COVID-19 is a global health crisis whose scale and speed are unprecedented in recent history. Companies should act now to protect their people and ensure business continuity. High tech firms will likely need to evaluate impacts on three fronts: supply chain, market demand and employees. High tech leaders should balance preparing for the short-term while also developing new capabilities and ways of working that will change how they operate in mid- and long-term.
High tech is well positioned to ride out the crisis
In the short-term, supply disruption will reduce manufacturing and assembly capacity, plant reopenings will be further delayed by lags in component supply, and travel bans will exacerbate workforce shortages and consumer demand. The good news is High tech companies are set up for remote work more than other industries and so will suffer less of a workplace culture shock.
The shift to working from home with the help of digital collaboration tools is likely to drive demand for High tech in many categories. A growing need for infrastructure to support this shift, like cloud computing for business or increased broadband consumption for consumers, will be a boon to the industry.
Demand impact will differ across high tech sectors
Each subsector and link in the value chain will face its own challenges.
Within these distinct categories, each supply chain is unique. To get a detailed picture, companies have to look at the way their components, products and services, and customers will each be affected.
Acting fast in a crisis
Many leaders must provide for the short-term while developing new capabilities and ways of working that will endure. One of the best ways to prepare for any future challenge is to develop an Elastic Digital Workforce, an extendable workplace environment that allows you to quickly scale and adapt to changing business needs.
- Putting the right tools in place: If the right tools for remote work are not already in place, leaders, in collaboration with IT, should ensure that all employees have access to, as well as the ability or proper training to use, these tools. And, they could push for universal adoption and model their use. Business continuity plans should account for the Elastic capacity of a digitally enabled workforce, as well as potential reductions in workforce and travel.
- Culture powers the transition: Powered by a strong culture, organizations can set about strengthening or replacing every aspect of their technology that could support an Elastic Digital Workforce, such as distributing the right equipment to employees. Networks that connect devices to homes where workers and customers reside must be shored up, and security protections for data flowing over those networks must be assured.
Some institutions around the world have been overwhelmed by the speed at which the novel coronavirus travels. Major commercial hubs in Asia, Europe and North America have seen or will see their local governments and health care facilities struggle to meet capacity for new demand.
The same will likely be true of businesses. Acting quickly helps to weaken the impact of COVID-19 on your business. In fact, the positive effects of a transformation to an Elastic Digital Workforce can be felt quickly.
Coronavirus & high tech: Planning for the future
COVID-19 has been called a once-in-a-century event. In its wake, we are likely to see a lasting shift in employee expectations, a greater capacity to respond to sudden, global disruptions, an accelerated adoption of artificial intelligence and automation, and more automated and diverse supply chains.
High tech companies that invest now in creating an Elastic Digital Workforce will be much more prepared for a post-COVID-19 world.