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BW Businessworld

Gearing Up For A New World & For Success

Organisations are reimagining business resiliency and fine-tuning business continuity plans based on strong foundations provided by new-age digital technologies

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The ongoing economic and humanitarian crisis has caught everyone off guard. 

The global lockdown in some of the largest economies has led to an unforeseen break in economic activity. While governments are taking cautious steps with gradual lifting of lockdowns, we are confronted with a new normal. Over the next few months, we will witness the unveiling of this new normal and its impact on businesses. However, one thing is clear, the new normal is going to be far more digital. It is going to elevate individuals' and corporations' transacting models to an unimaginable level.

The territory ahead is unchartered, so it becomes imperative for organisations to understand and develop ways to create value out of every organisational function. Expertise and acquired skills can help alleviate risks and rebuild efforts for businesses and communities alike. At the same time, the situation presents significant opportunity for companies to rethink and reconsider, to challenge conventional thinking and to encourage innovation and creativity. 

All businesses rely on the effectiveness of their business continuity plan (BCP) to maintain essential functions during and after the crisis that we are faced with. If an organisation does not have one, it is time to go back to the drawing board.

Need For A Strong Digital Foundation

I have been talking to many customers over the last few months and have observed that now, more than ever, organisations are realising the need for a strong digital foundation. They are reimagining business resiliency and fine-tuning BCPs based on strong foundations provided by new-age digital technologies. Take the financial services industry, that is deemed as 'essential services', as an example. In a relatively short span of time, a large number of banks in India successfully empowered their employees to work from home, which was otherwise an unknown attribute in the banking industry, thereby minimising inconvenience to their customers. Businesses are progressively looking to digital technologies such as cloud and artificial intelligence to ensure business continuity. 

Look at Manappuram Finance, one of India's leading non-banking financial company. Manappuram Finance helps customers realise their near-term aspirations with solutions that fulfil their financial needs - from instant gold loans to microfinance, affordable home loans, vehicle finance and so on. The company recently moved its key business functions to a modern cloud. And this will help it improve performance two to three times while unlocking 30-40 per cent additional cost savings over the next five years. All this is to support its next phase of growth and provide uninterrupted customer service.

In another instance, Hindalco Industries, a flagship aluminium-copper manufacturing company, used to face challenges while filing financial reports in real-time, mainly with data collection from various locations. The ability to close books remotely with speed, accuracy and in full regulatory compliance was crucial to support its business continuity. This is why it adopted modern cloud solutions. Now, Hindalco can benefit from the power of data and smart automation, in a cost-effective manner.  

Resilient Business Model

Now is an opportune time for companies to take a pragmatic view of their IT infrastructure and assess whether they have built a resilient business model that can quickly adopt to future disruptions. Switching to an operating expenditure (OpEx) model is inevitable, leading to increased usage of cloud-based services. Consumer demand for digital solutions has never been greater, however with the overall transaction volume low, the opportunity to build improved digital platforms has never been greater.

Nonetheless, before fast-tracking their digital transformation, business leaders need to take a step back and re-evaluate their roadmaps as well as beliefs about their underlying value and feasibility. These beliefs need to be based on current and emerging customer behaviours, supplier dynamics, and regulations. According to a McKinsey study, digital interaction with business to business customers is now two times more important than traditional channels - more than a 30 per cent jump since before the crisis. 

The future is unknown, but not dark. We have seen some remarkable instances of human resilience over the past few weeks. Amidst us are data visionaries who are finding ways through analytics and automation, to use new types and sources of data to generate value. Recovery may still be away, but it will come and businesses that will be best prepared for this digital future will have the best chance for not just survival, but a brighter future.   

Now is an opportune time for companies to take a pragmatic view of their IT infrastructure and assess whether they have built a resilient business model that can quickly adopt to future disruptions.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Shailender Kumar.

The author is Managing Director, Oracle India. As managing director, Kumar leads a team of sales and sales consulting professionals from all lines of business—including technology, applications, middleware, and systems—that is focused on delivering Oracle solutions to more than 7,000 customers in India.

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