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RTR: Will this way of working ‘stick around’? – Sangoma

Simon Horton, VP of Sales, Europe at Sangoma spoke to Comms Business recently about what he believes will be some of the lasting changes we see following COVID-19

CBM: How has COVID impacted your proposition, what are you expecting to see going forwards?

SH: Obviously, knowledge worker type employees not going to a building to work, and working from home instead, and not travelling to see customers in trains, planes, or automobiles is having a large impact on the environment. Companies that would have never embraced WFH before are starting to understand that WFH is possible, may not negatively impact the business, and may even have a positive long-term impact. For them.

For instance, employees may be happier since they don’t have to commute and spend time in traffic. And companies utilizing current technology available such as video, to help customers remotely, or have team collaboration meetings, obviates at least some of the need for truck rolls or plane trips to go see them, thus saving the company money. Suddenly, work from home is more interesting since there may also be a financial benefit to the company.

These companies responded to a crisis by utilizing Unified Communications, which gives the ability for employees to work from home as if they are in the office, or gives employees more tools such as video to help customers remotely or do team collaboration. They did it and utilized UC because they had to. There wasn’t some altruistic reasons behind these decisions. It was just figuring out how to move forward.

What is my point with the above? Really that what we’ve been experiencing is likely to ‘stick around’ to a certain extent. We’ve had remote developers, and been successful utilizing them, for years. For us, this hasn’t been that large a change. But for other companies it has been. I see video collaboration tools becoming a large part of the SMB infrastructure.

CBM: How quickly do you feel the UK can recover from COVID?

SH: Let’s face it there is going to be a second wave so businesses need to be prepared to send their staff home again.

Also, the UK can’t recover independently, the moment we the world starts opening up borders again they’ll be an increase in cases – I think there needs to be more of a uniformed effort in how and travel is allowed again.

CBM: The analysts are talking about the UK hitting the worst recession in 300 years? Is the Channel in trouble?

SH: Only if they don’t change their offerings – there are opportunities right now and those who take advantage are the ones who’ll prosper. The channel needs to be agile and look at what will help their customers – right now it’s the need for UC; they need to learn more about it and how to sell it. Sangoma recently relaunched Switchvox UC in the UK and we’re currently educating our channel about the benefits for them and for their customers.

JUST A MINUTE

CBM: What have you learned from your lockdown?

SH: How painful it is to get up and change a DVD!! – we’ve got used to streaming content, but we wanted to watch box sets I already had on DVD

CBM: What are you most looking forward to when things get back to ‘normal’?

SH: Being able to watch sports on TV again and read the sports supplements in the Sunday papers.

CBM: What has been your best TV/ Film viewing during the lockdown?

SH: Watched 24 again from the start with the family – I remembered I had all the series on DVD from back in the day – although it was easier said than done! I had to go in the loft and find a DVD player and then decide which of the 4 of us had to get out of our seats to change the DVD disc!

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine