Now, this is a difficult piece to write. We find ourselves in unchartered territory. Despite what my kids might think, I wasn’t around the last time a pandemic struck. Then I tried to imagine what it must be like to be in Wuhan and unable to go out. What would people do for food? How would supplies be kept topped up? I tried to imagine it and failed. I certainly couldn’t imagine the effect it would have across the world only a few short weeks later, both from a humanitarian and an economic perspective.

But as so often in times of crisis, I believe that how we adapt and cope with this situation will shape who succeeds when the sun once again shines. How we use our time in isolation, how bravely we question our traditional working practices and how much we use this slowdown to prepare for the new world that is coming, fascinates me.

Now I am not a “big business” person. I am not into global dominance and crushing the weakest underfoot. I believe in doing a job to the best of my ability. I believe in being honourable and honest. I want everyone to prosper, and not at the expense of others. I know, that might make me naïve. That’s okay, I am happy with that. As a business analyst, I see naïvety as a strength not a weakness. It means you ask the simple questions like what, how and perhaps most importantly, why? Why makes people think. I am also, I know, lucky. So far, no illness and I work for a company that believes in itself and in me.

So, I find myself sitting in my study, having begun working from home a week ago. It all seems very surreal to me at the moment. I went for a walk, should I say ‘the’ walk, as we’re now only allowed out once a day. Glorious sunshine (yes it doesn’t always rain in the UK), clear blue skies, a perfect spring day. Only, of course, it isn’t perfect. I saw two other people walking and made sure I was on the other side of the road to them, and two cyclists. No cars drove past for 20 minutes. And now, I have just received an SMS from the government with information on what I should and shouldn’t be doing. I didn’t know they knew my number…

So no, this is not normal, even though it may be “the normal” for the next six, nine or even twelve months. And where will we be at the end of it? Well, at the very least, extremely grateful. But also I suspect, this dreadful event will have changed society and business too, fundamentally. And the hope, and in my case the belief, is that it will be for the better.

 

An opportunity to be brave and explore alternatives

One positive I believe we are already experiencing is that avenues we might have considered but avoided in the past are now part of daily life. New ways of thinking, new ways of acting, new ways of working. Ah yes, new ways of working. Well working from home is obvious; good for the environment, good for the wallet. Maybe not so good for building business relationships? Or maybe we just need to have a different mindset. MS Teams, Skype, Zoom, Whatsapp, Facetime, good old email; the range of technologies available to us for communicating effectively has never been greater and it will continue to grow. So now that we find ourselves in this brave new world, how do we make the most of it?

At some point in the future, and I fervently hope it is the near future, we will emerge from this current reality into a new one. And frankly or perhaps sadly, some of us will be better equipped than others to deal with it.

Those that have taken stock of the current situation and identified areas where they can be stronger will have a head start on their competitors. That’s just a fact. You can’t get around it. If you want to get through this and emerge on the other side, you need to have a different mentality, and look for ways to equip you and your business better; efficiencies, improvements, new ways of working. Because like it or not, organisations in your market sector are thinking the same way. Or they should be. If they aren’t then they may not remain competitors for much longer.

 

A good time to take stock of where you are, what you do, and how you do it.

Maybe now you may have the time to seriously consider the best or a better way of doing things. How will your employees work, or expect to work in the future? What change needs to happen to keep yourself competitive?

That’s what I and my colleagues in Triad’s Intelligent Automation (IA) Practice are doing at this very moment. Drawing on technology and our resources to make a difference. Considering, reviewing, developing new ways of working, to collaborate and create long lasting relationships with other organisations and businesses. Looking for ways to turn this dreadful scenario into something positive.

 

Could now be your opportunity to take a new route, a new path?

Intelligent Automation can remove the drudgery of repetitive tasks, improve the accuracy, quality and efficiency of your business environment, and save money which you can then reinvest in your employees and wider business concerns.

If you choose not to consider this opportunity, where will you be when the big wheel starts rolling again? Pretty well where you are now, but a little smaller and a little weaker for the time you’ve had to make do with less. But if you use this lull to look at what you do, how you do it, why you do it, then you really could find yourself a step ahead of your competitors as we emerge into the sunshine.

Triad’s IA Practice have already developed methods and practices that allow us to look at your business remotely; to carry out the analysis required to identify where automation is feasible, and where it is not within your business. And without doubt, in some cases IA is the better way to meet your needs.

Some of your competitors are already using this downturn as an opportunity, and some of them are not…which group do you think will will prosper?

Keep safe.

 

Adam Hurst

A senior consultant for Triad, a UK-based IT consultancy that provides the skills, commitment and people to help companies in the public, private and third sectors achieve their digital transformation goals by quickly delivering specialist teams across Agile and waterfall projects. Adam has over 30 years’ experience as a Business Analyst and Project Manager, with specific expertise in police and facilities management environments, and is one of the team spear heading Triad’s RPA operations.

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