Communication, collaboration and the cloud during COVID-19


As organisations begin to understand the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on their business, Jumar’s IT Infrastructure Manager, Adam Bell, offers practical advice to help organisations operate ‘business as usual’ whilst remote-working and social distancing. Three key areas were raised as part of an integral strategy.

These are:

To ensure that social distancing and self-isolation are feasible, remote working using cloud-based technologies is key to ensure effective communication. Work colleagues, customers, partners and suppliers can leverage these tools no matter which device they use creating ease of communication across different platforms. If your organisation does not already have access to online conferencing systems or other online communication tools, many large providers are now offering access to free versions of their software such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Webex and GoToMeeting. By selecting a communication solution from a large well-established organisation such as these, this provides the reassurance that the solution offers greater compliance and security to protect your business and reputation.

Online collaboration:
The second thing to consider is how to make it as easy as possible for your staff to be productive when working from home. To work on projects collectively you need to consider if the solution encourages collaborative working and secure file sharing. Microsoft Teams for example allows you to easily share files or work on them together at the same time. The files are also stored onto SharePoint which gives greater flexibility on how the documents are accessed whilst making sure data security compliance policies are adhered to. Another option could be to store and share files via OneDrive. Online collaboration tools such as these are particularly useful if your staff don’t have access to work equipment and need to work on their personal devices such as mobile, PC or laptop.

Cloud strategy:
If there isn’t one already, a cloud strategy needs to be put into place. For instant quick wins, you may want to consider what free tools, perhaps at consumer level, are available with sufficient bandwidth to support your business in the immediate future. This will give you the breathing space to consider your next steps.

Assessing individual areas/ components of your cloud strategy is a good way to see if the solution fits your cost/ business needs. As larger organisations are offering free solutions to help with the initial concern over the coronavirus (COVID-19) this provides a perfect opportunity to trial them. Additionally, if you haven’t already done so, create a trial run where everyone in your organisation works from home for the day to see if your chosen solution can stand-up to the task.

Lastly, consider how your online solutions fit together and whether they facilitate secure sharing of data. Adam comments, ‘Our strategy is to standardise the solutions that we use across our business and limit the tools we use to one or two products for a specific job. This makes it easier to manage the IT infrastructure that we support but also allows users to learn from one another on how to better use these communication and collaboration tools.’

Jumar uses Microsoft’s range of integrated online solutions to support its business and those of its customers. If you need advice or guidance on the implementation of your online Microsoft solutions or have bespoke solutions that need to move to the cloud, we are happy to help discuss your challenges.

Alternatively, if your organisation is in the process of recruiting new staff, our sister company, Jumar Solutions, has provided some helpful tips to onboard your new team members remotely and welcome them into your business.

Our parting thoughts for all organisations grappling with their IT requirements, we leave you with a positive quote from Plato:

“Necessity is the mother of invention”