The world, as we know it is going through a transformational phase at an unprecedented rate due to the global pandemic. We have had to adapt swiftly to new-age technologies to keep pace with the new normal. As COVID-19 continues to be detrimental to people’s lives and global economies at large, leaders are constantly focussing on dealing with the immediate threat that it poses to business and profitability. Today the virtual environment has taken centre stage. Organizations around the world are working together and innovating to reduce threats to markets and supply chains. The fine balance between the short-term survival vs long term sustainability is going to be the key to survival.
Leaders today are focused on business continuity challenges posed by COVID-19. They must prioritize the safety of their employees, ensure they have financial sustainability, assess the resilience of the supply chain, and reinforce crucial systems to support unprecedented levels of remote working– while withstanding cyber threats. Now is the time for us to step up and look at laying a strong foundation.
Digitization is crucial
While businesses are grappling with the fear of an impending slowdown, the future will be strongly driven by the Fourth Revolution. Digitization needs to be fast-tracked from 1 to 3 years to less than 1 year in order to sustain and gain market share. While most SMEs and MSMEs had been looking at adoption of new-age technology as an ‘out of league’ or a ‘future’ investment, the pandemic has accelerated the need for early adoption. It has provided opportunities for experimentation, innovation, and learn or fail fast with customers, markets or even employees. In times like these, customer behavior is fast changing. Companies who can successfully experiment with scale will thrive when the dust starts to settle.
Work-from-home has no longer become a trend but a way of life. Therefore, the need to secure data will take precedence. With centralized data storage and features with secure remote access, the post lockdown business ecosystem is going to revolve around robust cloud infrastructure. Organizations need to invest time and resources to protect the system and data to make themselves future theft-proof. It will be crucial to train employees and other relevant personnel against cyber-scams and phishing attacks.
Streamline the operations
The use of emerging technology such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital networks are going to be the new buzz words. The conventional linear supply chain model is evolving into automated networks, clear identification of inventory requirement, fulfillment, safety stock, and vendor scalability. The over-reliance on any country or region or vendor could create significant disruption to the business. Organizations need to take a serious look at streamlining their processes to achieve overall efficiency.
From virtual onboarding, virtual classroom training modules to payroll or contract signing, we will need to shift the platform to a digital one going forward. A complete revaluation of the value chain is necessary to identify the bottlenecks and establish a new order.
Leading into the future
In difficult times like these, it is crucial that we centre ourselves and take stock of the situation at hand. In the aftermath of the pandemic, given the current workforce challenges and the uncertainties faced by business leaders, we will require strategies that focus on both short-term recovery and long-term sustainability through immediate measures—Reflection, Action, Innovation and Nurturing. An agile mindset, boldness of thought and action, customer centricity, and digitization will be paramount to sustain humanity in the generations to come.