Key Advice To Small Business Owners During These Challenging Times By Susan Bowen

Small Business Canada

Susan Bowen, CEO and President, Aptum

With over 20 years’ experience in the technology industry, Susan is the CEO and President of Aptum. She understands the importance of transformational leadership to stay at the forefront of customer needs and expectations.

Throughout her career, Susan has earned a reputation as a trusted advisor and leading voice in the technology industry. Creating partnerships around technology helps businesses adapt to change, spur innovation, and create value. She would say, “That’s when things truly happen.”
While her passion for technology has helped guide her, Susan’s strong focus on sustaining revenue growth and driving operational efficiency has helped create an organization devoted to enabling its customers run their businesses.

Spurred on by her experience as one of the only women in her Computer Science classes in the early 90’s, Susan is a passionate advocate for the advancement of diversity and inclusion. During her time in the UK, Susan was a Founder & Chair of the Skills and Diversity Council for techUK, a founding Director for The Tech Talent Charter, and in 2017 was named among the top 50 Most Influential Women in UK IT by Computer Weekly magazine.
Prior to taking on global leadership at Aptum (formerly Cogeco Peer 1), Susan was Vice President and General Manager of Cogeco Peer 1, EMEA, where she spearheaded strategic direction. Susan has also held the role of Chief of Staff UK & Ireland at Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) following her tenure of over 16 years at HP UK Ltd.

What is your key advice to small business owners during these challenging times? 

For many organizations, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of business agility.

While remote working isn’t a completely new concept to our global team at Aptum, many companies, including our own, had to rapidly shift from a mainly in-office model to work-from-home one.

Moving to a remote work structure can put a strain on technology resources because your computing model changes. However, relying on cloud solutions instead of on-site computing hardware can help. Cloud resources are designed to scale up and down depending upon demand and they can be accessed from anywhere – in the office, at home, or on the road. We believe demand for cloud native-products, such as Office 365 and Teams, and online software-as-service solutions for internal operations like accounting and human resources are going to grow significantly. These cloud solutions include both public (AWS, Google and Azure) but also there is an increased demand for private cloud and other bespoke/custom hosting solutions due to security or application demands. At the heart of all of this is the need for increased data management.

And what steps should they take to keep their small business afloat during the current crisis?

We found flexibility helps when it comes to working with your employees. For example at Aptum, we offered a voluntary four-day workweek and nine-days every two weeks as options to our workers who wanted a break or needed time to adjust to their new reality. Many parents found themselves having to balance working from home with helping their children adjust to online learning; having more time off to handle their new responsibilities helped. We believe, giving our workforce options helped us build a stronger sense of identity as a team working towards a common goal.

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