To help our customers through this constantly evolving environment, we’ve identified three key phases that organizations are moving through as a result of the pandemic:
- Phase 1: Emergency Protocol. This phase is typified by needing to make quick changes to the organization’s operations environment.
- Phase 2: Reassess and Remediate. This phase involves reviewing more substantial business investments and realigning priorities to meet near-term disruption.
- Phase 3: The New Normal. In this phase, organizations have realigned their operations priorities, making educated technology investments to allow them to thrive in a new business reality.
In mapping out this journey with our customers, CDW’s Consulting Services has determined where organizations should focus their technology investments, which I’ll focus on toward the end of this blog.
Phase 1: Emergency Protocol
The first quarter of the year saw a spike in corporate spend on cloud-based technologies. Businesses were looking to cloud to support their work-from-home footprints, and business continuity tools to mitigate risks that the coronavirus pandemic has incurred.
Phase 2: Reassess and Remediate
In tandem with these new investments, organizations are retracting long-term projects, reviewing contracts and searching for ways to stem the economic fallout of this ongoing challenge. The “new norm” is taking shape as corporate strategies shift more to subscription models for their IT infrastructures.
Phase 3: The New Normal
Along with the shifting investment priorities, organizations are digging even deeper and developing new strategies that employ emerging technologies such as AI/ML, data analytics and robotic process automation (RPA) software. This is driven by a new shift in focus from long-term transformational projects to specific areas that will have an immediate impact on the business and will be sustainable for the balance of the year.
Where to Focus Tech Investments
Within CDW’s Consulting Services practice, we’ve developed approaches for each of the three phases. We’ve been working with our customers and advising them to focus their attention on the following three areas as they navigate the phases.
- Cash Flow and Liquidity
- Pricing and configurations automation reduces the sales cycle, thus affecting cash flow positively. This also increases inventory turns, mitigating inventory holding risk, which affects cash flow.
- Daily reporting and analysis of liquidity (aging account receivables, pending account payables, expenses and payroll).
- Forecasting cash flow daily, weekly, biweekly and monthly.
- Risk classification (impact level on cash flow) of account receivables.
- Risk mediation of account receivable with rules-driven discounting and/or credit card charging instead of ACH/checks.
- Supply Chain Disruptions
- Supply forecasting with augmented (COVID-19 geopolitical) data.
- Demand vs. supply scenario modeling and impact analysis on production scheduling, inventory cycle times and supplier lead times. Provide remediation recommendations for impact.
- Onboard suppliers faster than before to handle predicted or actual disruptions.
- Supplier contract management for renegotiation of payment terms with suppliers.
- Resource/Talent Management
- Opportunistic demand-based temporary labor management — scheduling, time and attendance, project-based accounting.
- Margin analysis with accurate acquisition and allocation of resources and costs against temporary demand.
- Forecasting labor demand (full-time and part-time) based on demand signals.
- Labor cost optimization — provide new channels of customer interaction such as intelligent bots.
- Temporary labor infrastructure — can quickly and securely provide virtual access to business apps without CAPEX.
We believe that in this unique business environment that we find ourselves in, we must be cognizant of our clients’ intense state of business disruption, be able to assess where they are in their road to recovery, provide guidance to remediation and develop strategies for accelerating the business into the new normal. Our goal is to help customers get through this and have them emerge stronger on the other side, ready to thrive.