This article first appeared in the Winter issue of The Record.
The lightning-fast pace of technological innovation is forcing organisations to change the way they operate or risk falling behind. As IT leaders and analysts say, every company is now becoming a software company.
We’ve entered a new era of the always-on enterprise, where businesses operate globally on an 24/7/365 basis, and where IT services and applications must run continuously. The need to deliver round-the-clock access to applications and data has never been more critical. Companies want to ensure business continuity and thus cope with the new demands of their customers, employees and partners to remain competitive.
Mobility, connected devices, cloud technologies and virtualisation are transforming business operations in every industry. Healthcare organisations are improving patient outcomes with digital patient records. Financial services companies are delivering mobile banking while keeping pace with growing regulations. Manufacturers are driving efficiencies and cutting costs through logistics. Higher education institutions are keeping students and faculties connected with apps, data and virtual classrooms across devices. Retail companies are finding new ways to interact with customers to keep their registers ringing, both online and in store.
The digital revolution is having a huge impact on how products and services are created and delivered, and how your customers interact with you. As Forrester says in its 2014 Software Must Enrich Your Brand report: “Your customers increasingly interact with your products and services directly through the software they touch. If the software fails – or fails to delight – the brand suffers.”
The highest spending IT budgets are allocated to improve the customer experience. Customer loyalty, which plays a primary role for every company and covers all industries, relies on them having confidence in uninterrupted and always available services. Companies spend billions on building brands and getting loyal customers, but all these efforts and investments can be lost or seriously damaged very quickly.
Internal events like power failures and negligence, or even external things like hacking, lightning and flooding, may undermine the proper functioning of a company. This can cause the loss of key data, and also a company’s reputation and revenue. In a recent Veeam survey, chief information officers reported that downtime increased in 2015 to an average of 15 unplanned downtime events, costing US$16 million annually. On top of the financial damage, there’s always irreparable damage to reputation and customer confidence.
Two years ago, WhatsApp, the world’s largest messaging app, was down for about three and a half hours. The cost of this outage was really dramatic. On that day alone its competitor Telegram reported as many as 1.8 million new downloads with 4.95 million coming the day after.
Even internet giant Google hasn’t been able to steer clear of unexpected downtime. In August 2015, a lightning bolt struck electrical equipment used by its data centre in Belgium. This incident caused 12 hours of downtime and was a big inconvenience for its users.
To take unexpected outages in stride, give their users the experience they demand, and deliver services continuously, global brands are changing their entire data protection strategy. Legacy backup software just can’t get the job done anymore, with enterprises shifting to modern availability solutions which provide the required level of protection, availability, technology integration and help to reduce cost and complexity.
Lessons from the Fortune 500 companies clearly show how investments in an integrated data availability solution together with virtualisation, modern storage systems and cloud technologies help to increase customer satisfaction rates. Thus, Volvo used Veeam Backup & Replication to improve the availability of their dealer management system in Belgium and Luxembourg and minimise the risk of losing their data. Now their dealerships are always-on when it comes to selling and servicing Volvo cars.
Another business case comes from Telefonica Germany. Network availability is a top business priority for this telecommunication company with 49 million customers. By making Veeam Availability Suite solution a part of its IT strategy, Telefonica now delivers the highest level of customer satisfaction, offering a 24/7/365 network.
It’s not easy to keep customers around in today’s highly competitive market, but it’s even more difficult to meet their expectations and keep them satisfied. Digital transformation is making companies rethink the role of IT in their business and dictates the need to adopt and properly balance modern technologies and solutions for the benefit of the business. Your investment in IT today will pay out for your brand loyalty tomorrow. If you want to provide better customer experience and get higher customer satisfaction rates, your business should be always-on with its applications and services always available – 24/7/365.
Stefan Gass is vice president marketing, digital marketing and global campaigns at Veeam
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