CTECH’s Carl Fransen Discusses Economy 2.0 with Stuart Crawford on the Calgary Tech Talk Podcast

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way the world does business and has provided a rude awakening to new workplace realities for organizations that cannot adapt quickly.
In a recent interview with Stuart Crawford from Ulistic on the Calgary Tech Talk podcast, CTECH President and CEO talked about the effect of Covid-19 on Canadian businesses. He discusses the impact of government measures to protect companies and why organizations in Canada need to use technology to adapt to what he calls “the New Normal.”

The Effect of the Pandemic on CTECH

For a short time, as the business world came to terms with what was happening around them, the CTECH CEO says that there was no new business. However, what he noted was that there were new opportunities that disguised themselves as challenges. The company’s response was to find ways to make the most of a strange, unique situation.

“We have been digging through our core skill set and trying to figure out what’s going to work what’s not going to work in this, ‘the New Normal,'” he says. “We are redoing our products we’re first off we’re trying to guess what’s going to happen like three to four months from now what do our clients need, what do businesses want and in what way do they want to want them to be delivered.”

He added that because CTECH is technically a smaller medium-sized company, carrying out a massive overhaul of infrastructure and changing product offerings was a daunting task. However, it gave him an idea of what his clients and many other SMEs were going through and motivated the CTECH team to find tech solutions.

A Gradual Return to Projects on Hold

One of the main things that Fransen sees currently, particularly in tech, is a gradual return to projects stalled by the pandemic.

He says, “A lot of people I work with are saying that their projects that on hold at the beginning of Covid-19 are now starting to come through and people are starting to move. I can tell you with almost certainty that it’s not the COVID going away, but I think there’s a certain level of acceptance that this is here now.”

The number of new projects has also started to increase in what he terms as a “second wave” or Economy 2.0. The new post-COVID-19 economy has seen government and enterprises loosen many of the restrictions that had put a deep freeze on business activity, with anything that can no longer wait to be done, getting done now.

Companies like CTECH are putting in place measures to help their clients ensure that the stalled projects get started.

According to the CTECH CEO, “Here at CTECH, we instituted a deferred billing payment plan, which means that we will do the work right now, but we’re not going to charge for it. You buy the hardware and the subscription, and after that, we’re going to wait two, three, or four months until we give you the invoice.”

Business Agility Is the Long Term Survival Strategy for Economy 2.0, Not Government Loans

When the Covid-19 pandemic first hit, it caused an economic wave where many companies in Canada and worldwide hit a deep freeze. The business essentially shut down. This freeze created a new economic reality that Carl Fransen calls the “first Wave” or Economy 1.0.

Realizing the potential impact this freeze could have on the economy, the Canadian government provided SMEs, including CTECH, with $40,000 loans and CEWS wage subsidies. There were also rent subsidies for landlords who chose to take advantage of the facility. CTECH and a few other companies quickly adapted to the new reality and could ride out the first wave, with the tech company even making a modest profit.

However, Carl predicts that a second economic reality (Economy 2.0) is going to be hitting Canada the next two to three months requiring businesses to find solutions other than government loans.

Small businesses with large overheads quickly dug into the $40,000 loans and have depleted the funds. There is no attestation that the Canadian government will offer more funding to these businesses, yet they have static overheads and staff costs but lower business volumes.

Businesses will have to quickly figure out ways to lower their overheads to ensure they can provide service to their customers but at a lower cost. One of the ways he suggests is by having company staff use their own devices at home instead of opening more offices.

“It’s not going to be building those big skyscrapers anymore. It’s not going to have a lot of staff going to offices and sharing a drink amongst a water cooler,” he says. “It’s going to be a more modern workplace; bring your device, your desktop.”

However, for smaller businesses without massive tech budgets, they will need help from a managed IT solutions provider to prepare them for distributed work.

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