These 5 pandemic-driven trends are reshaping business

Throughout history, major global events have tended to dramatically shift the cultural narrative in the business world and beyond, says Piyush Mehta, CHRO of professional services firm Genpact. Such events first create a “seismic” impact, followed by a recovery based on significant changes to how we live and work–changes that happen much faster than one might expect, as they quickly become ingrained in the social fabric.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is following the same trajectory of shock and recovery and is rapidly creating a new normal for society and business,” Mehta says.

But full recovery is not guaranteed to all organizations, he cautions, as those that adapt quickly, create resilient business models and redesign ways of working will come out on top.

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In its work with Fortune 500 companies in the past few months, Mehta says, Genpact has observed a number of key trends that are reshaping companies around the world:

1. The shift in the balance of power from offline to online: Mehta says the pandemic has created a “watershed moment,” where online is shifting from being just one channel of the modern business model to becoming its primary component.

2. The virtualization of everything: Technology, services and solution delivery have all shifted to support distributed-work models and allow work to be done anytime, from anywhere, by anyone.

3. Real-time prediction is essential: This is table stakes for survival, Mehta notes. “Embedding analytics into business models rapidly accelerates decision-making using real-time data to make fast, accurate predictions,” he says.

4. The experience economy redefines how businesses operate: Processes, operations and experiences are being redesigned to be more human-centered, driving the reinvention of digital business models.

5. The pervasive adoption of end-to-end digital technologies and “cloudification”: Genpact clients, Mehta says, have shortened their five-year roadmaps for digitizing operations to two years or less, while the organization is seeing 10 times faster business acceleration to the cloud.

Central to these trends has been the shift to a “work-from-anywhere” strategy. In order to design a successful remote model, Mehta says, organizations must prioritize two steps: First, determine which processes best lend themselves to virtualization. “These will likely be mature processes where companies have access to reliable data, no regulations or restrictions apply and they can easily measure outcomes,” he says. The other piece is a focus on creating virtual ways of working. Using a dynamic workflow tool to map out processes can help businesses and workers adapt to the new environment, Mehta adds.

See also: How to build culture for blended workplaces

When distributed work is done right, organizations can reap the benefits: accessing talent no longer constrained by geographical boundaries, increasing competition for jobs and enhancing the diversity of talent pools.

“Agile companies,” Mehta says, “can find the right people for the right role anywhere globally, from both inside and outside their companies.”

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Jen Colletta
Jen Colletta is managing editor at HRE. She earned bachelor's and master's degrees in writing from La Salle University in Philadelphia and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter and editor before joining HRE. She can be reached at [email protected]