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The past year was challenging for business of all sizes and sectors. COVID pushed organisation to take a stellar leap into their digital transformation plans, activities and development planned for months on end took place within a matter of weeks. At Chess, we learned from our own experience and then adapted the lessons to apply best practice to our customers. In short, here’s five areas to consider for your business strategy in the new year.

Connectivity is the foundation of your business

Our customers face two key challenges in 2021. First, Openreach is shutting down the PSTN network, switching off entirely by 2025. Second, is the rise of home workers due to COVID and the requirement for increased bandwidth to cope with cloud access. Homeworking and homeschooling drive the need for a stable, reliable and fast broadband connection. At Chess, we've seen a rise in Fibre demand, especially the new Fibre to the premises (FTTP), currently being rolled out nationally, and mobile tethering for dedicated business connections. Due to their infrastructure's size, most of our large customers have already considered their options and progressing the switch to IP. They are either upgrading the bandwidth on existing lines where available or installing new high-capacity lines to allow future expansion.

A Cloud-first strategy

Most of our technology partners are unanimously adopting a cloud-first approach, hosting their products in this environment due to the ease of deployment, ongoing support and instant upgrades. A key strategy for corporations is to adopt these cloud products and host their infrastructure, such as telephony and servers, off-premise. This approach allows our customers ultimate flexibility and scalability, plus a full disaster recovery contingency. Microsoft and Amazon spend billions on their hosting capabilities in Azure and AWS, so the competition is fierce and helps to drive quick return on investment on cloud adoption.

Devices no longer need to trip you over

In 2020, the scramble to deploy homeworking put immense pressure on the supply chain, which suffered global interruptions due to lockdowns, restricted delivery and diverted manufacturing processes. However, most people have personal home computing equipment.  Using these devices to deploy Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) on these machines allowed users to access all business applications and operating systems in a fully managed and secure environment. We see this trend continuing throughout 2021 due to both COVID interruptions and shipping delays resulting from Brexit. We also see a shift to OPEX, monthly subscription and leasing, instead of CAPEX, large investments upfront, as organisations strive to preserve cash in such uncertain times. Furthermore, with guaranteed residuals and the tax advantages, the total cost of ownership is comparably lower in the first scenario.

 

Protecting your data is your number one priority

In some cases, the rush to deploy homeworking produced vulnerabilities as people access business systems from various devices in different locations. With the degree of chaos everyone endured this past year, cybercriminals took advantage of security gaps in opened business networks. We saw an increase in attacks and breaches like the well-publicised instances all over social media and the press. The implications of a breach can be catastrophic in terms of GDPR fines, ransom attacks, business disruption and brand damage. Therefore, we have seen a significant increase in requests for our Penetration Testing Service. These tests simulate a cyberattack and produce a detailed report identifying weaknesses and recommending remedial actions.

Focus on your core business, let the experts help with the rest

Most organisations have been forced to either make redundancies or furlough a significant percentage of their people, leading to resource issues. Many of our customers outsource IT at least partially, with our support packagers offering fixed-price bundles to alleviate short-term pressure cost-effectively. Along with support, the demand for strategic workshops like our Cloud Assessment Services increased, helping our customers adopt new ways of working, build business resilience and drive costs down. 

 

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Warren Pryer

Warren Pryer

Warren spent his early career in the motor industry, working in sales and sales management positions for BMW. He then entered the telecoms industry in 1995 and joined Chess in 2004, becoming the businesses Group Sales Director. Warren is responsible for all sales divisions within Chess that includes Web-Sales, AccountDevelopment, Corporate and Wholesale. An avid cyclist, Warren has completed many endurance events for the thrill of the challenge and to raise money for charities. At weekends he can be found cycling in the Peak District however has just taken on the renovation of a 250 year old cottage which he fears will restrict his time on the bike!


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