GUEST COLUMN: Innovate Today While Solving for Tomorrow

By Ed Aaronson – VP, Cox Business Arizona

Innovation today for a post-COVID-19 future is not an opportunity, but rather a necessity. Everything has changed from the way we socialize, shop, and work to how we enjoy entertainment and receive healthcare. We agree with the Harvard Business Review that innovators addressing monumental and urgent challenges today should be solving for what society will need tomorrow. For example, out of the successful search for a Spanish Flu vaccine following the 1918 pandemic came discovery that DNA holds our genetic code.  In today’s COVID-19 world, reimagining how we work, learn, see the doctor and yes, even play during a worldwide pandemic is the challenge for tomorrow.

At Cox, we’re listening to our business and residential customers about how their lives have changed and what their expectations are from us in these uncertain times. We’re looking deep and our product managers are focused on what Cox services can do to support our customers and our community’s workforce right now and into the future. This means changing our processes without taking shortcuts and accelerating the pace of idea flow and decision making. One example is our technology supporting a seamless work-from-home experience. 

Like so many businesses, in the early 2000s, Cox tapped into its own technology and pioneered a “telework” solution for local customer care representatives.  This was originally launched to respond to a workforce looking for a flexible schedule.  Over the years, this concept and the technology supporting it was perfected and embraced by our team. When the threat of COVID-19 became apparent last spring, Cox relied on its deep fiber and cloud-based network to scale our remote-work solution for many of the 3,000+ Cox employees across the state.  We learned that we can harness the big brains in this company, evolve our technology and innovate new solutions quickly that are built to last. 

We’re not alone in seeing the broader benefits of our employees working from home.  According to a recent PwC survey of 330 US CFOs and finance leaders, many are looking to harness the flexibility, quick decision making, flat organizational structures and clearer communication benefits that have grown out of employees working from home.  According to PwC, 54 percent of the CFO’s surveyed say they plan to make remote work a permanent option for roles that allow it. 

Now we are taking many of the learnings we have come to appreciate in our own business, evolving our technology even further and have produced a Work-at Home solution for other Arizona companies.  This solution provides remote staff with enterprise-grade, separate internet connections from the office directly to their homes including Wi-Fi, endpoint security and a malicious domain blocker to help ensure staff members have the same highly reliable, quick connectivity they would have when working in the office. 

Our community is counting on great innovations as each of us faces change brought about by COVID-19.  While we don’t know what’s around the next corner, rest assured Cox is continuing to innovate new connectivity solutions that will help consumers and businesses adapt and continue to thrive in 2021 and beyond. 

Ed Aaronson is Vice President for Cox Business, Arizona. Cox Business provides voice, data, internet and managed cloud services for small and regional businesses nationwide, including health care providers; K−12 and higher education; financial institutions; and federal, state and local government organizations. Cox is committed to creating meaningful moments of human connection through broadband applications and services. The largest private telecom company in America, we proudly serve six million homes and businesses across 18 states.

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