Recently the conversation has been spinning around what is going to be the new normal. Will society ever go back to the way it was? Will we all go back to offices and interact the way we used to? Are concerts, professional sports and alike all doomed?
I cannot speak for restaurants, professional sports, airlines, etc.. but I would like to address the question as it relates to something that I am more familiar with, and that is business operations. We have been exploring the concept of remote work for nearly two decades. Technology was very basic back then, but the concept was incredibly motivating. Now that we have advanced technology available, what will we do with it. What has 20 years taught us regarding business models, maximizing human capital, and our ability to adapt.
Without a doubt we are witnessing history every day. Business operations for some companies transitioned to the at home office concept fairly easily. Those who use computers and phones to provide most of their services. However, many can never adapt. Restaurants, Schools, Universities, Hospitals, manufacturing, Airlines, etc…. lets accept the fact that there is a vast amount of businesses that simply cannot function in a world of social distancing, or can they? I see these businesses being the most vulnerable, but also the most likely to innovate. Innovation has been lurking in all of these businesses for years, and the ones who were investing in making a new paradigm the reality are going to be the big winners. I have a few examples for you to look at.
Stanford Online High School, a concept that is already here! Imagine the impact to families if children are expected to be e-learners and be home every day. Two income households will have to adapt, and parents will need to find jobs that will allow them to tele-commute. Businesses who adopt this quickly and support this need of families will be attracting the best talent.
Food Delivery Services – Instacart – Wholefoods & Amazon – Meals in a box vendor – food have been transitioning away from going out to eat, to home delivery for some time. Home delivery will continue to trend up and provide a new platform for autonomous vehicles for clean and safe delivery of many types of items to your home.
Airlines – Business will get done more remotely for sure. Advances in border screening and keeping our citizens safe will change the concept of vacations and international travel forever. The company that can embrace this new idea and meet market demands will transform the world.
But what about every business and their ability to become virtual for many of their back-office processes like Human Resources, Payroll, Finance, Legal, and more. Almost all businesses have these same challenges regardless of what product or service they are providing. Businesses that have been investing in workflow automation, application consolidation, cloud deployments, etc, are significantly ahead of the companies who were not. Radically overhauling back office operations and taking advantage of the huge efficiency gains and significant cost reduction are activities you can and should be doing now. Get everything you can organized and in place for when the world decides to get back to normal. What is the rationale?
1) Lets assume your going to adapt to the new world and your company finds a way to hit it big. Imagine 30% growth without needing to hire since your processes will already be capable of the increased business.
2) Compliance and Process – Lets face it, if we have to work from home we will need systems that can ensure we are being compliant with all rules, regulations, and policies. Work will need to be monitored real time and audited real time.
3) Organizations that can respond well to client’s needs are going to be the biggest winners. It will not all be about price but more about total value.
4) Enable your ability to acquire new business rapidly. If your back office is a well-oiled machine, you will be able to take advantage of acquiring businesses or clients when the opportunities presents themselves.
Take advantage of the issues that have been brought to your attention due to this crisis. Treat the realization of what needs to be improved as great information you can act on. Embrace, or better yet decide what the new norm is going to be. Innovate and automate your organization. You can be 100% sure about a few things. Innovation will occur and opportunities will come out of this situation. Requordit looks forward to partnering with our clients on this new journey.