How the IT services company headquartered in Westport, CT is shifting their client servicing strategies and transitioning their team to a remote work environment.
The technology industry - especially within the business sector - finds itself uniquely positioned in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. While industries like travel, retail, and entertainment are struggling to find relevance with their offerings, a natural need for timely business technology services has emerged with organizations transitioning to a remote world. According to eMarketer, the terms “virtual meetings” and “digital transformation” have seen a combined 65% increase in Google searches in February-March 2020 compared to last year.
Although the need for remote tools and services exist, organizations within the IT industry are still faced with a variety of challenges - such as learning how to service clients with an entirely new set of needs, scaled back IT budgets, and increased cyber security risks.
James Beck, Principal of Synergy Corporate Technologies, spoke with MediaCrossing on some of the ways COVID-19 has impacted his IT services business, and how his team has successfully made the transition to servicing clients virtually.
Recognizing the Emerging Needs of the Clients
For over 20 years, Synergy has made themselves a go-to provider for a multitude of services within the business technology category, including digital transformation solutions, digital strategy, and project and managed services.
As a new wave of unplanned work-from-home organizations begin to emerge, there has been an uptick in the need for remote technologies, tools, and services. According to Beck, integrating video conferencing services, more aggressive adoption of cloud technologies, and increasing cyber security awareness have been just a few areas of need that have surfaced amongst Synergy’s clientele during the COVID-19 crisis.
Recognizing the evolving needs of their customers, Synergy leveraged their service approach to be as supportive as possible during this time. Rather than trying to upsell new products or services to their clients, Synergy has focused their efforts on helping them utilize their existing investments more effectively. In addition to this, Synergy has been educating their clients on the importance of business continuity, data backup, and cyber security awareness in order to mitigate the risks that come with working remotely outside of the traditional office environment.
Meeting Client Needs with Support Focused Strategies
During his discussion with MediaCrossing, Beck described two support focused strategies that he and his team have been honing in on during this time:Helping Clients Leverage Their Existing Investments (Tools + Systems)
Ensuring that employees' at-home workspaces are set up for success has been a top priority for many organizations during this time. While collaboration tools like Zoom and Slack have seen large spikes in user growth, Beck and his team have encouraged clients to look within their existing tech portfolio before integrating any new systems.
For example, when clients have questioned the value of implementing a new video conferencing software, Beck and his team have often recommended tools that are already licensed and paid for, such as Microsoft Teams in lieu of Zoom or Slack but with a similar toolset, before making any new investments. By taking this approach, an organization may be able to avoid the headache of having to onboard a new platform remotely, while being able to maximize their investment against pre-existing tools and security integrations.
Providing Business Continuity Support + Cyber Awareness Education
When asked about some of the challenges the IT industry has been currently facing, Beck explained that phishing and other email attacks have become more prevalent, due to increased usage of home networks that often lack proper cyber security controls. Because of this, he and his team at Synergy team have been working diligently to educate their clients on the importance of securing their data and intellectual property, as well as being able to recognize a phishing or hacking attempt. Cyber awareness training and the implementation of multi-factor authentication have been key focus areas for the team as they help their clients mitigate these, now significant, security risks.
In addition to increased security, many Synergy clients have taken an interest in accelerating the migration of key assets to the cloud. Beck explained that for many clients, this has always been an area of interest, but in light of recent events, it has become more of a necessity in order to enhance both data access and business continuity.
Setting Synergy up for Remote Success
Although their services are considered essential, Synergy has downsized their office presence by about 90% to ensure the safety for their employees during this time. Though the company has instilled new work-from-home policies, Beck described the transition as “pretty seamless.”
In terms of team communication, Synergy encourages their employees to always remain “video ready,” as there’s immense value in being able to brainstorm and problem solve face-to-face. The company has implemented weekly “town hall meetings” that give their teams a chance to connect and catch up and discuss any updates. In addition to this, Synergy employees are reminded to maintain a regular work routine and reasonable hours, in an effort to make the “new normal” just feel, normal.
Within Synergy’s portfolio, certain services are predicted to have long-term sustainability, while others may experience fluctuations or drop-offs during this time.
According to Beck, the need for digital strategy services amongst some clients has subsided, with many organizations moving into “self preservation mode.” On the flipside, digital transformation services like intranet development and workflow automation have seen a spike, as clients are taking the time to step-up their internal communications and streamline manual processes that are difficult, if not impossible, to carry out as they have been traditionally.
Looking ahead, Beck predicts the transition back into the office for many organizations will be a “highly phased” process. He expressed that although this time has proven that work can be done just as efficiently at home, some forms of team collaboration are still better done in person. In the meantime, Synergy will continue to service clients with a support-first mindset - customizing their strategies to fit the emerging needs within the IT industry.
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