It was perhaps inevitable that the services we all rely on would creak as much of the world returned to work today. And a glance at DownDetector confirms that with millions working from home and hundreds of millions of unread messages to get through, some of the world’s biggest enterprise focused services are feeling the strain.

Most obviously, Slack was down for several hours during the day, to the annoyance of workers venting about it on Twitter.

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These misfortunes should open up fresh conversations as we head into the second year of the pandemic. Enterprise resilience has been sorely tested across the last year. Very swiftly, businesses had to reassemble supply chains, reconfigure internal and external systems, and empower as many employees as they could with the tools they needed to work from home. In the second phase, they began to tweak their deployments as it became clear that the battle against COVID-19 would be a marathon, not a sprint.

Now, it seems clear that the nature of what may be a fast-mutating disease means many of the changes will be permanent, not temporary. That will impact employee expectations in the sense we will want to work remotely where we can, and it affects the nature of business and business services will have to continue to evolve.

One of the early outcomes from the first phase of the pandemic was a decision to reduce the bitrate of streamed media across Europe as streaming services recognized the need to reduce the load on stretched broadband services to protect European business and infrastructure.

The service availability problems faced by Slack and others reflects the same challenge, and it’s one that demands robust investment in broadband infrastructure on an international basis. This investment should extend across both the “pipes” that carry information and the servers that provide it. This really should be a clarion call of warning to enterprises everywhere.

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