Trends and Opportunities – Betting on Success
Cerius executive experts weigh in on what they see as the trends and opportunities they see coming out of this crisis?
Pamela Wasley: Well. Good morning. We have a room today full of experts. Today that we’ll be able to answer some questions that I have to tell you that companies are dying to know the answers to. I mean, this is such unfamiliar territory for companies today, and I really believe that some of the answers and solutions that you guys have around the table are going to help these companies.
Pamela Wasley: There’s going to be so many great opportunities out there as we come out of this start looking for them now. And David, you just mentioned it. I mean, one of the things is M&A, it is at a standstill at this second. But the opportunities coming of this crisis is, it’s going to be unbelievable. Partnerships again, I think are going to be great opportunities to look at. So let me get into the next question. So what opportunities and trends do we see coming out of this crisis and where would you tell CEOs to look for those opportunities?
Jenn Henrickson: Definitely across technology. I mean, with this consumer adoption at the pace that it is. This is just unprecedented. I work with a company that is in the food space, F&B space, that typically we were after, millennial, gen Z, because this is the group that is super digital and they’re on all these platforms and, using marketplaces to buy things.
What’s happening now is that audience is expanding and so I think any ways that companies can find to digitally reach their consumer, digitally communicate their brands. Make sure that that brand is consistent across all of their digital platforms, have a strategy around it. The other piece is that not only are people across the spectrum of companies, we also see CEOs worried. Of course, they feel responsible for all of these people and all of these jobs and livelihoods, and these are people that are being affected, right?
And that’s the economic piece. And then there’s also the personal piece and the health piece, which is, people are getting sick and people are dying. How do you manage that. It’s heavy and so you have to just acknowledge that it’s happening, and lean into those situations with your teams and be honest about it.
I think digital is one place. Learning how to communicate with one another, especially in remote environments as well. We also have to learn how to communicate better as teams because we’re not connected in the same physical location. It’s how do you communicate effectively in forums. This and keep projects moving forward.
I think that there are going to be some interesting opportunities coming for, big box, the Amazon, the home delivery, across all sectors. And really, I think it’s everything from getting your dry cleaning at home to, having nurses come into your house instead of going somewhere.
I mean, who knows, right? So it’s how can you go to reach your consumer. To keep your business going. Pivot.
Ticki Favaroth: Yeah. I was going to say, one of the things that David said earlier was around the CEO shouldn’t be thinking about this by themselves. And even Jenn just talked about the diversity of ideas and thoughts.
And so one of the big trends that’s going to be coming out from a people perspective is how organizations and workplace looks for the future and how work is getting, you know. Doug had mentioned how work is getting done, where you may have workers, what are the structures within that? How we pay people.
So one of the big things around, especially in brick and mortar type of organizations, you’re going to see a major shift and what the new workplace looks like. Also being able to use predictive analytics and predictive insights to make sure that you can hire more efficiency, that you can look at your job targets, to understand what’s the role and what you need people to be able to do to and quickly hire for that.
And how can they deliver that service internally as well as to their customers. So I anticipate what that looks like. And then also all of these new regulations, these new policies, procedures, all of these things that’s coming out around how we maintain and manage and compensate the workforce is going to be a little different as we come out of it.
And it goes to, I think David was talking about cash and preserving cash and looking at what’s the financial implication of a big item that’s normally on the balance sheet and how do we help the business. Stem that cost and be more responsible. And again, succession planning, right?
Leaders, right seats, delivering, executing. What are those new people, metrics that then we need to watch out for. So I think that’s going to be a big trend, coming out of this COVID-19.
Doug Linn: Yeah. And as far as preparing ahead of time, communication is key of course. But like David said, too, it’s not just the executives or the CEOs and stuff that needs to come up with these plans and ideas.
They need to involve the executive team, as much of the management team as you possibly can, even some cultural leaders in the workforce. Get them involved and what that can look like for the organization? Because now the senior management really has a great opportunity to either reestablish the company culture or redefine it and those decisions are going to be critical going forward. The more buy in you can get from the rest of the workforce going through this, the better off you’re going to be coming out of this. And once you get a plan in place, make sure you communicate and get the CEO to send out an email to all employees, letting them know what the new normal might look like, and then letting them know also that their managers will be following up with them individually.
And managers need to regularly contact their staff and not just with emails. We get personal phone calls. How are you doing? What’s going on? Is everything okay? You know, they need to really take a more active interest, again, with people’s personal life. Have you ever thought we would have to, but it’s all part of, I think it’s all part of the new level and it’s certainly a part of coming out of this sequestering we’ve done and getting back to work.
Russ Brown: Yeah. Doug, I think you bring up a great point. Everyone has talked a little bit about employees, but staying in touch with our customers I think is also a key aspect as well. Making sure they understand we’re still here and make sure they understand we want to support them.
What can we do to help them and their families and support them and allow that to lead them to coming up with different solutions and different value add equations in the process mapping chain. Make sure that you’re open and accountable to your customers to listen and to be pay attention and to ask and make sure you’re doing everything you can to support them.
And then if they’re pivoting, be flexible enough to consider pivoting with them or making sure that if you can’t pivot fast enough. Come up with alternatives that you can provide them, which may include others in that conversation as well.
Pamela Wasley: That’s great advice for us because, companies now are reevaluating their vendors because they don’t know how well they’re doing.
They’re wondering if they’re going to be able to provide for the new norm or how they’re doing, if they’re even going to be in business. So absolutely communicating with them and coming together with them to provide solutions is excellent.
John Gilboy: Yeah. I would add one thing that we’ve kind of had some similar conversations with some customers recently and it’s starting to resonate. We were talking earlier about, the ‘cash is king’ mentality, of course, especially right now. And then, you know, thinking about what is the cost of doing business going to look like later?
I think it’s almost an opportune time to work with customers to help them assess what they actually have today. And I think when you take a look at, and just look at it from a technology investment, or process and skills and resources standpoint, many customers are doing what they’ve always done.
Whether it’s with a certain number of staff or certain skill sets or legacy technology or what have you. And I really believe that there’s a great opportunity in most organizations to take a look at what you have today, understand what it’s costing you and what your risks are and inefficiencies potentially are.
And then say if you do these other things, you can reduce your cost of operations today and be much more efficient and still then wind up with a significant amount of let’s say budget available to invest in things that you’re not doing, or net new technology, net new capabilities. So I don’t think customers or vendors, and organizations need to look at this challenge as where am I going to come up with $50 million or whatever the number is to invest in new technologies and new capabilities.
I think there’s an enormous opportunity to look at current inefficiencies and opportunities in your current environment. Come up with a strategic plan to get to the next level of modernization or sophistication in a more cost effective way. And then free up existing capital and budget resources to invest in, net new initiatives and activities.