COVID-19: Navigating Urgent Operational Challenges

For every business, the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenge to the wellbeing and safety of their people.

For some businesses it’s also a new strategic opportunity. People’s needs, lifestyles and habits have had to change and some of these changes will be permanent. Services, products and markets will be reinvented and some companies can take advantage of these changes for their long-term benefit.

But for some companies, this is a time of urgent operational challenge. For these companies maintaining basic business operations is a huge concern. The key areas of focus right now are:

  1. Getting staff working effectively from home. People may be connected but that’s not the same as effective. For example, making business processes work may need new collaboration tools, video software and introduction of e-signing of contracts. Collaboration, efficiency and smooth operations require good technology and also positive leadership. Managers need to be coached and led through this change.
  2. Relocating operations and supply chains. Interruptions, transport restrictions and lock downs are requiring companies to move entire operations or change suppliers. These changes require leaders and managers with vision as well as strong knowledge of the operational and technical details.
  3. Reprioritizing IT plans and renegotiating with suppliers. Many companies need to bring forward cloud migrations, new cyber-security or connectivity projects. Leaders need a simple IT strategy and the ability to challenge existing assumptions. Many suppliers and customers are pulling together and sharing the burden but there may be a need for tough conversations. Some companies will need to renegotiate and to protect their cash.

It’s unclear when business will return to normal, but it’s likely that normal will be different to what it used to be! IT, systems and digital will be more core to business success than ever before.

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