This is the THIRD and final blog in our series discussing Effective IT Asset Management during COVID-19. Our first blog explained how to Manage the Productivity of Your Remote Workforce. Our second post outlined the steps you should take to Secure Your Remote Workforce During and After the COVID Pandemic. Today, we will explain a few of the best-practices that you should follow to Position Your Company for Global Resilience.
A company’s global resilience is a measure of how well it can sustain “normal” business operations and how quickly it can rebound in the event of a natural disaster, pandemic, economic crisis, political unrest, and other unexpected incidents. Global resilience metrics provide critical insights for leaders, especially C-level executives who need to make far-reaching decisions about building new facilities, extending supply chains, and cultivating new markets. In addition to marking the boundaries of the post-pandemic business landscape, global resilience also reminds leaders that conventional risks—such as hurricanes, flood, drought, fire, earthquakes, cyberattack, and political upheaval—can (and will) continue to threaten normal business operations. While COVID-19 had an unconventionally devastating impact on the entire world, it does not preclude other catastrophes from occurring during the same timeframe. Diligent analysis of your company’s risks, mitigation and prevention strategies, and global resilience is one of the best ways to preserve its value during trying times.
Promoting corporate resilience should be a high priority for every C-level executive and anyone in a supporting role who contributes to business continuity. While COVID caused the immediate collapse of many companies and industries, poor management decisions caused other large companies to linger around a little longer before dying off. Slow moving medical equipment manufacturers, for example, failed to adapt to new technologies, globalization, and competition from unexpected sources. Although it is never easy for large, mature organizations to execute dramatic strategic and operational changes, these kinds of changes are often necessary for a company to survive. Regardless of your company’s size or age, it can develop the capability to continuously renew itself by following these steps:
STEP 1 – Add Strategic Options to Your Company’s Portfolio
Resilient companies do not just maintain a portfolio of products and/or services—they develop and continuously improve a comprehensive list of strategic options by soliciting ideas from people across the entire organization. To become truly resilient, a company needs to allocate a healthy portion (i.e., 20 percent or more) of its capital expenditures for testing new business strategies and radically innovating major aspects of its business model such as pricing, partnerships, and industry alliances. Depending on the baseline resilience level of your company, the transformation may result in a minor or major change. For example, you may end up shifting your entire business model from selling a handful of high-margin products to selling a wide variety of services. While this may sound radically extreme, it may be necessary for your company to survive now and thrive in the future.
COVID-19 has forced companies to optimize their business processes for organic growth, launch new business ventures at an accelerated rate and, in turn, grow faster than anyone ever imagined possible. The strongest companies have already moved past the “new-norm” business models and started reinventing themselves using the “next-norm” operating models (i.e., digital transformation). Resilient companies are now capitalizing on whatever crucial business components they have that can be reshaped using agile processes.
STEP 2 – Use Financial Indicators to Allocate Resources
Budget allocations are an integral part of your company’s annual financial plan. They indicate the level of resources your organization is committing to a department, a project, a program, or some other notable aspect of your business. In the absence of allocation limits, expenditures can quickly exceed revenues and result in large financial losses.
Before COVID-19, many companies created their budgets based on the time-tested rule-of-thumb: If a department was successful (i.e., achieved all its goals and objectives) at the end of the current fiscal year, it received the same or more funding for the following year. Today, the resilient approach to budgeting involves using your company’s financial health indicators: liquidity, solvency, profitability, and operational efficiency to manage resources so that funding of known opportunities (e.g., your IT department) can be properly balanced by your company’s need to invest in other/new business ventures.
Keep in mind that no single metric can identify the overall financial and operational health of your company. Liquidity can educate you about your organization’s ability to ride out short-term rough patches, while solvency can help you understand how quickly your company can cover longer-term debt and obligations. Efficiency and profitability tell a story about your company’s ability to convert inputs into cash flows and net income. All these metrics need to be examined together in order to get a complete and holistic view of your company’s stability, which will help you properly allocate resources to ensure your company’s long-term sustainability.
STEP 3 – Empower Teams and Leverage Your ITAM System
Now more than ever, companies around the world need smart, focused leadership. There is no proven “user guide” for leadership when the stakes are astronomically high, and there are certainly no instructions for what to do when confronted by a global pandemic. Faced with an overwhelming volume of critical decisions that need to be made almost immediately, leaders feel the urge to limit authority and tighten controls. However, empowering the right teams and leveraging the information contained in your IT Asset Management system is a better approach. Our world is still changing at an incredibly fast pace, so you and your plans need to be flexible and your decisions need to be based on timely and accurate information.
The team with the most relevant expertise in any given situation should be empowered to take the lead and allowed to make critical business decisions. Most companies have dedicated Marketing departments to discover trends and monitor the competition, Sales teams to turn prospects into customers, and Tech Support teams to answer questions about products and services. So, how are these “teams” any different from empowering another team to take the lead on something new? It is not different. In fact, recent research suggests that cross-functional teams make better decisions and achieve better results than individuals. Managing a resilient company requires C-level executives to obtain information from multiple sources (e.g., your IT Asset Management system, IT Directors, etc.) to get a complete picture of what is really happening.
Organizational resilience depends on more perspectives than any individual can possibly provide. Cross-functional teams with clear mandates, empowered to make informed decisions using a mature IT Asset Management system, can accomplish anything! The entire world was thrust into “the great work-from-home experiment of 2020” without much time to prepare. C-level executives, IT Directors, and their employees were all forced into survival mode and, as we went through it together, we finally learned that work is something we do as a team—not somewhere we drive to alone.