The Post Pandemic Context

There isn’t a sector, business or government which has not been impacted in both the near and long term by the Covid-19 (C19) pandemic. Some will adapt to survive, but many, including some famous brands, will not emerge from this downturn.

This pandemic has provided a relatively brief insight into a future world, one in which virtual and digital has become central to every interaction, forcing organisations and their leaders to go further and to deepen their IT adoption and business change. A world in which omni digital channels become the main customer engagement model, fully automated processes become a primary driver of productivity and the very basis of flexible and transparent supply chains. It is a world in which complete agility is a prerequisite to survival allowing adaptability to continuous changes of habit and behavior.

Performance of leaders and laggards in a crisis

The economic outlook following this C19 crisis, may be worse than the financial crisis of 2008 but is already forcing leadership to make some difficult decisions. Some are making cuts backs and applying a mentality of riding out the storm. Others however, are taking bold decisive action (based on 2008 experience) to make sure that when the pandemic subsides, they will be stronger and they will get ahead of the competition. Those leaders acting with understanding and experience of the full business cycle will be best positioned to accelerate out of the economically challenging times which undoubtedly lie ahead.

Much analysis has been done to contrast global corporate responses to the 2008 financial crisis, to compare those who were bold and decisive against those who were conservative and hesitant. It is clear from such analysis that those who were courageous and informed not only gained on their peers emerging from the crisis but that advantage was persistent and grew for nearly a decade thereafter. To spell this out more precisely, those who move early get ahead and stay ahead. (Ref: McKinsey & Co. Bubbles Pop and Downturns stop)

Leading Post Pandemic Business Models

Future “best in class” business organisations will be characterised by their systemic agility and flexibility to reconfigure at speed and scale. On the one hand, reconfiguration will be driven by the needs and behaviours of customers, suppliers, employees, markets, regulators and leadership. On the other, agility will be measured in terms of secure collaboration, execution and delivery regardless of location, user device, time of day and access to enterprise data/ systems.

Organisations will not have to wait until the next crisis to access and exploit the value of their agility and flexibility investments. In addition to responding to change at greater speed, several new aspects of business will be part of the “new normal”.

Human Contact Free Economy: Whilst already underway before the C19 pandemic, there has been a huge acceleration in all activities online including commerce, person to person consultations and full automation of other interactions and activities.

Self Service Employment: Internal facing enterprise systems and data requirements will become totally self service leaving internal non core functions free to participate as a strategic adviser to the core business.

Public sector involvement in private sector operations: There will be more interventions in business either financially or from new regulation.

Resilience to economic shock: There will be much greater scrutiny of an organisation’s resilience. It will be assessed by their investors, stakeholders and possibly statutory auditors.

Capital reallocation: Any capital resources which do not support the value of flexibility and agility are likely to be reassessed. Such items include data centres, office capacity, private networks, software & systems investments.

The key technical tenets of flexibility and agility.

There is no “silver bullet” to achieve these new levels of agility and flexibility at speed and scale, but there is an overall design mentality which should be applied. The fundamental design principles of the Internet were to support communication and collaboration even in times of nuclear conflict. Forty years on, modern web technologies and standards have dramatically expanded the functionality of the Global Internet making it the centre of commerce.

Some of the key technology tenets of business flexibility and agility are obvious. In themselves they are well known and their development is relentless, but it’s their aligned simultaneous implementation in the future which will distinguish their total value from their siloed implementations of the past.

These tenets include;

Cloud especially serverless (dynamic scale and new economics); With complete automation, allow an enterprise to securely provision infrastructure, platforms and software as a service regardless of scale and with supply/ demand economics.

Modern web technologies (Vendor agnostic, ubiquitous use); To build and provision applications for the web and enterprise (including desktop) which are device agnostic and the basis of application programming design.

Desktop Containers (Leveraging the value of legacy); A capability (emerging from the financial sector) to allow modern web technologies to integrate with legacy desktop applications (e.g. client server) in a controlled and phased move to the web as an overall strategy

Application Programming Interfaces or APIs; Shield your investments from proprietary lock in, to avoid creating the next redundancy legacy and support agile teamwork in software development.

How to get started, what is your current digital capability

At Scott Logic, we are already working with leaders who are taking such bold steps to get ahead in their own markets and emerge from the C19 pandemic in a much stronger position relative to their competition. Many of these organisations did the same in the last global crisis of 2008.

The question we are asked by most leaders is “where to start”. To answer this fundamental question, we have developed our own capability review process, usually a three or four week engagement to look at all aspects of your current digital capability and assess your enablers and blockers. The deliverables include an executive summary, detailed findings and detailed recommendations.

If you would like to understand more about our process of unbiased assessment, contact Peter Hughes at Scott Logic.