Head of Sales and Marketing, Virgin Media Business
As Irish enterprises emerge from the pandemic, technology can be the secret to business growth as we embrace hybrid working.
Businesses across Ireland can boost their productivity and customer experience by adopting a new next-generation networking service.
A cloud-based SD-WAN solution (software-defined networking in a wide area network) is being rolled out nationwide by Virgin Media Business Ireland, helping companies adapt to hybrid working. It will keep data secure while enabling enterprises to optimise their data to gain a competitive advantage.
The SD-WAN approach uses cloud-native software to connect enterprise networks (including across different sites and data centres) with more open and flexible hardware. Businesses no longer need to buy additional services and bandwidth to access cloud-based applications.
Large organisations can also access cloud data, applications and software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based offerings from multiple branch sites.
Virgin Media Business has partnered with Versa Networks to provide a fully managed package covering both the software and the network elements of SD-WAN.
Emer Kelly, Head of Sales and Marketing at Virgin Media, says some enterprises are reluctant to adopt SD-WAN solutions because of perceived data security concerns.
“It is essential in a hybrid environment to keep business and customer data secure,” says Kelly. “You need to know who is accessing data and systems in real time and ensure it is easy to stay up-to-date with internal and industry security standards. You also need to control access to systems and data based on people’s clearance levels.”
The Virgin Media Business solution offers next-generation cloud security, traffic encryption, an integrated firewall and a central management platform.
Invest for the future
Many organisations are also put off migrating to a cloud solution because they view digital transformation as too complex. Yet ageing infrastructure can hold businesses back.
An investment in SD-WAN enables enterprises to optimise and modernise their systems quicker and cost-effectively.
“This is about maximising the return on investment an enterprise has already made in technology and improving productivity by simplifying existing systems,” says Kelly. “It also makes it easier to share data insights.”
Businesses also need to react quickly to different levels of demand across different sites and locations. With a SD-WAN solution, sites can be connected using a central platform and portal that employees manage remotely.
“Companies want their staff to be able to use the technology and be productive from day one on a new site. This technology also provides better visibility of products and people across different locations to help with deployment decision making.”
Customer experience boosts growth
Research by McKinsey & Company reveals that 73% of us say customer experience impacts our purchasing decisions. Yet employees can only give customers what they want if they have the right tools and are empowered to make decisions.
Being able to collect real-time customer data has a direct impact on growth because it helps to provide a frictionless experience. Enterprises can use the SD-WAN technology to react quickly to how customers are behaving at a particular time and share data effectively between different channels. It also means employees working at different sites can forecast more accurately.
Making it work for employees
According to Insight: The Employee Experience – only 29% of employees are happy with the technology they use at work and many are prepared to quit because of it.
The secret to business growth post-pandemic will be to adapt to people’s digital needs in a hybrid world while keeping data secure. This means connecting all company and personal devices in a smooth and safe way.
“Employees need fast and secure access to critical business applications and databases wherever they are,” says Kelly. “It’s important that employees always have access to the digital tools and resources they need to serve their customers.”