By: Paul Carthy, Managing Director, Energy Industry Group, Accenture in the Middle East
Our world today continues to weather exceptional circumstances as COVID-19 evolves at unprecedented speed and scale - with no industry entirely immune to its unraveling impact. As governments and organisations quickly found themselves faced with a universal imperative to take rapid action, find solutions, mitigate risks, and adapt to the new normal, they continue to be challenged with navigating uncharted waters and ensuring business continuity.
Industries from manufacturing to food and beverage, and from oil and gas to technology, are all in the same predicament. Faced with their own unique set of hurdles to overcome during this pandemic, the focus remains to protect and empower their people, serve customers’ needs, and ensure business continuity.
To protect their people, organisations across the world have been implementing travel bans and work from home policies. They are restricting entry into offices while re-examining how their workplaces operate, and how their people work, interact, communicate, and deliver. Their top priority through it all is to protect the health and safety of people at their workplaces. To minimise business disruption and ensure employee well-being, organisations have had to act quickly and decisively – every day counts.
Driven by innovation and with years of cloud-based operations to its credit, Accenture’s global workforce of more than 500,000 people are highly distributed, and well accustomed to working in an ‘elastic workplace’ environment. Our vast experience enables us to help organisations in these challenging times tailor their responses according to their individual workplace requirements, allowing organisations to scale and adapt to evolving business needs based on global and local conditions and restrictions quickly and dynamically.
Within a short timeframe, Accenture enables organisations to rapidly modernise and scale up their collaboration capabilities as well as their workforce engagement plans. Based on our research and experience, Accenture’s Elastic Digital Workplace roadmap outlines six dimensions that have proven effective in facilitating a quick and seamless transition to a remote workplace environment:
- Culture and Adoption: Provide technology and environment optimisations to enable effective remote working and activate a communications plan that offers policy guidance - both internally and externally.
- Elastic Collaboration: Rapidly deploy company-wide collaboration tools and build bridges with your customers, partners, and suppliers.
- Virtual Work Environment: Evaluate network, accelerate device deployment, and leverage virtual environments to support increased mobile demand.
- Seamless Networking: Enable reliable and secure remote network connectivity at employees’ homes and seamless integration with customers and partners.
- Distributed Continuity: Enhance business continuity plans to include workforce reduction, travel restrictions, and large-scale remote working environments.
- Adaptive Security: Leverage exception-based processes, expand the zero-trust network access approach and automate with endpoint management detection and response.
In the prevailing climate of crisis, decisions not only determine how an organisation operates in the near-term, but also significantly impact how it will operate in the future. Smart leaders will seize this opportunity to take swift action to navigate the crisis to avoid business disruption and potential revenue loss. In doing so, they will forge new levels of trust with their workforce, and position their businesses for greater resilience and productivity in the future.
Each company, industry, and region will have unique needs and requirements for workplace and people management, customer service, data management, and business continuity. However, leaders must prepare for the short-term while also developing new capabilities and ways of working to enable longer-term changes to how they operate seamlessly. The time to act is now.