The steps towards post-pandemic success

Reset, restart and reshape your value proposition post-pandemic

The coronavirus has caused wide-scale disruption across the business world, and organisations will need to navigate the “new normal” effectively if they are to survive and thrive. Now is the time to start thinking about how to learn from this difficult period, make positive changes to your operations post-pandemic, and start getting your business back on its feet.

From implementing long-term flexible working arrangements for your staff to making full use of the cloud technology that proved so vital during lockdown, here are some crucial ways to help reset, restart and reshape your business.

Enabling new ways of working

Although remote working has been gaining traction for some time, very few companies were using it as their primary working arrangement until the coronavirus pandemic hit – leading to a nationwide rush to set up temporary work from home models. From an IT point of view, remote working was an unexpected emergency plan for many companies, leading to challenges including accessing company information, effective communication and cybersecurity.

Yet, despite the sudden shift, surveys of work during the crisis have found that, now that companies have had time to set up more sustainable working practices, many organisations are looking to factor remote working into their post-pandemic plans. To do this successfully, organisations must really look at what has and hasn’t worked. This may mean interrogating security practices to ensure employees can safely access the information they need, and exploring new communication technology solutions. Finding out what your employees want is also a crucial step towards creating your post-pandemic strategy. Not only will communication rebuild trust and rapport after a difficult time, but it will also give you insight into where the strengths and weaknesses lie in your structure.

For those companies who decide to get the office back in action, it’s going to look very different. No one is going back to the office world we left behind in March, at least not just yet. And it’s vitally important you handle this transition well – for both your employees’ wellbeing and your company’s reputation.

Consider what your staff need from you in what many have found a very difficult time. Ensure your plan to get everyone back into the office is safe, clear, and includes ways to make staff feel supported and part of a team, even if they have to keep their physical distance from each other. This includes considering tools and processes that will help to make the transition smooth and stress-free, whether that’s simple markers on the floor or even specialised technology such as spatial computing sensors.

To ensure you get it right, you may want to consult third-party experts. For example, Reply is a network of connected companies that offers consultation and digital services to some of the world’s largest organisations. With expertise in areas such as cloud, IoT, security and big data, it has designed and tested several solutions to support companies through this transition back to the office.

Responding to industry changes

Whatever industry you’re operating in, things are going to look different from now on. Times of disruption often propel certain trends and technologies forward, and the saving grace of the current situation has been the digital world. Just as the companies who responded quickly and appropriately to the crisis are the ones who have fared best during lockdown, the ones who embrace changes as we emerge from it have the strongest chance of recovery.

It’s therefore important to reconsider your strategy and think of ways you can innovate to be at the forefront of industry changes, rather than struggling to catch up. A time of disruption can also be an opportunity to gain an edge as the playing field is somewhat levelled by everyone racing to adapt.

Some key trends are emerging which you should consider in your products and services whatever your industry. The acceleration of digital transformation has been clear, with even the most tech-phobic companies compelled to move some of their offerings online. To stay ahead of the game, consider how you can adapt your products or services to thrive in a digital environment – from setting up ecommerce offerings to producing digital content to support your brand to utilising emerging technologies such as virtual reality to enhance customer experience.

“Our experts are focused on designing customer experiences, both B2B and B2C, that can better adapt to the changing realities of every single market,” explains Filippo Rizzante, chief technology officer at Reply. “We think that digital consumption will continue to be overwhelming, but physical retail will find innovative and effective ways of facing the new environment.

“Rebooting after a period of changes will lead companies to focus even more on business automation. Now it’s time to be flexible, automating old and new processes while adopting cloud platforms to improve your resilience in the new business environment. Reply will support customers in processes and business optimisation, with an eye on possible new strategies that could further leverage process automation.”

Embracing digital transformation

The importance of embracing the digital world isn’t just limited to your outward operations. The situation has shown how important it is to have an overview of internal processes and to be able to assess them – for example, procedures that felt smooth in the office may have come under strain at home. Although Covid-19 can be seen as a black swan event, organisations can nevertheless prepare themselves for these kinds of events by being aware of processes and how to optimise them.

Automation is set to be a big driver of business recovery, focusing on complex and critical business processes rather than performing simple, repetitive tasks. A clear lesson from the chaos has been that it can be a challenge to keep core operations running smoothly, and reliable automation can transform this and provide a cost-effective solution. Technology solutions such as AI algorithms and chatbots can be of huge benefit, the former can efficiently plan and manage digital robots, and the latter can give customers support when it might not be possible to speak to a real person.

Companies need to find a close alignment between business process management and the development of modern applications in order to keep cost control and increase company efficiency, aspects that will be key especially during this “new normal”.

To avoid pitfalls, you may want to look for expert third party advice and management of your digital portfolio for you, such as Reply’s Managed Service Provider and Cloud Concierge services. A huge benefit to services like these is that they operate on a pay-per-use model, meaning you can scale your cloud computing up and down as and when it’s needed. They also give you vital reassurance on matters such as application optimisation, security and compliance.

Building resilience

Which brings us on to business resilience – always important but more important than ever in times of uncertainty. Business Continuity Management provides tools for the assessment of business impacts and defines strategic and operational plans for maintaining business continuity. It’s vital to review your business continuity plans, focusing on flexible supply chains and being aware of increasing security threats.

“The whole idea of ‘business continuity’ has been challenged,” says Reply’s Rizzante. “Global supply chains have been strongly affected and companies have been forced to adapt their planning, production and operations to address these impacts and to supply goods and services quickly, safely and securely. The skyrocketing of cloud platforms usage is public evidence. What’s under the hood is the enormous growth of process automation and cybersecurity efforts. We’re facing new landscapes and a lot of professionals and board rooms now understand the relevance of 3D, mixed reality, and enterprise social platforms.”

The road ahead may not be easy, but with careful planning, investment and a commitment to flexibility, you stand the best chance of getting your business back into its stride.

Discover more about Reply solutions

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