Revisit scenarios and course correction
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt, many businesses have started their journey to recovery. But the situation is very different in some economies. As businesses have begun to reopen, the landscape has changed. Societal and political responses are trending negatively as the pandemic continues to peak – or in some areas – return, a recent study of Accenture states.
Where they can, organizations are reinventing themselves as they reopen, taking “no regret” actions that will help them emerge stronger: becoming more digital, data-driven and in the cloud; making their operations more agile and their cost structures more variable, and delivering greater experiences for employees and customers.
Amid renewed uncertainty about the pandemic, however, assumptions companies previously used to shape scenarios and set their strategic course are now in question. Leaders are re-evaluating how the pandemic’s progress, strength or recurrence in different geographic markets impacts their recovery strategies. This means adjusting those assumptions, re-evaluating all scenarios, and strengthening their capability to predict and respond accordingly.
Now, companies must take their bearings and course correct on a continual basis against a set of potential cross-currents impeding their journey.
Four potential scenarios for the evolution of the crisis:
In March, many companies used scenarios to set their strategic course. These strategic courses required assumptions to be made, which underpinned decision-making.
- In Cyclical Outbreaks, we assumed multiple outbreaks due to waning adherence to containment measures, resulting in the reinstitution of lockdowns and a W-shaped recovery.
- In Rapid Remission, we assumed effective government measures would contain the outbreak with cases subsequently kept close to zero, while also leading to a V-shaped recovery.
- In Prolonged Wave, we assumed measures would be ineffective at suppressing the outbreak and reviving the economy, with an L-shaped recovery ensuing.
- In Flattened Curve, we assumed longer periods of lockdown, with growth taking longer to resume resulting in a U-shaped recovery.
Course correct, again and again
The pandemic has yet to run its course and the economic outlook remains unpredictable. All organizations are faced with this uncertainty as they reshape operations to meet market demand. As the scenarios change, those who decided to accelerate their digital transformation—embracing cloud, AI, analytics, flexible IT infrastructure, and intelligent operations—will be foundationally ready to lead the charge with insight and agility.
As we journey toward recovery, supporting the human needs of employees and customers must remain top priority. This focus on people—in tandem with an ability to iterate and adjust the direction forward—will be of utmost importance in the months ahead. Success on this journey will come to those who outmaneuver uncertainty, continuously. More than ever, companies who course correct again and again, will find their competitive advantage determined by their ability to predict and prepare, sense and respond.