History reveals how innovation has been at the forefront during any crisis. In fact, organizations that leverage innovation emerge stronger than their peers during crisis. In the current COVID-19 situation too, we see ample initiatives that demonstrate the power of innovation in dealing with unfavorable business conditions. For instance, sensing a dip in demand, some beer makers and distillers have shifted their production line to make hand sanitizers. Taxi aggregators are providing medical services to assist healthcare providers. A large auto manufacturer in India is now using eight of its plants to assemble face shields, while some plants are also developing low-cost ventilators and manufacturing hand sanitizers. Likewise, a start-up engineering company in Italy is developing 3D printers to create valves used in ventilators.
Crisis also breeds new partnerships that create a win-win situation for both the parties involved. Take for instance, pizza companies partnering with FMCG companies to deliver food essentials. Similarly, a large e-commerce player has partnered with a transport service provider to deliver essential goods to consumers. While other organizations are laying off employees, these companies are looking at hiring people to keep up with the demand.
The fundamental theme in all these examples is to RECALIBRATE, keeping the purpose and organizational vision intact. It’s about exploring new ways of working and opportunities to innovate, sustain, grow, and redefine the old models of process, and adapting to the new norm. In all the given examples of innovative initiatives, the core of the business has been retained, while organizations have recalibrated their processes to seamlessly adapt to the immediate needs of survival.
During a crisis like COVID-19, the ability of organizations to sustain and grow through new innovative models significantly increases their brand value and customer value index in the market.
Managing COVID-19 disruptions: Four key industry pain points
Any innovation or partnership leading to a business transformation always involves transformation in technology too. During the pandemic, the primary focus for organizations across industries has been cost optimization and savings while addressing employee safety, minimizing disruptions to deliverables, and providing a superior customer experience.
The four key areas of impact for organizations across industries are:
- Remote workforce management – With remote working becoming the new normal, organizations are facing unique challenges such as employee disconnect, remote monitoring of employee productivity and effectiveness, employee wellness and perception of business.
- Supply chain / logistics – Major disruptions due to lockdown restrictions have led to a lack of visibility in the supply chain, which has significantly impacted the end-to-end process.
- Financial planning and budgeting – With demand fluctuations across various industries, there has been an uncertainty surrounding the cash flows requiring immediate financial prudence.
- Sales – Customer buying patterns have been severely impacted with majority sales being driven through online channels, which makes it crucial to understand external factors impacting buying behavior.
The immediate reaction to the pandemic has been restrictions in investments on new technologies as CapEx investments get stalled due to cash flow challenges. Consequently, many organizations which were/ are on legacy technology systems face significant challenges due to remote workforce movement, inability to access data, emergence of security challenges, etc.
The need for insights-driven decision-making for recalibration
Rapid decision-making is a must in such situations as ensuring business continuity or exploring new opportunities require strong decisions. But what is required most is insights backing those decisions. For legacy organizations or the ones still in the modernization phase, deriving meaningful insights is their biggest challenge. Huge investments are required to set up an Analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) function and to use the latest technologies for solving real life problems.
With industries facing uncertainties in cash flows, the best option is to opt for “As-a-Service” model wherein fixed upfront CapEx investments are converted into an OpEx model. This way, organizations can react to the immediate crisis, and recalibrate to explore, innovate and embrace new ways of working.
An AI solution with pre-built industry specific apps and models that businesses can choose to explore and innovate on new use cases is the key to faster implementation.
Fast-tracking AI implementation
You can accelerate AI implementation with Wipro’s Data Discovery Platform and “As-a-service” model. The platform provides features such as pertinent and actionable insights, Design Thinking and storytelling based visualization with prebuilt data models, and analytical models and dashboards powered by a low-code data science environment. (See Figure 1).
The key benefits the platform offers are:
- Insights as a Service model with zero CapEx
- Accelerated value delivery within weeks
- Scalable and ready to use infrastructure
- Ready to use 100+ persona based apps
- Reduced TCO