Over the past twelve months, we have seen huge forced changes in the IT industry, driven by our national requirements to ‘work from home where possible’. Onsite Domain Controllers and file servers have been becoming a thing of the past for years, well before Covid-19 was even named. Has the new world we now live in brought us forward to the remote working age that were always going to be getting towards anyway?

Home working in the garden Summer 2020

Covid-19 brought the world to a stop, and as a result massive struggles have sadly been placed on the hospitality, leisure and retail industry, along with suppliers to these industries. However, many industries have actually seen profits soar, and are likely to continue to do so post-pandemic, while other industries that are struggling now are set to flourish once the coronavirus pandemic is over.

Online meetings have introduced an element of normal life into our need to work from home. Who had actually heard of or used Zoom before all of the pandemic kicked off? Zoom’s stocks grew by 100% within the first two months of lockdown. Google provided the premium version of its platform Google Hangouts free until the end of September 2020, and Microsoft saw daily users of Teams jump from 32 million to 44 million during March 2020. Putting to one side the absolute godsend these platforms have been to keeping people connected during these uncertain days, increases in profits for small businesses have been recognised throughout companies based on meeting commute costs decreasing, office rental costs being removed from business balance sheets, along with greater productivity based around more time available to plan your day. Will anybody be impressed by city located fancy meeting rooms anymore?

Bowland IT has recognised that business owners are now investing in their IT, more than ever before! The moment that the government announced CIBLS (Coronavirus Interruption Business Loan Scheme) and the government backed bank loan scheme were announced, IT equipment sales soared. Microsoft reported a net income increase of 30% during the covid pandemic, and this figure is still increasing. Apple reported an all time high revenue at the end of their last financial year, surprisingly their wearable sales (smart watches) increased dramatically during 2020.

Is now the time to ditch your office based server?

We are seeing more companies than ever before switching to cloud based CRMs and accounts packages. This is reducing the needs of traditional IT support and replacing the need of software apps for sure and has been for some time, but companies are depending on their IT more than ever to drive profits. We no longer want IT systems to simply carry out a task, we also want them to run the whole job for us through use of smart automations. When I started my IT business as a one man band back in 2007 part time while working in IT departments within local government, I was supporting Sage Line 50 Accounts for clients and advising them to back up their data to LTO Ultrium backup tapes. If the covid pandemic happened 10 years ago, would we have even had a broadband infrastructure to cope with the home working demand, and could the virus have been even more fatal with the impossibilities of running businesses from home? People may have heard me say in the past, that the winners in IT are those who were in it from the early days of introduction to technology, but this pandemic has completely made me take this statement back. Who would have ever imagined that teachers would be able to teach a class of 30 children whilst in their slippers? Interestingly, in 2007 I started this IT company from the back bedroom of my home, and 13 years later I have now been working in a very different position in terms of company size, but back in a spare bedroom of my home again.

Oliver Alcock – Bowland IT’s Managing Director.
LTO Ultrium Backup Tape previously used to backup company data, now replaced by automated cloud-based solutions.
Oliver Alcock Bowland IT’s founder’s first office in back bedroom of his home. Photo taken 2008.