Restructure, Renew, Rework: Analyzing the Business Impact of COVID-19

The most striking point about Covid-19 was the speed at which it jolted the world into a standstill. Businesses experienced unprecedented disruptions at all levels, while nations battled to fight the health hazard. Talking about the impact of Covid-19 on the travel and tourism industry, OYO Hotel’s Aditya Ghosh shared an interesting perspective:

“We are witnessing an artificial restriction as opposed to the fundamental need of customers disappearing. So, while the world will change, travel will remain a fundamental need. How companies deliver the services in the most cost-efficient way will determine their success or failure.”

Like travel and hospitality, retail and fashion industries along with many others were hit hard by the pandemic. Since sales were frozen globally, for many industries the prime challenge was to stay afloat. Acceleration of technology and digitalization in business was most inevitable under the circumstances. Almost all companies had to shift to a virtual working set-up in a matter of days. This probably has been the most widespread impact of Covid-19.

Interestingly certain sectors like insurance, technology, and the related businesses started picking up at breakneck speed despite the disruptions they were experiencing. Businesses evolved quickly and started offering innovative solutions by overcoming challenges. As described by Accenture’s Piyush Singh:

“In today’s world, we advise entirely on the basis of data models and not hypothesis. Therefore, to stimulate new data models in unprecedented environments is a rapid change we are having to undergo.”

 Since the Covid-19 Pandemic is an unprecedented calamity, the road to recovery must be equally innovative. Robert Ford has opined that the Post-COVID roadmap will be far more tech-forward and innovative at the top table. Organizations will adopt a “Tech-forward Business Strategy” where technology will be in the forefront helping to find the intersection between business objective and technological capability bringing about true innovation.

With the kind of change we are experiencing, one thing is sure, once we return to the new normal nothing will remain the same, it will definitely be a different world. This crisis brings forth an opportunity, especially for large enterprises to relook at their business. Companies that have remained operational with 30 – 40% workforce supported by technological intervention should explore new ways of working.

“Immediately after the declaration of lockdown we created a virtual war room. Now it is our business transformation room. We are working with a new mindset, thinking like a $4 Billion Start-up with the founders’ mentality embedded into the team.” – Ajay Kapur, CEO, Aluminium & Power, Vedanta.

Businesses should retain the changes they have adopted during the crisis. They should work on building resilience. They should remain calm, collaborate, cooperate and increase honest communication. A different approach can be staying nimble and flexible in business and simply respond to the change in customer trends as and when they appear.

Robert Ford offers an easy roadmap. He says companies should simply take CARE – be Confident, remain Action-oriented, stay Reliable and retain high Energy.

No matter which route they take, in this time of business restructuring, remote working is going to play a key role. It has been proven that working from home saves travel time and increases employee productivity. PolicyBazaar’s Sarbvir Singh stated:

“We are embracing the work from home concept wholeheartedly. It will take us closer to the customers and help us to take our business to new territories without incurring a huge set-up cost.”

To sum it up we can say, this crisis brings businesses an opportunity to reboot and restructure. To review the existing models, detect the loopholes, discard the useless and adopt the innovative. It offers a chance to start afresh and emerge stronger than ever.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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