We are living and working through an extraordinary time. We’re all feeling the impact of this pandemic in one way or another. For countless businesses across all industries, the disruption has been severe. And there is a very human element to this, too. If a business cannot continue to operate, there are serious consequences that go far beyond the bottom line.
In the Asia-Pacific and Japan (APJ) region, many organizations have been forced to shift their mindset to think about their business continuity plans and remote work best practices and capabilities. It has been empowering to see organizations—particularly those that did not previously consider the need for remote work—identify creative ways to protect their workforce. At the same time, they’re delivering on their customer promises during a time when their services may be more important than ever.
Here are a few examples I’ve heard from APJ businesses in the past few months.
1. Diagnosing Patients in Guangzhou From Afar
The healthcare industry has undoubtedly been the most disrupted industry during this period. As hospitals focused on treating infections, it became critical that non-frontline staff were able to continue to treat other priority patients. People may typically think of medical staff needing to be available to physically see patients, even in one of the most human-to-human industries in the world. But technology has enabled some aspects of roles to be delivered remotely.
The Guangzhou Overseas Chinese Hospital and Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center protected non-frontline staff by setting up its 300-member medical imaging team to work remotely. By making all X-ray, CT and MRI images available on a virtual desktop through the cloud, 300 doctors accessed this vital service at all hours from any location. This meant that productivity during this crucial time was unaffected.
2. Keeping Enterprises’ Finances Afloat
Periods of unexpected circumstances lead to unforeseen financial difficulties for many businesses. During this time, access to finance and transformation support is critical, particularly for underserved small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) borrowers.
My team recently worked with Chailease International Finance Co., Ltd., a professional financial leasing company. They provide systematic and comprehensive financial services for SMEs.
We helped Chailease International to rapidly scale their virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) to support 60 percent of the remote working needs of its employees. In only one week, they implemented about 600 virtual desktops. By making secure virtual desktops available to staff online, employees worked from home with exactly the same technology experience as the office. Because of this swift response, Chailease International customers experienced no drops in service.
3. A New Meaning to Taking a Call from Home
A traditional call center setup involves many people seated in close proximity for long stretches of time. To remain operational and protect the health of its employees, the largest call center of a leading Chinese telecom operator in the region spun up a virtual call center. This quick action empowered approximately 20,000 employees to work remotely with only a simple internet connection—all with no downtime for customer inquiries.
Once installed, the telecom company realized that it could offer this virtual call center solution to its business customers, who were also looking for best-practice remote working solutions.
4. Studying at Home
With social distancing and “shelter in place” mandates, many schools and colleges shifted to online learning platforms. Digital education platforms empower teachers and students with excellent remote experiences. Administrative staff also benefit from capabilities like digital document signing and verification processes, ensuring unexpected situations like class suspensions don’t negatively impact operations.
To support "uninterrupted learning," National Taipei University in Taiwan built an online learning platform and successfully deployed 100 new virtual desktops. Now, the educator can teach as they did in physical classrooms, including rollcall, group discussions and more. In addition, virtual desktops also enable teachers to manage course progress and students’ learning status. With the help of software tools, teaching is now enriched and efficient, helping maintain consistent quality and positive experiences.
Leading through Disruption
The pandemic has already changed the future of work. Companies are really thinking about their digital transformation strategies and how teams collaborate and serve customers. They’re also finding smarter ways of getting business done.