With the recent disaster in our beloved ex bank building, one of Belfasts most iconic and historic buildings, business’s must be asking themselves – Just how would we cope after such a disaster?
- Do they just stop trading?
- How do they liaise with customers?
- Have they even a phone number to be contacted on by their insurance company?
- Can staff work from home in the meantime?
- How do they help their staff overcome such a life changing moment?
I don’t believe any business can be prepared for such disasters that Belfast City Centre has faced this week, no matter how many fire drills are carried out. Thankfully there has been very little causalities, physically anyway, I’m sure staff and members of the public will be mentally scarred for life.
We will all be looking at what the next steps are for the business, can they pop up shop in a different location? Is the building going to need to be demolished? But there are a lot more fundamental basics that the organisation will face before they face the bigger steps.
Just how do they communicate with their customers and staff?
After seeing first hand the building blazing, it got me thinking how much technology can help us prepare for such disasters without being experts in the field.
If every business had a Disaster Recovery plan in place for both computing and telephony, it will make life significantly easier when needing to communicate after such disasters. Even for the SME sector, we can all have a plan in place, and it shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg.
Most of us use cloud computing to some degree currently, ask yourself, if you had to work from a remote location at short notice could you access all you need to run the business? If yes, your grand.
Now ask yourself, could customers still call you on the main landline and you can operate as normal without being in the office? For most cases the answer is no.
It seems businesses have seen significant value with moving their data and computing services to the cloud, yet when talking about their phone system this is still we want the cheapest possible.
Not all VoIP solutions are the same
When making considerations moving your phone system to the cloud, start thinking of disasters such as Primark and ask questions around specific scenarios to ensure your covered no matter what the situation.
- Can my workers work from home with their desk phone on their computer?
- Can customers still contact us on the landline number and hear our announcements / IVR’s etc
- Will my voicemails still be accessible?
- Can I make outbound calls while still presenting my office number?
These are just some questions you will need to take into consideration when moving to VoIP, whether that be an on-premise solution or hosted. We all take for granted the basics of turning into the office, until the day that we no longer can.
A huge company such as Primark we’d all like to think will be prepared for such disasters, however how many other SME’s are now affected around them?
Let’s be proactive instead of reactive.