As we look ahead to a post COVID-19 future, we face the reality that while some businesses will come out of this okay, other businesses won’t be able to successfully pivot or adapt to the new paradigm. The post COVID-19 future is not going to be like it was before- the adaptations to society and businesses that had to be made to survive the pandemic are going to remain in place for years to come. The businesses that best survive this are the ones that that have best contained their expenses, were able to pivot customer operations to ones that are flexible enough to serve both “in-house” and “remote” sales and delivery, and were able to transition their internal business processes from those that require staff in-office to ones that can be successfully run remotely.
In effect, there will be a “new normal” established. Many businesses will be more open to staff working remotely regularly; Indeed, many small businesses may find they don’t actually need a physical office to operate their business from. Staff meetings can be conducted remotely via tools such as Microsoft Teams, customer facing meetings can take place in short-term rented meeting spaces, on-premise servers can systems can be migrated to cloud operations, B2B payments can be handled solely through electronic means such as ACH or credit card transactions and physical checks managed via the use of BPO lockbox services. The old paradigm of using VPNs to connect back to on-premise resources is going to go away, especially for smaller and mid-sized businesses.
More retail operations are going to shift to having online ordering capability. Some retailers such as Amazon have been online since day one, and many traditional brick-and-mortar stores such as Wal-Mart and Target have been increasing their online ordering and fulfillment capabilities for several years, many smaller retailers such as boutique stores and many smaller restaurants have not taken advantage of online ordering because it represented a small part of their market. But in the “new normal”, delivery and curbside pickup, even if not representative of a large part of a store’s regular market, would need to be in place so that retailers and effectively and rapidly pivot as demand changes.
As part of reducing contact points between customers and employees and reducing the chances of spreading germs, many customers are going to prefer contactless payment systems, including NFC based systems such as Apple Pay and Google Pay, as well as pay online, pay-via-app, and pay-at-the-table systems.
Business are going to search for processes that can be streamlined and preferably automated- automated processes that can replace or reduce the number of FTEs will continue to pay dividends into the future. Right now, businesses should be asking themselves what processes they should look at automating and working with their IT providers to determine what changes, if any, they would need to make in their tools and technology to support automating business processes.
Right now- in the middle of this- all businesses should be looking at these things- now is the time to transform your business. Organizations that wait to see what things look like on the other side are going to find themselves playing catch-up to those that looked ahead and took the steps necessary to survive in the New Normal. If you need help navigating your business during these times, please contact CORTEX.