The Coronavirus (COVID-19) has generated widespread impacts on all aspects of our lives. It is currently unclear how the global economy and businesses will transition along the three stages of recovery (survive, revive, thrive) as we move to take control of the situation. The global crisis has impacted business across a number of different dimensions, from customer interactions, operations, supply-chain & distribution networks, commerce, remote working, cloud adoption, as well as the human factors of well-being and health considerations in the workplace.
Many mention the New Normal, referring to how the environment will be once we recover from the economic shock caused by this crisis. However, the reality is that no one actually knows what this new normal will actually look like. What is clear, is that many businesses will need to change, driven by changes in priorities and expectations of customers. Shifting our mindset to this continuous change will define this evolving new normal, as we move past the lockdown stages of the pandemic and look to the future.
Significant areas of focus right now have been around the following key areas;
- Robust and Flexible Supply Chains and Distribution Networks.
- Customer Behaviours leading to rapidly changing demand profiles.
- Operational challenges with increased volumes of customer requests with reduced staff to service them.
- Systems strain with unprecedented changes in transaction levels and the need for new functionality.
- Pressures on management teams and leadership to provide for staff and customers needs and wellbeing.
- Workplace changes with organisation moving its workforce to digital remote working where possible.
While the focus has been on immediate remediation and rapid response over the last few weeks, this crisis will see a significant realignment of business strategy. This will then require additional investment in technology with major attention to capabilities around automation, data analytics, digital transformation & robust digital workplace, together with leveraging artificial intelligence. Much of this strategy will be aimed at reducing the day-to-day operational pressures on staff, so the organisation can better cope with a dynamic environment requiring rapid response to changing conditions and circumstances.
We have already seen announcements from firms that are re-evaluating some of their strategy, for example, their location strategy, as the need for large office spaces for staff seem less important now, when people need to social distance and self-isolate for the foreseeable future. Other firms have been accelerating their migration to cloud platforms and data stores to facilitate remote working.
The business strategy refocus will naturally lead to reprioritising of the technology strategy that will impact both business as usual and change programmes for the rest of 2020 and 2021. We believe that the priorities will lead to emphasis on the following areas:
- automation, both RPA and intelligence powered automation.
- data analytics for management information systems and increasing predictive analytics for demand and customer behaviours.
- cloud adoption to provide access to all the systems and processes that staff need to use remotely.
- digital transformation, including increased cloud adoption to facilitate and increase remote workforce capabilities.
- artificial intelligence adoption to support the analytics and automation programmes.
These are areas we specialise on at Combined Intelligence and you can read more about them on our technology page.
At Combined Intelligence we are very well placed to help support your organisation with these technology programmes. We have a team with expertise across automation and AI technologies having extensive experience working in many different industry sectors. We are also platform agnostic, so can offer impartial advice on vendor selection without any bias, our focus is finding the right tool for the right function. We would welcome you to contact us to discuss your challenges and determine how we can support your programmes to be successful and move your organisation into a strong position to recover and thrive.
Previous related COVID-19 articles: COVID-19 and how AI can help the healthcare sector during times of crisis and A Robust Digital Workplace – Keeping Productive during the COVID-19 Crisis