After growth is before growth
We are in a situation that seems unreal. Many books and movies about the outbreak of "killer viruses" show the heroic struggle and their containment by a few protagonists.
Well, we didn't need the transformation of these movie themes into reality. What becomes apparent is that it is not the movie heroes who prove themselves as heroes in the crisis, but ordinary people who work in areas that - when sickened - keep us alive, or, even more mundanely, keep the infrastructure running, ensure security...
What is also evident is that those companies are stronger in their respective industries that are further ahead in automation and digital transformation than others.
Prepare and plan
That's already evident when you're working with companies that can't keep their own operations running because they haven't put the technical requirements in place ahead of time. I see the frontrunners as too few VPN lines, too few mobile devices, lack of bandwidth and then, of course, the lack of licenses.
In addition, the lack of a security structure for processing customer and company data from the home office. The blocking of file sharing (including the use of shared cloud storage) is also mentioned in some cases. In some cases, there is also a lack of video conferencing options, or the company has to work with free and non-secure solutions.
Mobile working" has long been standard practice at most IT companies. By that I don't mean the "digital nomads" who can actually do their work from anywhere in the world as long as they have (reasonably fast) Internet access and a suitable power adapter for their laptop.
For many employees who work in a home office, this also includes parts of the infrastructure they are familiar with from the office, i.e. more mundanely the ability to print and scan or a second monitor and remote access to important internal resources.
I am optimistic that most companies will find solutions, at least in this area, even if they have to make investments that are not planned until later.
Communication and digitization
This will also include making communication with customers and suppliers more digital. This will enable processes to be triggered automatically or documents and decisions (such as orders) to be exchanged digitally and in an audit-proof manner.
Here, too, we have seen in recent weeks how difficult it is for some companies to successfully pass through approval chains or to support their business partners in doing so.
Another and very important step is the optimization of available resources. This starts with the visibility of one's own stock levels, which can quickly run into the hundreds of storage locations for a retailer.
But even in production, the same materials and production resources are often distributed in different places. Increased visibility serves a quick supply on one's own without having to go to the third market.
Once implemented, availability in one's own zone of influence can now be checked in addition to the supply situation at suppliers.
My film tips if you're in the mood for pandemic movies: "The Seventh Seal" (1957), an atmospherically very dense historical film about the time of the plague, and "Contagion" (2011), a Hollywood film about the outbreak of a deadly virus.
Please stay healthy!