.

 

By building a package that’s specific to your business, you can set your firm apart from competitors and rest assured that no matter what challenges the increasingly-connected world throws up in the coming years, you’ll have the right connectivity solutions to cope.

 

Find out more about the solutions you’ll need to deal with a new way of working in our newest ebook.

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