Post COVID-19: Rise of the Back Office

Posted by Kevin Bell on Sep 16, 2020 2:06:06 PM

As we return to the workplace and attempt to emerge from beneath the shadow of COVID-19 we will see that, for most organisations around the world, the pandemic has laid waste to the P&L and Balance Sheet to the extent that they now both exhibit significantly more red than black. Undoubtedly, planning for and executing a successful recovery will cost money. So, every function in the organisation will now be under scrutiny. Not least those functions previously classified as “indirects” or “back office” such as finance, legal, human resources and information technology, etc. Because money is tight, and the capital markets are hesitant to lend on reasonable terms in the present uncertain times, all internal costs will become a focus of attention.

Tags: Centigo_UK Business_Transformation COVID-19 WFH

Post COVID-19, Digital Acceleration

Posted by Kevin Bell on Jul 7, 2020 6:19:18 PM

As we emerge from beneath the shadow of COVID-19 and return to the workplace our thoughts begin to embrace the uncertainties that confront us. More especially, how best to quickly restart our organisations in an environment where the rules are yet undefined, but likely to be very different than before. What this pandemic has taught us is that we need to configure our organisations differently. They need to be much more agile, yet inherently more robust. And, we need to accelerate our restart process to claim first-mover advantage in a marketplace that will very likely be much smaller, more selective, more aggressive, and very much more competitive than before. All this speaks of an organisational model that has an inherently flatter structure, distributed leadership, wider spans of individual control, devolved authorities and accountabilities, higher levels of visibility and rapid decision-making capabilities. Intuitively, this means the business can be continually tuned to operate at maximum effectiveness as a closely knit entity without the historical stove-pipe behaviours, tribes and process encumbrances that have existed before. It also requires a closely aligned, properly integrated technology infrastructure to help support, enable and drive it. Welcome to digital acceleration!

Tags: Digital_Transformation Centigo_UK Business_Transformation COVID-19

Post COVID-19, Sweating the Assets

Posted by Kevin Bell on Jul 7, 2020 5:15:22 PM

Without a shadow of doubt COVID-19 has been the most devastating circumstance to hit the global business environment since The Great Depression which began in the USA on 4th September 1929 with a sudden dramatic fall in stock prices and subsequently led to the Wall Street stock-market crash of 29th October 1929 (Black Tuesday). Depending on who’s commentary you believe, the austerity caused by The Great Depression lasted up to the beginning of World War II, some ten years later, and drove down world GDP by an estimated 15%. By contrast, COVID-19 has been with us now for only six months and is widely being forecast1 to drive down the GDP of some major industrialised nations2 by almost the same percentage in 2020 alone. The ongoing effects will be felt for some years to come with uncertainty in the financial markets making access to capital increasingly difficult for businesses attempting to emerge from under the cloud of COVID-19 and return to full trading status.

Tags: Centigo_UK Business_Transformation COVID-19 Working_Capital

Post COVID-19, Place your bets!

Posted by Kevin Bell on Jun 17, 2020 9:00:00 PM

As business leaders we have all spent time postulating what the next “disruptor” might be and where it might come from. A “game changer”. Something that will create for us a “paradigm shift” in the business ecosystem.  Well, COVID-19 has certainly achieved all those benchmarks, though with none of the desired upsides we originally had in mind for the concept! Whilst we believe its origins to be in China, the virus has swept at enormous speed across the globe with a consummate disrespect for international borders like a tyrannical version of the “invisible hand” first described by the renowned economist Adam Smith in his magnus opus “The Wealth of Nations”1. Only this time, it was acting with malicious intent, toppling corporate empires as it went leaving behind it a wake of destruction and uncertainty in the economy. For most organisations demand has dried up as customers tighten their belts, operations have been suspended as they go into lockdown, people have been furloughed or lost forever to the job market, the supply base is falling into terminal disrepair and the best laid strategies, plans and aspirations of corporate executives in every sector lay in tatters before their eyes.

Tags: Centigo_UK Business_Transformation Change COVID-19