Posted: 13 Jul. 2020 5 min. read

The ‘no regrets’ actions business leaders should take now

It was inevitable that the COVID-19 health crisis would have disruptive impacts on global economies, and we are now seeing the economic aftershocks take hold across the business environment around the world.

How long and deep the downturn will last depends on the ongoing severity of the health situation (including multiple pandemic waves), and the efficacy of collective government, business and community interventions and responses.

As countries continue to navigate the crisis over the months ahead, organisations will emerge from hibernation, faced with the task of powering back up and shaping their recovery in an economic and business environment that remains uncertain.

Business leaders will be presented with choices that have immediate and longer-term implications, not only how to best operate in a pre-vaccine world – our current ‘interim normal’ – but also positioning for the ‘new normal’ – a world that we hope will include a vaccine.

A number of ‘inevitable’ disruptions are outlined in the recently published Reinvent to thrive report – these span both the changes to the market context, such as increasing government intervention and heightened consumer awareness of purpose and impact, as well as more specific impacts to business and operating models.

While some disruptions are outside the control of leaders, others are manageable and within the sphere of organisational influence. It is these disruptive shifts, those that can be shaped, such as contactless commerce, operational continuity, virtualised work, and supply chain resilience, in which leaders can, and should, focus their attention.

Reviewing the range of shifts and disruptions occurring across markets and industries alongside a set of plausible future scenarios, highlights five ‘no regret’ moves that will enable organisations in shaping a path forward, accelerating their speed-to-value for customers and stakeholders, and readying the organisation for reinvention.

1.   Review your current business model and value propositions

With changing customer preferences and shifts in demand, consider what new opportunities may exist, what vulnerabilities in your current strategy and business model can be mitigated, alongside looking at new sources of growth – both organic and inorganic – within the market.

Leaders should then evaluate the changes to existing business and operating models are required and develop the plans to execute those changes in an iterative way, regularly reviewing the evolving environment and any further disruptions.

2.  Invest in your digital customer and e-commerce channels

Notwithstanding the need to review your current physical footprint, the requirement for enhanced digital customer and stakeholder interactions, sales, service and fulfilment is now table stakes. Contact-free models, e-commerce platforms, virtual and remote services, self-service, cognitive agents and intelligent automation are all now essential.

This accelerated shift to on-line and mobile necessitates a review of businesses channel mix and how customer experiences are best delivered. Determining how to precisely target and personalise customer engagements and interactions to effectively operate in an increasingly contactless economy will be an increased source of advantage.

3.  Invest in the illumination of your end-to-end value chain 

Understand the strengths and vulnerabilities in your supplier, delivery partner, competitor and customer ecosystem, identifying where to strengthen and adjust any relationships needed to diversify supply and service to ensure operational continuity.  

Leaders should also consider investing in new illumination technologies that dramatically improve visibility across the end-to-end value chain, and better enable a business to mitigate future shocks.  

4.  Enable your workforce with the capabilities, tools and confidence to embrace more adaptable work practices  

Undertake a review of how work can be rearchitected to best deliver outcomes and the needs of customers and stakeholders, including the use of intelligent automation and cognitive technologies. Overnight workforce virtualisation has highlighted the potential to free-up capacity and improve productivity, the necessary next step is to redesign work and reconfigure the organisation accordingly.

Moving from formal hierarchies and silos to multi-disciplinary teams with connected ways of working, led through orchestration versus task-managers, will become a key feature of advantaged and adaptable organisations in the ‘new normal’.

5.  Accelerate (or initiate) your cloud enabled transformation efforts

The shift to cloud-enabled technologies and platforms has received a bolt of acceleration over the past few months.  Those already operating largely in the cloud or ‘cloud-native’ have absolutely shone – those who haven’t must move quickly.

Prioritise customer and core operations platforms, advanced analytics capabilities to support data–driven decision making, and ensure robust cyber security infrastructure.

Visit our website to download the full Reinvent to thrive: Positioning for a ‘new normal’ report.

More about the author

Jeremy Drumm

Jeremy Drumm

Lead Partner, Strategy, Growth & Transformation

Jeremy is the Lead Partner for Monitor Deloitte in Australia, the firm’s strategy consulting practice. His primary market focus is in the communications, infrastructure, and life science sectors where he has worked extensively with executives across the Asia Pacific region and globally on the development and execution of their corporate and competitive strategies, and transformational change programs. Jeremy is Deloitte Consulting’s Asia Pacific Leader for its Strategy, Analytics and M&A offering portfolio, and the Chief Strategy Officer for Deloitte Consulting in Australia.