Business continuity and resilience

Our observations during COVID-19

  • Cash/liquidity has become critical for survival.
  • Business continuity plans have had to be rethought given the simultaneous global nature of the pandemic and the impact of international and domestic lockdowns.
  • Leaders are being challenged to deal with a new level of ambiguity – balancing what they can control with things they can’t.
  • Organisations are struggling to balance the health of their employees (physical, mental and economic) with the viability of their business – across both the short and long-term.
  • To continue operating in this environment, many organisations are trying to stay open while planning for the future through a combination of cash saving tactics and digital models.

Our predictions for a post-COVID-19 world

Fresh memories will drive the digitisation agenda

Digital transformation will be seen as a critical lever to build business continuity and resilience. Fears of more regular crisis events, given our interconnected world, will provide the burning platform needed – especially for government and small to medium enterprises that have lagged in their digital transformations. The coronavirus crisis is unlikely to be a one in 100-year event – lessons will be learnt that prepare us for future global disruptions. These lessons need to be factored into future government and business operations and forecasts.

Offshore operations will be re-evaluated

The simultaneously global nature of the coronavirus pandemic has exposed flaws in the global resourcing model and heavy reliance on offshore operations. This will encourage companies to explore new options for service delivery, either by bringing services back in-house, back onshore and/or greater adoption of digital managed services. A greater priority will be given to control and risk management dimensions. This could prove significant to tackling local unemployment and economic recovery as local capabilities are favoured.

Continuity plans will move out of PowerPoint and into the real world

Events will be planned and rehearsed through wide-scale, real-world simulations, and refined. Continuity of operations will increasingly rely on enabling the workforce to work from home amid future potential lockdowns.

Hibernation is a new resilience strategy

True organisational flexibility and modularity will be considered over just keeping the lights on. Companies will modify their organisational structures and decision-making formats to provide new options for rapid changes when faced with extreme events (e.g. hibernation, divestitures and separations of business units). Employers will build crisis clauses into contracts that enable reduced wages, forced leave or other tactics during crisis events.

What we need to consider

Will we demand our societal freedoms back?

We have been quick to give up a lot of social liberties (movement restrictions, surveillance and population monitoring). A well-handled government response to the crisis will boost trust and provide an opportunity to pivot reputation.

  • But when we return to a functioning and healthy society, will we regard the role of government as a steward for the future?
  • What role will our civic institutions, not-for-profits and corporate sectors play in the future inclusion agenda?
  • Will we relinquish control in a post-coronavirus world or demand everything back?

How will we collaborate to respond to future events?

Taiwan’s cross-government and industry collaboration around their capture and use of data was born out of the SARS crisis – they have had a controlled response to the coronavirus outbreak.

  • What kind of collaboration will we see around sharing data, employees, IP or capabilities to get through future events?
  • Will competitors leave competition at the door to safeguard a healthy society and functioning economy?

More predictions for a post-COVID-19 world

These themes were selected by comparing emerging trends before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. Within each theme, we engaged KPMG professionals to develop hypotheses on what a post-COVID-19 world might look like.

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