Resilience is one factor many organisations should look at
Published on : Friday 07-01-2022
Harish G Kashyap, Principal Oil & Gas Consultant & Digital Transformation Enthusiast.
The Covid-19 pandemic brought fast and unexpected impacts that buried businesses in the process of tackling the global challenges that for sure even the most forward-thinking leaders never fathomed, and for which many existing risk mitigation and crisis plans of even the leading businesses of any industry were not designed.
Nevertheless, history proves that, we have always emerged victorious from many almost Armageddon and Judgment Days and will continue to be the winner as we, the homo sapiens, are the only species in the multiverse that have the technology to prevent our own extinction.
How did the industry fare in 2021 after the initial impact of Covid caused widespread disruption in 2020?
After the massive disruptions caused by the Covid-19 crisis in 2020, organisations are finally looking to get back on track and, more importantly, build for the future. It will no doubt be tempting for companies to use the traditional business operation models, but the pandemic has brought the need for an altered path to light.
The present business environment is experiencing significant shifts with a faint light at the end of the tunnel despite a new variant of the Covid-19 virus. As days pass, the transformation accelerates further. Industry on a whole started to have a clear-eyed perspective and sharp focus on their expedited digital transformations to re-emerge as business leaders.
Lately, businesses started to make sense of the global reality and set out to chart ideal paths toward a better future which despite being unpredictable can be foreseen better. With such a challenging yet promising future on the horizon, it’s up to every industry – the choices they make – watch the change happen or be the one leading the change.
What were the changes and new technologies businesses widely adopted in 2021?
With the unforeseen nature of events caused by the Covid-19, those digital technologies which, in the pre-Covid times, were believed to take a couple of years to be adopted, have taken a quantum leap and are surely here to stay for the long haul.
Businesses shifted their focus toward an omnichannel presence and are leaving no stone unturned for the same. The traditional supply chain model transformed into digital supply networks enabling end-to-end visibility, agility, collaboration and enhanced optimisation. This should ready them for any unforeseen ‘black-swan’ event like the pandemic or any similar threats in the future.
Adoption of advanced technologies such as the Digital Twins, Hybrid Cloud, Blockchain, 3D Printing, Robotics, Internet of Things, etc., capture the spotlight along with the new normal buzz techs such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning have also picked up during the post pandemic times.
While Covid triggered the supply chain disruption, it now continues in various forms and for different reasons. What could be the solution?
The industry must look too far and beyond the disruptions for guidance on how to navigate the continued uncharted crisis we face today.
Resilience is one factor many organisations should look at – that would make them stand out during such post pandemic times and across the many disruptions. From corporate strategy to regular operations and their execution, building a sustainable, resilient business and building an ecosystem that serves to sustain such a resilient business has always been the key – and has never been more important than now.
Companies need to adopt a holistic approach to supply chain management. Redesigning business models with optimised supply chain flexibility is key to protect against future disruptions. Transforming to a robust operations framework with a quick responsive and resilient crisis management capability would be the future need of the day-to-day operations protocol in the long haul.
The 3 key initiatives mentioned below would be the future need to solve the supply chain disruption:
1. Increase flexibility – redesign inventory, assets and capabilities to strike balance in supply and demand.
2. Enhance visibility – design integrated logistics solution for real-time end to end visibility into operations.
3. Workforce welfare – Not just physical health but also address the mental well-being of the workforce and if necessary the extended workforce too.
With new strains of the virus appearing periodically, is the WFH culture here to stay and become a permanent feature?
Change is inevitable, growth is optional. And this holds good no better than in the current post pandemic era which is experiencing periodic emergence of new virus strains. Businesses and organisations have moved to the complete WFH option since the pandemic hit but which was the only viable business continuity plan for those businesses that could carry out their business that way. But recent trends show that many Indian IT outsourcing companies that made big WFH promises are observing huge attrition rates nearly 17% (from 11% in 2020) and hence are calling their employees to offices.
But what about those sectors where WFH is practically not a solution? As we all know, not every business can be run from home, especially sectors such as manufacturing, automotive, food processing, agri based industries, dairy farming, medical and health (hospitals), etc., which need to have physical presence of human resources to carry out a typical day of their business.
Again, resilience through innovation is the key for these industries. Such industries need to innovate and improve the production/manufacturing/operating processes to make them lean and be more efficient which could be seen in the not-so-distant future.
How is the outlook for 2022, given that a lot of lessons have been learned during the last two years?
Having learnt the lessons right from the pandemic and through building resilience for the next crisis, businesses have an opportunity to turn the Covid-19 disruption to their advantage. As Plato said: ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’. The pandemic sparked an innovation wave and launched an entirely new generation of entrepreneurs. From AI enabled autonomous vehicles to crypto currencies to personalised experience in numerous products to improved digital and omnichannel business models – innovation is at the core of the new startups.
As a result of the disruption, entrepreneurs have incubated many tech startups that develop future ready solutions enabling faster resilience of business leaders thereby getting the economy back to originality.
The future is what we make and it surely looks like for the year 2022 and beyond, companies are working towards enhanced business models based on the SWOT analysis of their earlier business operation models.
Climate change and sustainability are matters of serious concern. How sustainable are present business practices?
‘We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children’, says a popular quote. The idea of a healthier planet is gaining momentum as human health, over which sustainability and climate change are two pressing matters, is gaining momentum; be it the Net Zero concept or similar goals, sustainability has become the buzzword.
While climate change refers to long-hauled alteration of ambient temperature and typical weather patterns in a place, sustainability is a broader concept than just preventing climate change. It is about exploring ways to do business without adversely impacting the natural ecosystem, environment or community as a whole that we live in.
Business owners nowadays believe that transforming to be more environmentally sustainable is of prime importance for the future of their business. Many developed countries are already chasing their carbon neutral dream by either 2025 or 2030.
Present business practices are moving towards sustainability as it is beneficial in the long run to any business and there are quite many companies that top the sustainability index list.
How sustainable would an electric car manufacturing company be when the energy needed to charge the battery is sourced from fossil fuel? The key to such businesses is to build the entire ecosystem and business value chain so as to stay sustainable in the long run. With technological improvements like Carbon Capture & Storage (CCS), Hydrogen & Nitrogen as an alternative fuel, the future looks promising but it is too early to arrive at conclusions.
As someone wisely said, It is all about thinking of people, planet and profit, in that order.
What are the technology trends most likely to dominate in 2022?
Whether it’s a Crude Oil Refinery or a Renewable fuel plant or a manufacturing industry or your favourite restaurant, every company that you have ever known is now a technology company. With core business at their epicentre, organisations are transforming on the periphery as technology companies. Massive investments in digital strategies, transformational solutions drive the next wave of innovation.
Few tech trends that might dominate in 2022 are listed below. We need to note that none of these technologies would exhibit siloed domination in 2022 or the years after. They would all have to work in tandem and build/enable a truly digitised ecosystem which will enable businesses to effectively brace against any future pandemics.
1. Digital twins: Most fascinating of all tech trends ever adopted and is here to stay for decades. The extensive array of possibilities offered by this tech trend is also fuelling the application of AR and VR. If you thought talking to 3D holograms is only possible in films then, you are in the new Stone Age already. Digital twin technology enables physical collaboration of remote employees in corporate meetings and business conferences.
2. Blockchain: This distributed ledger technology enables two unverified parties to do business and track transactions. It provides benefits like decentralisation, security, transparency, immutability, etc.
3. Bots: Customer support chatbots are to occupy the centre stage in the next decade and highly beneficial in boosting customer engagement.
Other dominating trends include 5G, AI & cognitive transformation, robotics, IoT, Predictive analytics, Hybrid cloud, Augmented analytics, etc., to name a few.
A Principal Oil & Gas Consultant and Digital Transformation Enthusiast, Harish G Kashyap, has more than 15 years of experience in the Oil & Gas domain, delivering multiple large scale, high budget capital intensive projects. He is passionate about thought leadership of emerging technologies and their convergence with the traditional business domains (IT & OT convergence). He can be reached via www.linkedin.com/in/harishgkashyap or by email firstname.lastname@example.org