Working Through the Outages (Not Around Them)

With the threat of more power outages looming in South Africa’s future, businesses are scrambling to find ways to keep working. The topic of ‘generators’, ‘invertors’ and even Tesla’s new wonder battery seems to be on the lips of every COO, and the cost of implementing  these power alternatives is starting to hurt the bottom lines of many companies across the country.

This has sparked another round of conversation about business continuity planning. CIOs are sitting with CEOs, COOs and CFOs and answering questions like ‘’how can we continue to operate during load-shedding?’’ and ‘’what are the economic implications of load-shedding for our business if we can’t?’’

With Eskom warning of another two to three years of a tightened power grid and possible load-shedding, businesses need to act quickly to shed their dependence on the grid where possible.

So what’s the solution? The reality is that South African businesses need to work through the outages and not around them. Here is our list of considerations for businesses:

- Move your IT infrastructure to the cloud. Instead of being reliant on your server (which is attached to your power grid or your expensive generator) partner with a third party business that has multiple data centers on different power grids and a multitude of generators to safely store your data.

- Give your staff secure access to their mailboxes from any mobile device at any time. Let them work at a coffee shop or home, or from your customer’s office if they choose - because they can!

- Know your load-shedding schedule and communicate it to staff; encouraging meetings to take place off-site during the outages. Help staff to manage their outage time wisely and work on admin, arrange customer meetings at coffee shops or their offices. Why not hold team meetings offsite or outside in the sunshine?

Now is the right time to take a step back and fundamentally reassess how businesses in South Africa cope with load-shedding. The prize for this rethink is great - if we can bring down the estimated R80 billion per month load-shedding costs, it could unleash the potential for growth South Africa has been promising for so many years. Let’s switch on business continuity and keep South Africa working through load-shedding!