By: Venkat Nanduri
Businesses are beginning to realign to the new world order.
The writing is on the wall, and it’s clear – only digitized businesses will sail through the winds of change.
As hard-hitting as it may sound, the fact is that a lot of the businesses that were not digital pre-Covid are now either on the brink of shutdown or have ceased operations entirely since the lockdown was announced.
The other day, I was reading an article written by Victor Hoeck, an SAP solution advisor based in Vienna, Austria, in the Digitalist Magazine, and I quite liked what he said. He mentions three key areas companies must focus on to survive the widespread disruption brought on by Covid.
1. Ensure business continuity:
Firstly, non-digitized businesses that have survived until now will need a back-up plan. Investing in technologies and getting processes digitized should be the first step towards damage control. There is no guarantee that such situations will not arise in the near future. We ought to be pessimistic when it comes to securing our futures, and optimistic in our actions. If we don’t plan for the next Covid-type event, we are setting ourselves up for failure.
Look at these statistics: According to ASUG,40% of American SAP users plan to work from home at least sometimes, even after the crisis, while only 7% of the American workforce previously had the option to do so, according to the WEF.
However, not all industries can afford to have their employees work from home, but I assure you, there is always a way to back-up your operations by leveraging modern technologies, like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
2. Listen and create trust:
We may not have control over COVID-19, but we’re always in control of: ‘listening’ and ‘building trust’. Keep listening to your customers to help them overcome challenges and maintain their competitive focus.Stay in touch with them every single day, using all the digital channels at your disposal. Wearing a consultative hat during this challenging time gives you a certain vantage point, and helps foster lasting trust.
3. Be transparent and act on your insights:
Victor in his article gives a fantastic example. He says, “SAP customer from the retail industry was faced with a sudden lack of skilled employees in shops as demand started spiking when the lockdowns went into effect. However, the company was not only able to identify employees in headquarters who had the necessary training and experience but also prioritized the best locations for deploying them from a cost/benefit perspective. This type of agility is only possible for companies that have the relevant data on their people, their operations, and their finances at hand and can carry out the necessary reactions in an integrated IT system.”
This is what’s called the “Insight-to-Action principle” applied in a crisis situation. It goes to prove how investments in real-time analytics and an integrated IT landscape will pay off in times of crisis.
So, is your
company equipped to allow your workforce to work from home?
Are you constantly in touch with your clients, and able to give them sound business advice?
Do you have the right data on your people and operations that can help you with a rapid response in a crisis situation?
If you answered “no” to any of the above, it’s time to reexamine your digital strategy.
Let me know what you think. I look forward to your ideas