Did the Pandemic Cause Panic?

By Kristin Kelley Janacek, Digital Strategy Officer at VNCTech Group 

When we entered 2020, we knew there was a problem coming across the sea that could impact our lives, but many did not expect the virus creating the drastic impact it has. And, let us be honest, there have been other pandemics that had not reached the US in the way that COVID-19 has so it was not something we knew how to prepare for. In 2002, China experienced the SARS outbreak which spread to 26 countries. Since 2014, there have been a few outbreaks of the “Bird Flu” which did reach the US, but barely impacted daily life. Our world has been experiencing outbreaks of varying levels of severity and spread but there are very few people who have lived through global pandemics that have affected so many countries as the Coronavirus is doing now

 

In the first quarter of 2020, COVID-19 caused the world to act swiftly and change how they do business dramatically. Some companies were well equipped to make minor changes to ensure the health and safety of their employees while maintaining the ability to conduct their businesses. Others were faced with a situation where they needed to act quickly to implement tools and processes to enable a resemblance of business as usual. And there were plenty of companies which acted swiftly to make impactful decisions such as layoffs and closing the doors to aspects of their business. When we look at the long-term effects of these companies’ decisions, will we be able to say decisions were made that provided a strategic advantage or will we be determining that companies were hasty in their decisions and will live with the ongoing consequences of their decisions?

 

COVID-19 and the precautions for protecting the health and wellness of the citizens caused companies and employees to dramatically shift the way business is operating. Since late February in some places, companies were forced to enable remote working for nearly all workers and implemented automation or interaction-free services. Many companies would prefer to have their employees working close together for a variety of reasons while some employees have embraced the ability to work from home:

 

 

 

 

 

We are fortunate to be living in this time of world history during this pandemic. In today’s world, we have technologies to enable some work to continue without having to physically be collocated with each other, but many companies did not have the infrastructure to support this immediate change. Many aspects of business have drastically evolved, and the adoption of technology was immediate if the company did not already have these capabilities in place. Most small businesses and many medium sized businesses have operated out of a single location and therefore have had little incentive to create the infrastructure for remote collaboration and operations.

 

What is needed for successful remote-workforce engagement? There are several categories for consideration and listed below are just a few to consider when creating a remote workforce. Adoption of technologies to enable remote work depends on the industry and size of company:

  • Collaboration and communication

  • Phone, video and text communication

  • File sharing and editing

  • Sales team engagement and productivity

  • Order fulfillment and customer engagement

  • Delivery and service with customers

  • Communication with individuals

  • Marketing campaign tools

  • Hardware management

  • Managing and tracking company-owned equipment

  • Engagement protocols with suppliers

  • Manufacturing and testing procedures

  • Security protocols

  • Communication security

  • Proprietary information

  • Threat deduction and information security

 

In pre-pandemic times, when a company decides to migrate to a certain technology, a company would weigh the costs and benefits of migrating to a remote workforce. For many companies, working remotely doesn’t make sense in a non-pandemic world so there is limited strategy in those companies for a remote working plan. When the decision is made to migrate to new tools and procedures, a diligent process is followed to ensure that the new technology integrates with the other technologies the company already relies on and there is either no disruption or an improvement to operations. Negotiation with vendors ensure that the best package and price is realized and there is a process to train the employees for the adoption and documentation for future reference. During the swift shutdown or 2020, companies were forced to make immediate changes without the due diligence with many companies in a state of panic.

 

Now that the US has been in a steady state for a couple of months and there are signs of what the future normal might look like, it is time to assess the decisions that were made in the state of panic and to determine what works best for your future company to set it up for success.

 

With so many things going on, companies can ask themselves several strategic questions to help direct future decisions and get prepared for future growth. These include:

  • What is your vision of your company and its culture? Are you as effective or more during this time of change? If so, invest in more and find long-term agreements if you’re paying for subscriptions.

  • Document what investments have been made and it’s time to assess what the future potential of your company is. Will you be able to maintain your margins and market competitiveness? Have you found opportunities to grow?

  • What will “business as usual” look like in late 2020 and beyond? Will remote work be practical to continue?

  • How has your interaction with your customers changed? Will that trend continue?

  • Is your market evolving? Have competitors changed, emerged or exited the industry?

  • Will the technology investments serve you in the future?

  • Are there technology providers that can bundle and scale with your company?

We are living in uncertain times, but our recent past has provided vast opportunity for advancement and learning. The leaps of faith that leaders have had to make on adopting technology will change the way business is conducted for years to come. Decisions may have been made quickly without a lot of decision making and if there is doubt or regret, now is the time to assess the impact.

 

Lesson 1: Don't dwell over every decision. However, we do not need to be stuck with the decisions we made when we were in a position where we needed to decide swiftly.

Lesson 2: Not all decisions are permanent and changes can and should be made to advance the future opportunities for business.

 

How is your company planning for the future and reopening? Will your employees work remotely, from the office or will there be a hybrid policy for working? How is your company adjusting the technology planning to enable the future workforce?

 

VNCTech Group helps companies identify the capabilities needed to operate the business and grow, identify technology suite that get the work done and eliminate overlap and excess cost in the technology selection. Often times companies are under utilizing the technologies and capabilities they have already invested in.

 

Contact us to get started with a conversation to see where we can help you be successful!

Digital Strategy Officer

Business & Process

VNCTech Group

info@vnctechgroup.com

817-752-3700

VNC Technologies Company

©2020 by VNC Technologies, LLC & VNCTech Group, LP