The pandemic took everyone by surprise – no business or leader had the foresight to prepare for it – and the global marketplace has shifted dramatically as a result. The question on the mind of every C-suite executive now is ‘how do I retool my business to build a resilient enterprise that can survive the next shock to the market?’.
I was recently listening to a keynote on Lions Live (by the organizers of the Cannes Lions) where accomplished author, entrepreneur, and NYU Stern School of Business Professor Scott Galloway presented an analysis of how the pandemic has impacted the world. A comment he made about businesses going digital – “What usually takes a decade, happened in eight weeks [as a result of the pandemic]” – provides a sense of the quantum of change that we’ve undergone.
This, therefore, is the moment that is shaping the winners of the next decade. Organizations that react and adapt quickly and effectively can expect to win big, be it from the experience, brand loyalty, agility and balance sheet perspective.
While reeling from the shock, organizations have been focused on responding to operational challenges, in order to drive business resiliency and continuity.
Customers and clients have been discovering, inquiring, and transacting online more often, and staff are keen to reimagine their workflows and continue working from home for a majority of their workweek.
For business leaders, there’s no doubt that course correction is critical now. After all, responsiveness and adaptability in building a resilient enterprise is key to winning big in the ‘new normal’. The biggest obstacle to developing and implementing an effective digital strategy, however, is the fact that leaders don’t have a holistic view of the changes they need to make.
There is anticipation about what work, and the workplace of the future, will look like, with analysts estimating that up to 65 percent of staff will continue to work from home even after the pandemic ends. This view is aligned with the recent Fortune 500 CEO Survey where nearly 30 percent of respondents said that they don’t see 90 percent of their workforce returning to the office, ever.
As we prepare to return to the workplace and prepare to drive clients and partners to success in this new normal, we’re following a structured approach to building a resilient enterprise. Comprised of three key principles and two underlying building blocks, it provides a holistic view of necessary and transformations to arrive at the desired future state, ready to pick up momentum in the new normal.
Deconstructing the resilient enterprise approach
Organizations that thrive in the long term usually get there by caring deeply for their staff and customers. As a result, in the new normal, leaders must be focused on keeping employees safe and secure, irrespective of where they work and what device they work on – that’s of foremost importance.
Experienced managers know that when organizations take care of their employees, their customers are automatically taken care of. Enabling staff to continue to work from home by providing them with the tools they need to be able to stay productive and collaborate efficiently is critical as returning to physical pre-pandemic templated workspaces seems more and more unlikely every day.
The second principle, therefore, is geared towards delivering that desired experience to staff. In most cases, the idea is to offer an ecosystem of applications and platforms that work synchronously, in a flexible, distributed constructed, whether on-premise, in a multi-cloud environment, or via a hybrid cloud.
Given the constant chatter about the benefits of the cloud, there’s a perception that migrating applications to the cloud is inherently a better idea than keeping it on-premise. That’s far from the truth. In reality, the reasonable way to make the decision about where to host applications is to understand the usage and expectations of the application’s user group, among other things.
In my most recent blogpost, I provided an in-depth analysis on the topic – helping readers understand why on-premise isn’t dated, and why the cloud isn’t always a cool choice to make. It makes a case to continue hosting on the cloud but explains why organizations that want to thrive in the new normal must choose to go with a hybrid cloud model.
Finally, the last principle of the resilient enterprise approach, rests on the idea that the needs of the business keep changing and if the organization intends to keep up, it needs to adapt quickly, developing and deploying capabilities almost instantaneously. With the pandemic forcing organizations to accelerate deployments at scale, across the enterprise, leaders realize that they really need to invest in automation, virtualization, orchestration, and management if they want to really go digital in the true sense of the word.
The two fundamental building blocks underpinning these three key principles, therefore, are the business policies that need to be deployed in order to build a resilient enterprise, and the IT operating model that will be needed to monitor, measure, and manage such an organization.
Specifically speaking, the business policies include work from home policies, data and application security policies, and workplace resources. The IT operating model overlooks network operations, data center and cloud management, security operations, device or endpoint management, and help desk management, among other things.
When the two fundamental building blocks are set up correctly, spearheading the organization towards its future state in terms of IT architecture is easier.
Based on my conversations with partners and customers, most leaders understand that we’re at a critical point now. Organizations have an urgent need to transform into a resilient enterprise if they want to adapt and disrupt the marketplace – that’s what will decide their trajectory over the course of the decade. They must enable staff to work securely from anywhere, collaborating from any device, managing IT operations from anywhere using automation and advanced analytics & visibility tools, and maximizing the experience for customers and staff alike.
Those that get it right will not only win big rewards over the next decade as the marketplace undergoes a tectonic shift, but also be prepared to for the next unplanned shock in the winter months.
Adopting the resilient enterprise approach is the most comprehensive insurance policy when it comes to protecting your organization against the unknown.