Looking beyond the crisis: implications of the coronavirus pandemic on key technology areas

Digital technologies have played a significant role in the coronavirus pandemic by enabling businesses to operate through the crisis. But what effect will the pandemic have on technology in the longer term, once the initial peak of the disease has subsided?

We in the Orange Consulting Europe team have been asking ourselves this question and, as a result, are working on a series of papers on the subject. The views expressed in these papers do not reflect those of Orange Business; they are the ideas, predictions and insight of the writers and the contributors. We have drawn on feedback from sources across the Orange eco-system and included insights from the consulting teams, sales teams and our customers. The first paper on enterprise networks is now available and will be shared on my LinkedIn profile.

Predicting the future is a fraught business. The timing, impact and likelihood of predicted events are often inaccurate, exaggerated or plain wrong. That said, making predictions is a necessary activity. “If you don't think about the future, you cannot have one,” as the English novelist John Galsworthy remarked.

Immediate impact

In the initial phase of the coronavirus crisis, Orange saw an unprecedented level of activity to support our customers in changing parts of their IT enterprise architecture. There was a huge urgency to move from an environment where users were based in customer premises to one where users were working remotely. This transformation required upgrades of multiple platforms. In many cases, it was without the required change control processes being observed. Orders for remote access software were expedited, and customers have settled into this new way of working.

In all cases, the infrastructures that support this change are working well (if creaking a little under the increased workload). There has also been a change in work etiquette. On conference calls, we have become more tolerant of children appearing on video calls and dogs barking. Business has become more informal. Like many managers, I am keen to allow some small talk to take place at the start of a call; previously, I could be impatient and want to immediately get to the work-related topic.

So, what comes next? What will be different in the way we work together and use technology? Specifically, what will be the impact on the use of the technology areas in which Orange Business specializes?

Preparing for the future

It’s unlikely that organizations will be specifically planning for the next viral pandemic. What the coronavirus has done is present an unprecedented and global event that has revealed the level of preparedness for disruption. It has also created an opportunity for organizations to begin or accelerate transformation in technology areas.

The future will present more disruptive events. The top five long-term risks identified by the World Economic Forum in 2020 were all environmental impacts of human-made climate change, and it’s likely that this will be the cause of national, regional and global disruption in the future. Indeed, damage to the environment is a driver for pandemics such as these, by creating opportunities for viruses from wild animals to make the jump to humans.

Impact on the enterprise network

In our first paper, we review the potential future impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the enterprise network. Specifically, we look at four different areas: homeworking, software defined networks, the “new normal” in the office and connected objects in the workplace. You can download the paper directly below. We hope it sparks some debate in your organization.

What is the long-term impact on enterprise networks of the new working practices necessitated by the coronavirus? Download our whitepaper, Enterprise Networks in the New Normal, to learn more.

Tom Gavin
Tom Gavin

Tom Gavin has been Head of Orange Consulting Europe since 2019. Previously he has held roles in sales and management. Tom lives in London and has three daughters. He spends his spare time as a post graduate student at the Computing Department at the University West London and walking his dogs.