Scottish businesses and organisations are being urged to urgently develop their technological capabilities in order to cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
As the disruption caused by coronavirus continues, global technology giant CGI has put forward a wide-ranging framework for tackling the crisis and saving the economy.
Lindsay McGranaghan, vice-president of CGI in Scotland, is now calling for companies to take advantage of the insights in the report to help them adapt and thrive in the “new normal2. The white paper has been drawn up by CGI’s president and CEO George D Schindler and outlines his belief that it is more important than ever to focus on how to create value in the face of unprecedented change.
He points out that while some industries such as online retail have experienced a surge in demand, others have suffered a dramatic slowdown, including many manufacturing sectors forced to alter and, in some cases, shut down their operations.
In addition, operational changes in response to the pandemic which were originally thought to be short term look like becoming permanent new ways of doing business, either replacing or augmenting existing processes.
“Many executives are accelerating components of their digital strategy to both meet customer needs and optimise operations,” says Schindler.
A central part of the white paper is findings from CGI Client Global Insights, an annual consultative conversation where CGI leaders meet with business and IT executives to gather their perspectives on the trends affecting their enterprises.
Through 1,400 face-to-face consultations with executives before and during the pandemic, it was identified that there were three key organisational capabilities that leaders will need in order to navigate both short and medium-term challenges successfully. These are mastering business agility, rethinking the technology supply chain, and enabling the “future of work” including encouraging interest in STEM subjects plus helping employees update their skills.
The company’s research indicates that those organisations with high business agility outperform their peers by a factor of two to three times in terms of revenue and profitable growth yet only 18 per cent of the commercial executives interviewed reported that their business was highly agile.
“The agility of businesses has never been more urgent and vital,” said McGranaghan. “Firms and organisations that were already agile pre-pandemic were able to respond and adapt quickly. What this proves is that agility is beneficial to fast adaptation when striving to navigate the ‘new normal’. To enable this agility, it is very clear that investment must be made in cultures, operating models and technology.”
Agile leaders are able to evaluate and swiftly adjust their business models in order to cope to new demands such as moving from a physical presence to an online model, according to McGranaghan.
“If they are willing to enable latest technological developments to assist their strategies, business leaders can gain new insights, accelerate innovation, automate their operations, enjoy close collaborations with their clients and also adopt alternative distribution chains,” she said.
In this “new normal”, digital engagement has become even more important and is key to ensuring success in the future. It means there is a widespread need to reskill employees to adapt to both in-person and/or virtual working conditions, according to McGranaghan.
“We must remember that digital tools require efficient management and training to integrate them into the work environment,” she said. “Integrating relevant plans and technologies into current business models will be vital in helping organisations rebound from the present pandemic or other future crises. This is a critical aspect of how firms reinvent their futures.
“Undoubtedly, an agile, digitally-aware workforce that takes advantage of intelligent, collaborative platforms can offer much greater levels of customer service. Process automation solutions are growing in use and are just one example of technology empowering talent in the workforce to focus on the more strategic aspects of their roles and duties.”
It is clear that not all activities will return to the way they were before the pandemic, but McGranaghan believes accelerated use of digital tools will enable businesses to continue to achieve productivity gains from in-person and virtual teams collaborating across locations and time zones.“The digital revolution is giving rise to fascinating new business models that help industry leaders focus on serving clients in a much more focused way which provides better outcomes for everyone.”
Many pandemic-related changes are still taking place in workplaces across the country and these will continue to evolve, but it is certain that the steady implementation of new technologies will be at the heart of adaptation.
“While many experts are making predictions on the future of industry and how to adapt, we at CGI believe it is more important than ever to focus on how to create value,” said Schindler. “We have demonstrated the ingenuity to help clients with how, particularly through mastering business agility, rethinking their vital technology supply chains, and enabling the future of work.”
Download the white paper at www.cgi-group.co.uk/en-gb/white-paper/cgi3r/charting-path-forward-resilience-and-adaptability
Source: The Herald