COVID19 , microsoft 365 , Modern Workplace , remote workforce , | 2020/06/01 at 10:43am

Observations on five common customer archetypes from COVID-19

With some semblance of life normality returning, it is a good opportunity to reflect on some of the broad archetypes of customers that been engaging with Insync during the past few months.

The following are observations, not criticisms. Consider this as food for thought regarding where some customers are at, and where our own organisation is at, in terms of approaching a return to the workplace. This is not meant to be an in-depth look at business models or economic stability, – this is purely focused on workplace productivity and technology posture.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that some of the COVID-19 procedures and restrictions will be with us for a while and could become the new normal. In fact, this experience could fundamentally change workplace design, commercial office, and workplace infrastructure as well as culture and career opportunities – with both positive and negative ramifications.

Five customer archetypes, their modern workplace maturity, and their key concerns

1.   The “We got this” customer

This customer hasn’t experienced any real trauma from the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Instead they have been able to respond effectively to the pandemic in terms of workforce productivity through existing remote working solutions or by providing employees with effective means to continue their work from home, or any remote location.

This customer hasn’t needed any specific improvements to their technology platforms and has been able to stay focused on business as usual whilst maintaining productivity.

This customers’ biggest concern is the return of the workforce and managing a reduced office / workplace presence with safe and consistent hygiene practices.

 

2.   The “We’re OK, but it’s good to know you’re around” customer

This customer is apprehensive about the current conditions. Their concern is driven by several factors including economic confidence, workplace stability and technology capability.  They’re not sure what’s going to happen, and how it will affect the direction of their organisation.

It is more than likely that the customer has rolled out some cloud collaboration or communication tools quickly, perhaps without the necessary due diligence and attention to governance and control. They may have experienced some viral adoption of a platform. It is also likely that this customer has not had the bandwidth to strategise and consider how said platform will perform in the future.

Verticals with a high number of these customers include travel and hospitality, retail, and consumer goods. This customer is just hanging on in terms of providing their workforce with relevant tools and platforms to get their work done and isn’t investing in anything unless it is directly related to driving revenue, cutting costs or maintaining business as usual.

This customer is appreciative of Insync’s presence as an insurance with regards to managed services or stop-gap measures around business continuity.

 

3.   The “This doesn’t really apply to us” customer

This customer is our biggest concern arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the customer that hasn’t really understood the implications of the pandemic in regard to safe work practices, remote working solutions and work flexibility to maintain productivity of their workforce.

Typically, this is the customer that wasn’t prepared for remote working and as a result sends home desktop PCs with monitors and keyboards. Their employees can’t access organisational resources remotely or can only do so via a heavily congested VPN. This results in remote workers lacking the ability to communicate, collaborate or even access organisation line of business applications, files and the systems required to get work done.

Inevitably, this impacts their organisation’s ability to respond and maintain service delivery for their customers. It also puts more load on a skeleton crew of staff that may be operating out of a workplace out of necessity.

This customer’s IT function is under huge pressure to respond. This is a red flag; pressure of this magnitude can endanger the business model or longevity of the organisation.

 

4.   The “Our investments are paying off” customer

This customer is on their way to thriving through this period. This isn’t necessarily a reflection of their business model or ability to cope with economic challenges, but their workforce has the tools, skills and cultural approach to succeed in this climate.

The customer has previously invested in cloud platforms, collaboration tools and a seamless remote / flexible working experience, and it shows. When lockdown began, their workforce was able to migrate to other places of work, generally the home, with ease. From there, staff could conduct their regular business, collaborate, and communicate with peers and customers, completely unencumbered by ageing technology and architecture approaches.

This customer is well set to continue to operate in a COVID-19 impacted world, either through a hybrid workforce (some organisations are proposing a staggered / wave approach to reintroducing staff to the workplace) or a permanent shift to remote working.

 

5.   The “What do we do now?” customer

And last but not least, the customer who is wary about the changing restrictions with regards to safe workplace practices and a return to work. Some of the issues we have been juggling ourselves and with customers include:

  • What do I do about hotdesking? What kind of cleaning regime should we instigate?
  • How should we reintegrate our remote workforce toolset that we quickly rolled out?
  • What impacts, from a policy and human resources perspective, will this have? Do I need to change my work from home policies and employee reimbursement for technology expenditure (internet, devices)?
  • Do we embed our remote working solutions into our business process, or line of business applications, to ensure our workforce can cope with potential breakouts or pandemic hotspots?
  • How do we up skill our workforce to make the most of the investment in the platforms and tools that we have had to make?
  • How do we maintain control and governance of organisational platforms and data with a distributed workforce?
What’s next?

Insync is in the same boat as a lot of customers and so we can relate to many of the concerns arising at this time. Because we practice the Modern Workplace we preach, we have been able to operate unimpacted by the pandemic. However, some of the questions raised will linger well after the restrictions are lifted. We continue to see customers investing in remote work and collaboration platforms and the demand for videoconferencing solutions has not abated, noting that product supply is still an issue.

Our sole focus is to support our customers in their business, whether it be small/medium corporates, enterprise customers or State and Local Governments. We can help our customers not just survive but thrive. We can do this through:

  • Remote work solutions – implementing, upskilling, and consolidating remote work practices and seamless access to organisations resources
  • Cost-optimisation of existing technology spend – focusing on core capability and consolidating costs where possible
  • Securing our platforms – ensuring security & compliance of the remote work platforms implemented during COVID-19
  • Improving meetings – improving customer skills around meetings and collaboration, inclusive of remote and local parties to remove friction and accelerate decision making
  • Workforce skilling – preparing our customers through technology for changes in workforce, business models and ability to adapt to changing circumstances.

If you identify with one of the customer archetypes above and want to know how to move forward in the right direction, Insync can help. We offer a range of Modern Workplace productivity solutions, including our new WFH Upskill, a 4-week, in-depth, remote program to advance your staff’s Microsoft 365 skills. Contact us to find out more.