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Cloud Collaboration and Covid-19

John Glover, Kahootz Sales & Marketing Director, highlights just how cloud collaboration is helping COVID-19 stakeholders work better, together.

The one defining characteristic of the COVID-19 has been the incredible speed and resultant global reach of the virus. From the first alerts in December 2019 to multiple country-wide lock-downs in March 2020, this pandemic has provided little time for government departments and businesses to implement emergency plans and roll-out supporting stakeholder communications infrastructures.

Fortunately, with access to agile and scalable cloud collaboration services, public sector organisations have been able to react quickly, enabling their stakeholders to come together online, to contribute and pool their resources, analytics and views in the war against COVID-19.

Team working across the health and care sector

In response to the fast-moving spread of COVID-19, NHS England’s future NHS collaboration platform has enabled the instant deployment of new national and regional online workspaces to share and co-create new policies and guidance for a whole range of critical issues such as; workforce planning; changes to discharging arrangements; management of Critical Care Capacity; a central repository of analytical resources on COVID-19; developing good practice for managing the pandemic in care homes; providing COVID-19 resources relevant to the safeguarding of children, young people, vulnerable adults and communities; managing mental and physical health issues; and new support notes for implementing GP video consultations, region-by-region.

The rapid configuration, ease of use and scalability of their cloud collaboration service has allowed NHS England to on-board an additional 42,000 NHS management staff, over just a couple of months, bringing together a collective of over 117,000 health and care professionals from across the county at a time when a coordinated response has never been more critical.

Multi-agency collaboration

In a similar way, the Cabinet Office Government Shared Services team have been able to quickly set up secure working areas for new cross-department task forces for 100’s of senior civil servants. One such online community involves all departmental Human Resource directors and senior managers who have needed to come together to quickly develop policies around leave planning and staff wellbeing, amongst other things.

Other notable examples of organisations that are benefiting from the scalability and accessibility of a cloud collaboration service, to provide additional team-working capacity during COVID-19, include the UK Ministry of Defence, HM Probation and Prison Service, Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Digital – whose Delen site currently provides an online clinical coding database which is accessed daily by 10,000’s of organisations globally and is also used to support collaborations with the World Health Organisation.

The pandemic and new ways of collaborating

With so many people restricted to working from home, the need for staying connected and improved team communications has never been more important. It seems that through necessity, traditional face-to-face company and project meetings are being effectively replaced by interactions in the virtual world through the use of collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Slack and Kahootz. Similarly, social and family gatherings are now being held via video conferencing tools such as Skype and Zoom, and we’ve even seen them adopted by members of the Royal Household.

It will be interesting to see, once we are all allowed to return to our offices if the use of these cloud services will drop off. My guess is that many will now question why certain meetings need to happen face-to-face, especially if travel is involved. Having proved its worth during the pandemic, as easy to use and quick to deploy, I believe collaborating via the cloud is here to stay and will become more prevalent.

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