2021 planning starts now

Leighton Rosendale Application Integration, Business Continuity / Disaster Recovery, Cloud, Collaboration, Communication, Cybersecurity, Unified Communications

Put yourself in the driver’s seat –

We can all agree that 2020 blew up a lot of strategic plans. The message appeared in giant skywriting from above – ‘humans make plans, and the universe laughs. Unfortunately for most of us, the laugh is usually uncontrollable, and it’s directly in our faces. So, does that mean that business owners should say screw it and avoid planning?  Who cares about your 2021 plan? Is that the answer?

Unfortunately, no. While it’s tempting to skip the time and investment that goes into planning – because, let’s face it, things inevitably change, it’s still necessary and valuable. Since we’re all a little shell shocked –  we’re still going through massive shifts in what was once familiar – what should your 2021 plan even look like? Is there a blueprint to help guide you? At CTG, we say ‘yes, there is!’ Regardless of what’s going on – economic uncertainty, flare-ups, and changing COVID-19 restrictions, there are some things you can still trust. Whatever the uncertainties going on, to move forward with your business, there are healthy steps. Let’s dive into our top recommendations for mapping out your 2021 plan. 

  1. Cloud technology/VoIP will become more important, not less – It’s an understatement to say that communication and collaboration in business have significantly changed over the last few years, and even over the previous few months. While remote working took center stage in the winter/early spring of 2020, it’s clear a more hybrid approach – where office workers work remotely at least one day a week will become the norm. This development reinforces the fact that cloud-based phone systems are becoming even more critical. Hosted voice solutions meet the need by providing communication and collaboration in the physical office and remote workers. The digital era is the most manageable, flexible, and cost-effective way of accomplishing both. 
  2. Security needs don’t go away – With more mobile devices than ever before and more work happening outside the corporate firewall. Planning 2021 with a reliable security strategy will never hurt your business. Look for cyber defenses that bring managed detection and response, security information & event management (SIEM), and counterintelligence features. Threat hunting tools that can proactively find and prevent evading attackers will also benefit your organization, regardless of how 2021shakes out. 
  3. Making your app ecosystem work together – We talked about achieving ‘application integration bliss’ in our post last month. Data silos and friction within apps and communications are productivity killers, not to mention they frustrate employees and customers alike. To keep day-to-day operations running smoothly, dedicate time to building application integration that can help you tie together otherwise disparate processes, whether that’s workflows and business productivity tools like Office 365 or client communication tools like CRM applications and cloud-based communication systems. By tying these things together, companies have greater chances of driving productivity and ROI, regardless of what’s happening in the outside world.
  4. Get a disaster recovery and BC plan in place – Next on your list of must-haves for the coming year is mapping out a current disaster recovery and business continuity plan. This should include an outline for protecting internal systems, data, and employees through protocols that help keep IT and the business moving forward during and after a disruption. We recommend a two-pronged approach – first, ensuring internal teams know the plan, and that communication systems and workflows stay on course with the proper backups in place. The second phase is making sure the external factors are covered. By designating roles and mapping out a communication plan for reaching out to customers and partners, they’ll be in the know in the event of outages or other issues. Taking these steps will let customers know they’re priority number one and that your company is accountable.
  5. Consider getting help – For companies that need help in some of these areas, there are also innovative ways to team up with IT partners. For example, at CTG, we offer co-managed IT and specialized expertise in many of these areas. We also provide management and automation tools that are cost-effective and help you get the most out of your internal IT team. 

Following these guidelines will put your organization in the driver’s seat, regardless of how events unfold over the next several months and into 2021.  Do you need help putting together your go-to plan for next year? Have specific IT needs we can help meet, or do you need a trusted co-managed IT partner? Call or email us! We love brainstorming creative technology solutions to solve business problems. Let’s do this!