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Transitioning to the “new reality”: From crisis reaction to active success

During this time of crisis, leaders from SMEs to large corporates are having to navigate unchartered waters and an unprecedented business landscape. Decisions ranging from the wellbeing of people to business continuity, long-term sustainability, and strategic adjustment of the business model are having to be made quickly for a future fraught with uncertainty. According to Business for South Africa (B4SA), SA’s GDP is expected to decline by between 10% and 17% in 2020 with between a million and four million formal and informal sector jobs at risk.  Entire supply chains are being disrupted and consumer spending will reduce at a rate not seen in a century.

Procursus and Turricula have developed a Covid-19 Business Response Framework that will help your company transition to the new reality in a structured and focused manner, moving from crisis reaction to actively achieving success. The framework provides a roadmap that enables stakeholders in key leadership roles to Act swiftly and pragmatically in response to the crisis, stabilise and Restore business operations, and position your business to Flourish in the post-pandemic new reality.

Act with Urgency

It is necessary to act urgently, with your optimised ‘Crisis Command Centre’ addressing the landscape changing every day with different Government directives, supply chain crises, and evolving clients. You need to continue to activate and adapt your business continuity and crisis management plans and perform robust business impact assessments to determine the critical areas in your business that are being triggered by the crisis. At the same time, stringent health and safety protocols must be implemented to ensure people wellbeing, financial metrics like cash flow and liquidity constantly recalibrated, business operations stabilised, new regulatory compliance requirements identified, and assurance activities repurposed to ensure governance, risk management, and controls are not overlooked or compromised during this time of crisis.

Restore Business Operations

Having stabilised your business, established protocols to manage the organisation through the pandemic, and enhanced your governance and internal controls, your business will be in a position to rapidly transition to the next stage of restoring and optimising operations. Operational capability and supply chains will be rebuilt and reconfigured, pre-existing revenue streams may be recovered or replaced by new revenue streams, and the organisation’s new ways of working reviewed in light of the changes to workspaces and virtualisation. Business solutions and information technology infrastructure, such as cloud computing, will require updating and modernisation, and enhancement of customer-facing digital solutions will need to be accelerated.

Position to Flourish

With the business restored and positioned to exceed pre-pandemic levels and having adapted to a new way of working, your company will be ready to seek out value opportunities and flourish in the new reality. The business model will be refreshed in the context of the strategy and environment, and a more agile operating model adopted. Opportunities arising from the crisis and business disruptions will present themselves and should be seized upon. The supply chain infrastructure must be optimized and opportunities to take costs and friction out of the supply chain and improve its resilience should be identified and acted on. A sustainable growth strategy should evolve, raising opportunities to unlock a competitive advantage in the emerging new reality. The information technology strategy is core to each business and has to be refreshed with data interpretation, machine learning, AI and digital solutions leveraged to improve productivity and to distinguish the company as being agile, able to respond quickly, and at the cutting edge of technology. Assurance must adopt a more agile, risk-based, as well as technology and data driven approach, serving as trusted partners to the business, enabling the organisation to quickly anticipate and respond to existing and emerging risks.

Execution of the Covid-19 Business Response Framework is only as good as the weakest link in the chain, whether it is adapting the business model, digitalising the offering or optimising the supply chain.  Most organisations have been able to weather the first weeks of the crisis by throwing their key resources at the challenges with abandon. Going forward, the organisation’s response framework must be sustainable, pragmatic and mapped holistically, resulting in a winning programme for the business to flourish.

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Covid-19 Business Response Framework

Businesses are facing unprecedented uncertainty. Covid-19 has significantly disrupted our normal ways of thinking and operating.  We need to radically transform our organisations now so that we are prepared for the ‘new normal’ and our ‘new reality’.  Critical activities that we need to focus on and act on now, just to restore our business and survive over the next weeks and months, including emphasizing the wellbeing of our people, finances, operations, and business continuity.  But at the same time, we should not ‘let this crisis go to waste’ and prepare to flourish by taking a medium to long-term view on supply chain infrastructure, customer and market dynamics, IT, and digital capability within our new reality.

You must set out a framework for your business that will help you to:

–       Act now to stabilise your business,

–       Restore your operating parameters, and prepare your business to

–       Flourish in the post-pandemic new reality.

All key activities should be examined in-depth, and strategic yet practical initiatives for these activities identified in each of the above stages, to develop a business response roadmap that will ensure a resilient and flourishing business in the ‘new reality’.

Some of the key concerns and activities requiring our immediate attention include:

  • The wellbeing of our people –  the Government regulations require us to have a plan to protect our people as they return to work. Beyond the hygiene factors, how do we continue to look after and engage our teams, allocate resources, recognize and promote talent, etc.?
  • Finance & Operations – liquidity, cash-flow, cost, and sustaining our critical operations are top of mind for all of us right now. Do we have a clear plan to restore all facets of our operating parameters including financial?
  • Assurance – now is not the time to throw governance and proven processes and systems out the window.  Now more than ever, when we are all under severe pressure, coupled with a distributed workforce and new ways of working, we need to double-down on what has served us well and enhance our assurance activities (internal audit, risk management, compliance, etc.) to ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency.  Have we considered governance in the new reality, including the delivery of new services and products?
  • Supply Chain, Customers, and Digital are some of the key areas most impacted by our new reality. Has our organisation made a plan to confront these challenges, for example, to reduce our dependency on restrained sources or bottlenecks for our key inputs or to digitalize our channels?
  • Sustainable Strategy – we need to re-visit our strategy in an expedited and efficient manner and answer the questions – what are our core strengths, what is our value proposition, what do our clients need?  We should not be throwing resources at products, services, and ideas that will end up dead in the water – even if they served us well in the past, in the old normal.  We need to focus on our strengths, unleash our resources, with a holistic view of all the risks across all our functional areas, and execute.  Have we documented and shared our strategy on this with key stakeholders?

We all realize that ‘business as usual’ in the future will be very different in many facets,  and the Covid-19 Business Response Framework will support you on the path to this future.

Seize the opportunity to transform, build resilience, and flourish in the new reality.