Article by Mohamad Rizk, Manager System Engineers, Middle East at Veeam.
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 transformation 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, in addition to negatively impacting a company’s reputation and revenue. In the latest Veeam market & customer survey conducted with ESG, the 2017 Veeam Availability Report, CIOs reported that downtime incidents are on the rise, costing Middle East enterprises an average of $21.8 million annually. On top of the financial damage, there’s always irreparable damage to reputation and customer confidence. The study shows that more than half (57%) of regional enterprises see a loss of customer confidence and 48% experienced damage to brand integrity, which affect both brand reputation and customer retention. Looking at internal implications, nearly half of respondents (43%) see diminished employee confidence and 30% have experienced a diversion of project resources to ‘clean up’ the mess. 48% say impact is reduced stock price, which along with loss in customer confidence is their biggest concern.
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.
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 have services always available – 24.7.365.