Dorothy went through a lot in the Wizard of Oz, but her main objective was to get back home to Kansas. With the COVID-19 crisis, we are all going through a lot right now. However, after the crisis settles down, we won’t be able to go back to “Kansas” as it was. Things will have changed forever.
At ConvergeOne, we are working with lots of customers who are reacting to the COVID-19 crisis and the impact of “shelter-at-home.” Some enterprises are doing better than others, but almost all are looking at this solely focused on the short-term. To thrive in these extraordinary times, enterprises need to consider how to react to the pandemic with the long game in mind, as well.
I see three areas that will be changed forever:
- Supply Chain
The need for enterprise agility sets the stage for the other areas. I believe the COVID-19 crisis is showing we are entering the era of “AgileX.”
Let me explain. For years, there has been a battle in the retail garment industry. Established vendors with lots of brick-and-mortar stores have been struggling to compete with new “fast fashion” entrants. Consumer taste is fickle and short-lived. It takes time for large vendors to design a product line, put it in production, and distribute it on a global scale. Sometimes, the consumer taste has changed by the time all of that happens. Fast fashion companies don’t have many of the logistics that their larger competitors do. They can quickly release a product line to ride a consumer wave and then move to the next line quickly and ride the next wave. They are AgileX.
I believe that the COVID-19 crisis is showing that the need for companies to be AgileX-capable is in every market. Just look at the companies that are doing well in this crisis. Walmart already had multiple ways to shop. You could shop traditionally, order items and have them delivered at home, or order them and pick them up curbside. When social distancing hit, they just naturally shifted focus from in-store shopping to their alternative methods. Now that people have used the alternative methods, a good percentage will continue to use them after the crisis dies down.
The same will happen with meetings. My local church has adopted Zoom so they can continue to have their services and Ministries during the social distancing lockdown. Do you think they will abandon the technology once the crisis has passed? No, the Genie is out of the bottle.
Today’s enterprises must start to reshape themselves to the AgileX model. This won’t be the last crisis, nor will the high bar that consumers are setting in this new digital world ever be reduced.
Supply chain has always had one driving factor: cost. The locations that chains moved to were whichever region or country had the lowest cost. After the pandemic, this, too, will change. There will be two considerations driving supply chain: cost and resiliency. It will no longer be good enough to just provide the lowest cost, but to also have resiliency to handle disruptions. Agile collaboration capabilities will be needed to support supply chain resiliency.
While almost no large enterprise is completely virtual, some—like ConvergeOne—have embraced a virtual culture that enables them to respond to “shelter-at-home” orders while barely missing a beat. Enterprises that had already deployed remote agents were much better at maintaining operations at the onset of the crisis. Before the pandemic, these enterprises realized that there are multiple advantages to having a virtual workforce culture, both in hard and soft dollars, such as:
- Reduced real estate cost
- Ability to retain top talent that wish to move out of the area
- Ability to hire the best talent regardless of location
After the pandemic forces resistant enterprises to adopt a virtual worker environment, most will see these advantages firsthand and will choose not to completely revert to an office-based workforce. Even in this time of crisis, it’s time to think bigger picture and develop a long-term remote working strategy so that the changes you implement today will help you move to being an AgileX enterprise in the future.
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