What’s happening?

The COVID-19 pandemic presents a serious threat to people, businesses and economies across the world. Gartner’s recent Business Continuity Survey shows just 12 percent of organizations are highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus. Smart leaders must focus on how they can best protect their people, serve their customers and stabilize business continuity.

During times of crisis, business operations—the intelligence engine of an organization—are more important than ever. Business continuity and disaster recovery plans are being tested by rapidly evolving challenges, such as travel restrictions, and as large-scale remote working becomes a reality.

Just 12%

of organizations are highly prepared for the impact of coronavirus, according to Gartner’s recent Business Continuity Survey.

32%

of senior executives rarely update their operating model, according to initial data from an ongoing Intelligent Operations survey by Accenture and Oxford Economics.

Act now

Organizations must respond rapidly and robustly to maintain business continuity. Accenture recommends the following:

PREVENT: What to do now

Take immediate steps to ensure the safety and well-being of employees. Prioritize actions that put your people first and exploit the capabilities that global business services offer:

  • Enable people to work and connect with colleagues from diverse and secure locations and create safe working environments through regular sanitization.
  • De-densify workspaces, curb large meetings and ensure that protocols are followed in canteens, elevators and areas of common use. Limit all non-essential business travel and client visits and align with local health and safety guidelines.

PREPARE: What to do next

Identify priority processes and establish a command center. Take actions to meet the needs of your key stakeholders:

  • Identify priorities and critical processes, including functions such as employee payroll, healthcare and supply chain (to keep goods moving and services ongoing); also, highly important processes and other services such as payments, and necessary services in healthcare, insurance and banking.
  • Establish a command center for a virtual workforce to measure quality, productivity, compliance, insights and intelligence, people engagement and workforce well-being.

PREDICT: What to do for the longer term

Be proactive and create a customer-oriented plan that is sustainable. Prioritize actions that help you pre-empt the impact of volatility:

  • Bring together highly skilled, distributed teams that can log in anytime, anywhere and deliver on customer commitments at scale.
  • Build a broader ecosystem around the organization’s workforce to enable collaboration across a broader set of priorities—including healthcare and childcare. This will lead to improved morale and engagement levels resulting in better business outcomes.

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Remember, empathetic leadership and communications are two key areas that aid human resilience in difficult times.

Where next?

Here are five ways to help your organization achieve intelligent, resilient operations:

1. Establish a resilient culture

Organizations should continue to execute work in a collaborative manner—with critical knowledge workers augmented by digital capabilities.

2. Create broader ecosystems based on social collaboration

Move beyond employee workspaces to broader ecosystems that employees can access, such as healthcare or childcare.

3. Employ agile, elastic workplace models

The best combination of working from home and the office, depending on the nature and type of work and relevant skills required, can be enabled by technology, data, security and cloud computing.

4. Build a human+machine workforce

Make transactional processes more digital and focus on value-led, proactive operations driven by data and analytics to reduce stress on operations.

5. Adopt a distributed global services model

Use a mixture of service models to de-risk the organization in a volatile world. Distributed global services mean that high performance can be delivered anytime, anywhere.

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