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Public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced most businesses across all industry sectors to immediately adjust.


The most immediate impact was the requirement to comply with social distancing measures which has had far-reaching consequences for workers and business leaders everywhere.


You've thrown out the business as usual playbook and have enabled large portions of your staff for remote working where possible. You have begun to rethink most of your operations and have urgently accelerated or initiated digital transformation activities.

You discovered that employees, suppliers and customers were able and willing to adapt to the unthinkable and you were able to quickly deploy innovative solutions thanks to exceptional talent and resilience.

You are finally coming to a balance and must gradually reopen your business to a new normal... now what?

Your digitalization strategy and transformation are not only necessary right now, they are urgent, and you must accelerate first things first.

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PANDEMIC DIGITALIZATION PRIORITY 1          Enable remote/hybrid work

  • Incentivize shift in mindsets (through reaffirming mission, purpose and pride) to facilitate Fluid Workforce

    • Provide tools AND cultural norms for high quality, flexible and asynchronous collaboration

      • Why? The new normal will continue to blend work and personal/family responsibilities and obligations for the foreseeable future (it’s the new normal) and therefore work outcomes are more important than hours worked and strict routines

      • What? Build an environment of ownership, pride, commitment and trust that everyone buys into – trust staff to do the right things by agreed deadlines provided that they are given the right tools/platforms and also the right degree of personal flexibility to organize around their “new normal” situation and routines

      • How? Accelerate collaborative tool rollouts, ensure appropriate degrees of security and access to data and workflows, provide the right training, increase expected level and precision of documenting work packages (so everyone can quickly get up to speed on what was done and what comes next), enforce participation and punctuality at virtual or hybrid team meetings while relaxing on disruptions (kids/pets) and “offline” routines

    • Use operational data transparency to build urgency in the workforce

      • Why? If everyone knows how the business is performing (or hurting) on key leading operational KPIs (product build, sales, product shipped, customer service queries handled, etc) most people will feel higher urgency to step in and step up to help

      • What? Publish live or daily dashboard on key business metrics for all to see and recognize people and teams who become exceptional contributors, celebrate small wins and milestones in virtual forums

      • How? ERP/CRM/CDP/… data-wrangling, isolation of relevant data feeds, publishing through data visualization package (e.g., Power BI, Tableau, …)

  • Rethink job boundaries and embrace ambiguity

    • Why? Every organization has hidden untapped skills and talent and most people are happy to wear different hats especially navigating through a crisis

    • What? Identify urgent needs of the business, identify most available and relevant staff to step in, identify tools/training/work planning requirements, recruit the staff and launch immediately while iterating rapidly and learning “on the job” (e.g., transform retail shops into ecommerce fulfilment hubs, retail shop sales people become online sales and customer service reps, shop clerks become ecommerce fulfillment clerks, most staff in the company can help handle customer inquiries online or on the phone)

    • How? Configure and deploy collaboration, communication and workflow tools (e.g., MS Teams, Slack, etc), build taskforces (top-down), recruit extra hands (bottom-up)


PANDEMIC DIGITALIZATION PRIORITY 2         Digitize sales and customer journeys

  • Digitalize B2B and D2C go to market and sales channels

    • Why? Business customer and consumer interactions have become more difficult so now is the time to create new digital go to market and sales interaction channels and approaches

    • What? Rethink digitalized go to market and sales channels with customer and stakeholder convenience in mind and reduce friction to a minimum while maximizing trust

    • How? Blank sheet ideation, team mind-mapping, rapid prototyping, virtual polling, breaking-bricks idea elimination, agile implementation (MVP, frequent iteration/releases)

  • Reinvent legacy user experiences and customer journeys

    • Why? Legacy was built pre “new normal” and probably no longer entirely relevant

    • What? Redesign from a customer-centric (or internal customer) perspective and start again from scratch… and then develop convergent roadmap to get there

    • How? Blank sheet ideation, team mind-mapping, rapid prototyping, virtual polling, breaking-bricks idea elimination, agile implementation (MVP, frequent iteration/releases)

  • Become a data-driven company

    • Why? Data enables: fact-based and faster decision-making, opportunities for improved workflows and efficiency, product and business innovation

    • What? Understand current state of data in the business through Data Science, establish “art of the possible”, select quick wins use cases, prototype use cases and industrialize winners

    • How? Data science diagnostic baseline, inspiring case studies, ambition-setting, use case ideation workshop, use case development

  • Automate customer queries and engagement

    • Why? Online UXs and CJs, especially during times of uncertainty, will drive explosion of customer inquiries that will in turn drive up staff distraction and cost

    • What? Explore options to provide customer self-service options, FAQs, and automated interactions as much as possible – using opportunity to delight customers – shifting to human interactions only when necessary

    • How? Online/mobile/app content, FAQs and self-service options, test automated interaction/chat options, closely monitor CJ interaction KPIs to adjust

  • Try out and test new channels

    • Why? Omni-channel with an emphasis on online/mobile is the new normal creating new pools of audiences and interactions

    • What? Explore the rise of specialist community platforms and interaction models (e.g., Alexa/Google Assistant/Siri skills, Chatbots, Augmented Reality overlays, …)

    • How? Work with freelancers, boutique agencies and startups, rapidly deploy working prototypes, industrialize winners



PANDEMIC DIGITALIZATION PRIORITY 3          Digitize operations

  • Leverage digital technologies to enable safe working conditions

    • Why? On-site employees must be reassured about their safety and compliance measures

    • What? Think through workplace problems that must be solved (e.g., how to comply with safety measures, how to adapt work spaces, how to adapt production and work flows, how to shape work shifts, how to adapt reporting, …)

    • How? Understand similar initiatives from peers and across industry players for inspiration; test and adopt solutions

  • Rethink Factory 4.0 initiatives leveraging IoT, data and automation

    • Why? Covid-19 impact has shifted the competitive incentive for "factory 4.0" initiatives to more acute survival motivations as the current disruption is accelerating plans to implement appropriate "factory 4.0" solutions

    • What?  Rethink your factory 4.0 initiatives and plan them across the 3 post-covid crisis phases (survival, recovery and new business as usual)

    • How? Reprioritize existing plans and initiatives and gain new insight and inspiration from peers and across industry sectors; be prepared to build interim solutions to be scrapped as permanent solutions are deployed at later stage

  • Deploy online/remote-management of supply, production and distribution chains

    • Why? Timely remote visibility and management of key operational chain elements has become essential

    • What? Map operational chains in terms of data flows and required users; build lean apps to expose relevant and timely data and to facilitate asynchronous collaborative decision-making and action

    • How? Understand similar initiatives from peers and across industry players for inspiration; test and adopt solutions; accept temporary best-effort tools as interim solutions

PANDEMIC DIGITALIZATION PRIORITY 4          Develop or push new/existing digital products

  • Identify and exploit “new normal” opportunities

    • Why? Current disruption is creating new opportunities and making previously unviable ideas possible

    • What? Think through customer/user problems that must be solved (e.g., how to try on clothes in retail, how to handle kids after home-school, how to transform travel agency expertise into virtual vacations, …)

    • How? Map customer/user problems and cluster into domains, match domains to own business activity and capabilities, identify potential partners, prototype MVPs, invest in and industrialize winners

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