In the months ahead, businesses across the UK will navigate the ‘new normal’. Dale Parkinson, wholesale sales director at Virgin Media Business, talks to Comms Business about how the company and its partners are preparing for the path ahead.
Dale Parkinson, wholesale sales director at Virgin Media Business, is already clear on the positive changes he wants to keep hold of after lockdown restrictions are eased. He explained, “This whole experience has been a massively human experience because, rather perversely, we’re all sat behind screens and yet we’ve probably found out more about our colleagues and their families and their lives than we ever would have done in the workplace.
“It’s wonderful to see because it just was not like this when I started work. It wasn’t that people weren’t interested in what was going on in your life, you just left a lot at the door when you went to work. That created so much pressure.”
Parkinson is equally excited by the fast adoption of new technologies throughout the pandemic. People have had to get familiar with new connectivity solutions simply to keep in touch with each other, or to get their jobs done. Maintaining this momentum post-pandemic could transform the UK economy. He pointed at a new study Virgin Media Business carried out with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) that showed sustained investment in transformative digital technologies could help grow UK GDP by £232bn, or 6.9 per cent, by 2040.
The research examined how more digital ways of working can support the UK’s economic recovery from Covid-19 and found investment in technology could boost the economy by £74bn in 2025. Parkinson explained, “What we’re trying to stimulate in our dialogue, both with our partners and with their customers, is: don’t waste this opportunity. If you look back through history, it’s often compelling events like this that drive hugely seismic change in the way people live and work.
“It feels like this is one of those opportunities where we’ve got the ability to do that. And we can grasp that opportunity if we make the right investments, but also if we make it really easy for people to take advantage of the breadth of technology.”
Weighing up possibilities
In Parkinson’s view, ensuring businesses and their employees understand their options will be vital. He said, “The simpler the technology, the simpler the interface and the experience, the more comprehensively it will be adopted. We don’t think twice now of opening up our Amazon app and clicking to order. We just do it because we’ve all been trained how to do it. There’s some very interesting dynamics at play, and I do think our industry has got to reflect on how easy it is making the adoption of digital transformation.”
Parkinson highlighted that digital transformation has been “kicking around” as a concept for years, with digital transformation used to describe the launch of GPRS in 2000. “This isn’t a new thing, but it’s about how can we use this momentum to really drive significant change. And, as our report with Cebr suggests, add significant value to the to the UK economy. We’re all fairly pumped about that opportunity.”
Virgin Media Business is clear on the role its partners can play in converting this potential into solid results. Parkinson explained, “The channel is the most brilliant community of innovation and ideas. That’s why I love it, because it’s the real deal. It’s where the reality of the services that are delivered connect with the customers’ experience of these services. The channel is brilliant at adapting to that connection point, and the services that they offer oftentimes complement the services that tier one vendors offer. That’s why they’re there.”
The Channel can help deliver the tailored solutions many verticals across the UK will require. Take the public sector, for example, where that Cebr research found digital processes in the public sector will create efficiency gains and cost-savings which, when invested in improved services and new infrastructure, could create a boost worth £75bn to national GDP by 2025. What’s more, investments to digitalise health and social care could be worth £33bn alone, while transforming justice, central and local government could be worth a further £32bn to the national economy.
Parkinson added, “We know that all of this smart and entrepreneurial innovation is just bubbling up. If we harness that, that’s the way that we can deliver the level of adoption needed, as well as finding simple routes to solving complex problems.”