15TH OCTOBER, 2022
"Never let a good crisis go to waste" Winston Churchill’s famous quote made during World War II has a big significance today, as businesses grapple with the new normal. Yes, in today’s landscape, the overall economic view is dreary. However, a deeper look indicates how the pandemic is actually a raison d'être for every small and mid-sized businesses.
AEvery disruption is but a potent opportunity. This global crisis, two times over (thus far) has successfully pushed digital technology at the core of every business, making it more resilient and adaptive to any headwinds. As Satya Nadella, Chairman of Microsoft observed, the pandemic has accelerated the digitization process by at least a decade. The sense of urgency and lack of choice, moved parts, people and processes that were steeped in legacy systems, resistant to change.
Companies that were struggling to adopt flexible working policies were compelled to adapt rather quickly. Not only did they have to put the infrastructure in place, the processes had to fall in line too, real quick. As companies rebuild HR processes, there is great scope to make radical upgrades in the areas of diversity, inclusion and equal opportunities for their employees. Besides the process and policies, this flux was an honest indicator for most employers, to prioritize people over every other resource.
The forced shift to working online was the harbinger of everything collaborative. Teams and departments in organizations which until recently worked as silos, organically broke down, to make way for quicker responses and holistic decision making. Therefore, a prolonged and persistent effort to a cohesive culture was a quick offshoot of the crisis.
Financial pressure came in quick and hard, pressuring bottom lines and management alike. Social activities and consumption plummeted as interruption and uncertainty rose. To keep from crumbling, the only way forward for companies was to revisit the financial processes. Businesses turned proactive to assess risk and vulnerability to manage liquidity and cut costs both from an operational and financial standpoint. Working capital was optimized, growth strategies revised, credit risks evaluated and processes optimized – all to fortify the financial disposition and therefore, business continuity.
Beyond the attention to details, a systemic approach to demand shifts to dodge an impending financial crisis has honed organizational agility.
Managements are now better prepared to direct value offerings to the right market deftly, through the right channels to take advantage of dynamics. Also, the wake of a crisis has necessitated CFOs to take some well-considered risks towards enterprising capital investments.
“Innovate or die” has been an adage for businesses for long time now. What has now outlined a roadmap on how to go about it, is now encapsulated in a four letter word – DATA (aka GOLD)! Organizations that sat on mountains of untapped data are now actively analyzing and turning it into information. Market, customer and employee data are being captured and observed to make informed decisions towards a desired outcome.
Data has been the big pivot to business strategies whether it is for guaranteeing meaningful engagement with customers, ensuring a more satisfied workforce or increasing the top line for the sales team. The ability to crunch copious amounts of data digitally, now empowers organizations to make detailed and brisk decisions.
The pandemic has helped every sized organization overcome institutional inertia and spark innovations of process, product and strategy. Business processes overhauled to deal with the given situation, have now enabled companies to kick-off a movement toward greater resilience and efficiency. Above all, the last couple of years have reiterated that an authentic purpose, deep-seated in the organization’s objective is a strong competitive advantage in the long haul.