People often still ask me how I am doing during COVID-19, even as we are getting better at managing the new normal.
I say it has been business as usual for our Advisory team and me at Withum with some added twists. The twists help our clients cope and think through how to ADAPT and Rethink How Business Gets Done. I remember how I felt when I left private industry some 25 plus years ago and entered management consulting. At the time, I said, “What did I do”? Fast forward and I can say it was the best career decision, but it took patience, perseverance and coming back to the “Why.” At that time, I didn’t really know my purpose and over time, learned it was about fixing companies to run better.
So, we are now teaching our clients how to adapt and slowly change personalities from seeing disruption as not total despair but rather as an opportunity. I recently wrote an article addressing it was time to self-assess and create a SWOT analysis. I do have to say there is tremendous value if you care to see it and perhaps change your thinking about software and technology. Yes, it requires you to spend money. How much? That depends. I really like our Advisory team to think, act, and demonstrate as practical business people first. I’ve taught companies to digest modernization projects in a way that doesn’t totally freak them out. Let’s face it, we all will need to make some changes to our personalities, Rethink How Business Gets Done and include more empathy into our interactions.
Joe, what are you working on?
Many projects right now are actually around ERP and CRM Modernization. In an earlier article, I spoke about a company’s modernization centered on Sales and Marketing. COVID certainly set us back with realizing the last phase of the project, but we are trending for a launch this month. I mentioned the last phase as we have had many mini launches (i.e., Phase 1, 1a, 1b, 1c, 2, 3, 3b, 3c) and successes to transform and educate in a way the company can digest. Good thing we included a User Adoption Program in the project as this company has and will continue to change to become more productive.
We have another client focusing on textile finished goods coming in from Asia and reselling to various channels, typical Wholesale Distribution, with some new twists to expand the e-commerce channel and sell directly to the consumer, which now causes a warehouse and logistics function. This might not sound to you as Modernization, but from where we sit, this is common for companies to realize the business model has to change; they can not act as they always did and survive. This company did not have a good experience with another ERP consultant and was very guarded. We demonstrated the Withum Way and invested a few weeks to share our thinking and how we work.
This client is another good example where we are taking it slowly, bringing people along at their pace of learning and increasing trust and confidence. Let’s face it, we need to manage risk, manage running the business, manage our leaders and owners, etc. We will soon be addressing how the global supply chain is changing, especially with Asian countries and how the ERP Cloud solution can adapt to changing business processes. Fortunately, the cloud software operating model affords you the chance to innovate, Rethink How Business Gets Done and historically costs less than having servers in your office with all business systems loaded. It is more cyber secure too.
Joe, what other changes do you see coming?
Changes happen all the time. Our new working environment is going be tested significantly. Can the severity of this crisis cause us to rethink everything we do to run our business? I’d say not entirely but be selfish for a moment and think about what you needed personally to manage. Safety? Convenience? Reliability? Access? Transparency? Timeliness?
Sure, Joe, all of these and more. The “how” to achieve these preferences will change and is that what you mean by Rethink How Business Gets Done? Yes, and more because other companies will capitalize on the opportunity in front of them and where does that leave you?
contact a member of Withum’s Business and Management Consulting Group.
I’m reminded about the last time I saw such distress and doom and gloom around how we operate our companies. Does anyone recall how 2 digits in the year field caused such upheaval? Remember Y2K?
What about this thing called Cloud Computing? Share my information beyond what I can control? Remember how expensive it was to store your data/information? Internet 2.0? Internet of Things?
Clearly, do your homework but think back how others caused fear, uncertainty and doubt as their business models were being disrupted and passed along to you to dismiss the new concepts. Here we are again, but with more significance as this disruption is taking lives. GAME CHANGER for me. We will get through this together and a solution(s) will be provided, but you can’t stand still.
For me, this is a big lesson that the shift to the Digital Workplace has not advanced and I see every profession needing to adapt due to the COVID-19 shutdown. I’d be more worried about when consumption is going to rebound. Soon many companies will be faced with so much inventory of goods that can’t be sold. This can force global producers to fight for pieces of a shrinking pie. For years there has been discussion about Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, Cameras, Mobility and others as ways for people to come together and work. This certainly is the time to “Rethink How Business Gets Done.”
I read a lot, listen to podcasts and watch interviews. I found one person’s statement intriguing about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. That is what I have been saying about Rethink How Business Gets Done and the tools available to us but not in such a dramatic reference.
ERP, CRM, other business systems and the “App Centric Economy” are there to support the Digital Workplace. You shouldn’t stay on the sidelines. Are you concerned about your workforce and whether they can learn, adapt and learn? The workforce will learn new skills, become more productive and engaged and doesn’t this uplift the economy? I think so. I have many examples of companies collaborating, secure in sharing/exchanging information and productive with execution.
I also think more empathy will be needed with uplifting our workforce to learn and collaborate in a Teams culture. I see the future needing people who can digitally collaborate, be more productive and feel less threatened so let’s get started and Rethink How Business Gets Done.
Business and Management Consulting Group