The COVID-19 crisis has affected our way of living and working and, as a measure to reduce infections, the Government urges all companies to work remotely; thus, guaranteeing the continuity of business activity and employment relations. Organization systems which help to maintain business activities with alternative mechanisms are prioritized, especially those that implement remote working. That has been said in a document approved by the Council of Ministers. Said document includes other regulating measures for the various aspects that remote working entail in order to oblige companies capable of implement this method to do so.
Sanitary authorities such as the World Health Organization (WHO) have also recommended remote working since it is a great way to reduce the exposure and probability of infection of the new coronavirus.
In order to ease companies’ transition into remote working, the Government has launched Acelera Pyme. It is a program addressed to SMEs in order to finance through grants and credits the acquisition of office supplies such as computers, printers, cell phones, etc. Red.es, the company responsible for the digital transformation of Spanish economy, society, and public services, is powering this program.
As indicated in the Royal Decree, remote working can be carried out thanks to digital tools that allow the realization of tasks through devices connected to an internet server, and offers the possibility of holding online meetings, virtual calls, videoconferences, or to send documents for internal use. From a technological point of view, there are no setbacks for remote working as 80% of the Spanish population has access to fiber optic broadband, which allows remote working without networks collapsing.
Several initiatives to boost SMEs and accelerate their digital transformation process in the short and medium term will be launched by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation. This will be achieved in collaboration with the private sector and via Red.es. Said initiatives are divided into three groups:
- Acelera Pyme program: its objective is to inform SMEs about all the resources available for remote working implementation and digitization. More information is available at red.es
- Expansion and improvement of seats: In collaboration with the Chambers of Commerce, among other public and private partners, the following plans have been set: the expansion of seats linked to the Digital Transformation program, the improvement of personalized consultancy services for SMEs, the installment of industry solution centers, and the implementation of guidance during the digitization process. The main goal is to have 100 seats within two years, three times more than the current number of operative ones.
- Acelera Pyme-Talento: the program, developed in collaboration with the Chambers of Commerce and other public and private partners, aims to boost SMEs in resources and tools for digitization.
In terms of technological resources development, Red.es will carry out a line of grants to promote business leadership in R&D&I among Spanish digital companies. The goal is to generate solutions, increase knowledge, develop technologies and innovations focused on the improvement of the digitization process, and to create technologically advanced products and services with greater added value.
Besides, some technological needs have appeared in many companies because of the current crisis. Most of them are related to remote working, which is included in the Acelera Pyme program. Other popular needs that have surged are:
- The installation of devices to enable, allow, and guarantee remote connections (VPN virtual Protocol Network).
- Installation and configuration of remote access software.
- Update of security solutions (antivirus, firewall, anti-ransomware, etc.).
- Virtual switchboards.
- Optimization, configuration, and security implementation of Wi-Fi connections.
- Collaboration and videoconferencing applications such as Microsoft Teams 0365, Webex, Hangouts, etc.
The Official Credit Institute (ICO) has established financial measures for SMEs with the objective of purchasing and leasing equipment and services to implement remote working and digitization. Over 200,000 million euros will be allocated within the next two years.
Sources: El País, El Español, CISET