In the universe of business, resilience has always meant the same thing– and yet, business resilience has always meant something different. The reason? Each crisis encountered by a business forces it to an action plan that must respond to a new set of business problems, recover from the challenges of the crisis, and introduce long-term changes that will keep the business relevant in an altered reality. However, few crises have impacted businesses across industries and geographies on a scale and scope as massive as the COVID-19 pandemic. As most enterprises have effectively responded and partly recovered from the crisis, the multimillion-dollar dilemma remains– which changes will stick in the long run, and what will be the drivers of business resilience in the post-pandemic world?
The value of resilience
According to one in-depth study, one in seven companies have managed to boost their sales volume and profit margins after a crisis– and this holds true for four major global crises that have occurred since 1985. The recent coronavirus pandemic was no different. It can be summarized as “enterprise resilience”. The levers that enabled that growth were coincidentally also the ones that had to be pulled to restart business in the post-pandemic reality. Clearly, there is something bigger at play here– business resilience drives growth in the long run too, beyond short-term recovery. In the context of the recent crisis, a few elements stand out: no-touch, data-driven, remote-enabled, digital acceleration, and so on. Scoping these elements in accordance with the new reality is what will define business resilience in the bounce-back, post-recovery.
Doing business in a brave new world
In the post-COVID-19 era, businesses have been exposed to a few critical truths:
- Digital can be sped up: Businesses have managed to achieve gargantuan transformation journeys in a matter of weeks. This means that digital interventions will have to work with shorter timeframes, as the possibilities and the profitability associated with the same have become clearer after the pandemic.
- Collaboration has evolved: Business processes that previously relied on in-person collaboration can now be fast-tracked through digital collaboration through the touch of a button, at lower costs. How these measures will fit in post-recovery workplace configurations is yet to be observed.
- Data is the new oil: Data has emerged as the oil of the new digital economy. Data-driven solutions have enabled massive cost-takeout and improved employee experience across job functions. The next decade will, therefore, bring big value propositions with data-driven solutions.
- A new side to people: While people have always been at the center and the periphery of any business – and everywhere in between – the pandemic has brought their personal lives in the business, and empathetic interactions have multiplied over the course of the pandemic. Retaining the better aspects that have emerged from this unavoidable global experiment will enable greater satisfaction for both internal and external stakeholders.
Abstracting from these facts, business leaders need to understand the nature of resilience in the new reality. As leading performers leverage these truths to achieve new paradigms of experience delivery, cost-competitiveness, and efficiency while staying resilient to disruptions, business in the post-recovery phase looks very different for the rest, too.
The road ahead with resilience
Business resilience in the new normal will be built on the foundational pillars of crisis readiness. The ability to anticipate risks; adapting to a failure-tolerant, modular infrastructure, and process design with independently reparable moving parts ; retaining diverse talent in an agile and responsive environment; and opening up to new ways of doing old things will all have a key impact. Resilience begins with a shift in the mindset of the people that constitute the business entity. Infusion of digital innovations across the right processes and systems will be crucial in reinventing for the long run.