Not just a Reopening: A New Beginning (After COVID-19)
Just weeks after winding down their operations, companies are being asked to restart their engines at an unprecedented rate as lockdown rules are gradually relaxed. The challenge is complicated by uncertainties about the progression of COVID-19 and the social, political and fiscal actions that it will drive.
Reopening will be more than a restart. It will be the beginning of a new era of business. The rules have changed. Employee and customer behaviors have changed.
But this creates new opportunities for organizations with the courage and foresight to change more than immediate needs demand. For example, many companies have moved partly to the cloud. But, having reduced costs in some parts of the business, now is the time to reinvent and scale cloud adoption across the enterprise, creating variable costs and increasing resilience. Those that can reinvent themselves—their processes, customer experiences, employee and social contracts, and do so in ways that further their purpose—will win.
Reopening requires more than a return to normal, however, because the unpredictable and long-lasting period that follows this pandemic will feature fundamental changes to economic activity, fast-changing cultural norms, societal values and behaviors. To reopen and to outmaneuver uncertainty also requires a program of reinvention.
This presents an opportunity—and a need—for many companies to build the competences they wish they’d invested in before: to be more digital, data-driven, and in the cloud; to have more variable cost structures, agile operations and automation; to create stronger capabilities in e-commerce and security. This agility will be core to the long-term capabilities they build. Leaders should consider the steps they take to reopen as the first in a long journey of wider transformation.