19th May, 2020
, , Designation
By the time we entered March, everyone everywhere realised that what we are facing is no easy feat and even after the situation stabilizes, it will never be the same world ever again. The level of volatility rendered by the global pandemic is something no business was fully prepared for, yet, here we are, in a world witnessing an unprecedented resiliency.
As it is said, ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’, the same holds true for Covid19 as well since businesses are trying to transition to the new-normal which is setting in, amidst the looming fear of shutdown.
Adapting to the new environment in which not just the workplace, but workforce and even the work has undergone a transformation, businesses are finding novel ways to sustain and thrive in these uncertain times. The fact that majority of the companies, irrespective of their size, are going to miss their revenue targets owing to reasons such as supply chain disruptions etc. is not deterring companies from looking for innovative ways of functioning. That is precisely because right now, the race is not as much for scaling up (for a majority, while exceptions are still there – read pharma) as it is for survival.
Making the best of a bad situation
Owing to the sudden change of dynamics, many companies have rejigged their budget spends and are now opting for increased traction in digital domain, there are many others who are reviving their telesales arm given the guaranteed outreach which it is offering at the moment.
Also, no second guesses about the industries which are either clocking more revenue than ever or strengthening their market reach and customer trust during this time. Any and every product or service which is helping companies settle into this transitioned reality, is making it to the list.
For example, unified communication & collaboration platforms which are making it easier for companies to have a seamless communication between their employees, have become one of the most widely adopted products.
Microsoft rolled out a free 6-month Teams and Office 365 version to help companies settle in the work-from-home mode seamlessly.
SAP is offering its integrated business planning solution along with couple of more supply continuity offerings at no cost to businesses to sail through the troubled times with least disruption.
Tata Telecommunication is promoting its ‘Business-as-usual’ offering with its wide array of remote working solutions.
Likewise, there are many others who have come up with a bouquet of offerings, which is assisting companies to navigate through this new situation which seems to become more or less long-term.
Similarly, companies offering online security suites are also seeing an unprecedented increase in the demand. With the mass-level WFH transition of the workforce, the vulnerabilities have increased by manifolds, especially at the mobile devices level. To understand the extent, read about this recent news which unveiled how scammers also infected a website showing a map of coronavirus cases across the world and this was detected by Malwarebytes.
Catering to the sudden surge in demand for VPNs, many companies like Kaspersky, SurfShark etc. are now offering free extended trials of their products.
Such players are betting their strategies on monetizing free trials by expanding their customer touchpoints and while they may not be getting any revenue right now from the outreach, these relationships will open up brilliant cross-sell and up-sell opportunities for them.
E-commerce players have also been busy trying to nullify the impact and make the best of the current situation while assisting consumers to the best of their ability.
This freemium services provision trend is here to stay and is in fact, a boon for the providers as well as the companies who are able to benefit from those.
Talking about retail, wherein it is the offline retail that has taken a hard-hit (and might even be the slowest to recover without requisite aid – more on that later!), online retail players, as stated earlier, are in for a bigger opportunity. If they upscale their merchant-collaboration programs and get the struggling offline retailers on board quickly and effectively, it’s a win-win for both the sides.
For the other chunk of offline retailers who would be required to recover faster when the market opens up, they must take help from the industry players who can help them with all kinds of auxiliary support. For example, once the market opens up, they’d need to restock their stores with the relevant goods which they’d get to know from various analytics tools. Next step would be to get the store merchandising in place at the soonest. This is where they can take help of tools offering smart planogram provisions, lessening their approximately 4 weeks of task to a mere 2-3 day one.
Also, they’d need a quick spurt in hiring so that they have enough hands and legs to cater to the walk-ins and ensure quicker sales. With the help of good manpower agencies, retailers can really shorten their recovery journey.
Another trend which may gain more momentum in these times is virtual events. With on-ground events getting cancelled and most of the people being stuck inside their home, brands can definitely take advantage of the more-so-guaranteed attention span of their target audience and run virtual events.
Leveraging the advantage of captive audience, many sports firms are also betting big in the arena of e-sports. In light of cancellation of multiple live sporting events, they are now guiding their fans and followers to virtual tournaments and they are seeing good traction there.
Ultimately, it is all about the players who’d rise up to the new reality, accept it faster, adapt and innovate to settle in quickly, who’d be able to sustain the storm.
Not the fittest or richest but the smartest will survive
Embracing technology has become a non-negotiable for companies in these uncertain times. Fluid workforce, security management, keeping up with customer’s expectation with minimum disruption to service and all this while settling a deep-rooted face-to-face interaction culture into its new avatar of virtual-everything – brands are on their toes in this race for survival.
The future of work has already arrived, though, it has not been an amazing entry. Right now, while the struggle is real, brands who will focus on innovating will win the race and here winning the race is equivalent to sustenance and not necessarily increasing customer base.
While on the surface it is slowdown and there is no denying of that, the invincible spirit of humankind is such that people are finding novel ways to beat the covid19 blues. Ultimately, there is no time for hibernation since the show-time is here and brands are already joining the race.