By Sharon Chang
As global companies grapple with an ongoing and evolving COVID-19 crisis, it is important to note that the key priority for businesses right now is driving continuity. Companies must be predictive and proactive in their decision-making to preserve business sustainability and build resilience
At this stage, we are nowhere near recovery yet. That said, corporate leaders should start planning for a new post-pandemic paradigm as Asia is the heart of the global economy.
Nassim Nicholas Taleb, a scholar and author, in his book, “The Black Swan” argued that black swan events are impossible to predict due to their extreme rarity.
Yet, they have catastrophic consequences.
Consequently, it demands companies to always assume a black swan event is possible and to plan henceforth.
To navigate moving forward, businesses and corporate leaders should be thinking of key issues, as well as steps they can take to not only react to severe business shocks now but also reshape their business and plan for recovery.
Prior to the Malaysian government announcing the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18, there had been no simulation of the outbreak impact across general businesses, Avinash Gowda, Country Manager of Nutanix, Malaysia, says in an emailed interview to questions from Business Today.
“One of the first things that businesses should acknowledge is that this is not going to be a short-term incident and they should adapt so that their operations are able to run in this new normal as smoothly as they can, as early as they can,” Gowda remarks.
He quoted American politician Rahm Emanuel, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” – taking advantage of this time allows one to evaluate the business’ people, planning and processes.
Social economics, prioritising people’s safety and continuous engagement
This crisis has already seen a slowdown in hiring and is a great opportunity for businesses to look at their people and resources to identify areas of inefficiencies and explore opportunities to address them.
“Also, look into possibilities to reskill or upskill talents, so they stay relevant in an uncertain economic climate. Make best use of the resources you have right now that will help your business continue running,” he says.
“While a subset of companies can operate remotely, most Malaysian businesses are currently in a reactive phase,” Gowda says, adding that business continuity, which was once an afterthought, is now a priority.
They should be looking to do two key things right now – keeping staff safe and keeping the business running, he points out.
“For knowledge-economy companies, this means ensuring that their employees are provided with the right support and tools for remote working,” Gowda adds.
Gowda says cloud-based solutions, including video conferencing tools and messaging platforms, have seen a great demand from the global market during the outbreak.
Additionally, corporate leaders should also look to technology to help them maintain and even strengthen efficiency and productivity in their operations, he opines.
“We will continue to see an acceleration of cloud adoption and other technologies that support remote working and drive increased automation in workplaces.”
Digitalisation and software-defined infrastructures will be the future of Malaysia’s economy and business sustainability will take on a whole new meaning.
Reshaping strategy for business continuity
The key priority for companies right now is to get back in business, and technologies such as Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) can support that.
These solutions and technology provide mobility and flexibility for personnel without compromising security, productivity or performance will be the future of the global digital economy.
According to Gowda, these two models are set to become central pillars of Asia’s continuity strategy as businesses seek to mitigate future risk and disruption.
He points out that it’s time for corporate leaders to embrace these modern tools to keep staff safe and productive, businesses resilient, and the economies protected.
Communicating with stakeholders
Ensuring continuity in communication to customers, vendors, partners and internal staff is key and sets the tone of business stability.
In a response to questions, Gowda says that multiple collaboration tools exist that provide capabilities to access them regardless of location or device, and effectively using them to ensure rapid and team effectiveness will go a long way. This will repay itself in customer and employee satisfaction as well as general brand perception.
“The cloud is helping corporate leaders collaborate with stakeholders as well as access real-time data on their business from their remote working environments,” he says, urging corporate leaders to turn data into actionable insights to aid their business continuity planning for the coming months.
Building resilience in preparation for the new normal
Over the past few turbulent months, a range of software, solutions and applications have allowed prescient businesses in Malaysia and the region to continue operating while they mitigate the challenges and uncertainties.
Without a doubt, cloud technology has helped.
“The adoption of public, private and hybrid cloud services provided access to, and availability of, critical data, Gowda says.
“The increased adoption of hybrid cloud and enterprise cloud operating systems is removing the last silo of organisational dysfunction and paving the way for real time, comprehensive, and actionable intelligence.”
In Nutanix’s latest Enterprise Cloud Index report, it shows that 23.5 percent of businesses across the globe have yet to leverage cloud technology, and the Asia Pacific and Japan region is seeing higher numbers of non-cloud use (24 percent) than the US (21 percent).
Fortunately, businesses reported, plans indicate that this global figure will drop to 6.5 percent in a year, and further to 3 percent in two years’ time.
“There’s never been a better time for businesses to evaluate hybrid cloud and the efficiencies that it can provide,” Gowda concludes.