Crisis or Catalyst: The accelerating effects of Covid-19

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How an event management company survived the pandemic:

What are the businesses that found it hardest to cope with the pandemic? Those depending upon a large number of people to gather. The rules of social distancing and the lockdown made sure that physical meetings are minimal. 

Food catering and event planning essentially relies on a group of people coming together to celebrate an occasion. With the lockdown underway and events getting cancelled, the catering industry was amongst the worst hit.

Reid-Rodell, a US based event planning firm lost 95% of their scheduled events when the pandemic hit and realised the immediate need to remodel their business. They switched to virtual events by partnering with firms that provided the much-needed technical support for innovative online events. They dealt with the misconception that clients could organise online events on their own by giving a seamless, creative and warm experience and making things possible through innovation and technology that would’ve otherwise been difficult to execute. Charlotte Reid, the firm’s head says that the firm is looking forward to adopting online events permanently and work towards optimising customer experience. She says, “after all, the show must go on”.

The shift to the digital:

This is one of a million examples of businesses from across the world that used the crisis as a leverage to negotiate with their products and services,and come out with innovative solutions. Most of these changes are positively adding to the businesses and companies are looking forward to retaining them long after situations specific to the pandemic aregone.

The adoption of digital technology has played a pivotal role in this regard. A study by Mc Kinsey & Company found that digital adoption at both industry and organisational levels has been done at an accelerated rate- as high as 10 years- as compared to precrisis times. It could’ve taken more than a year to shift to the level of remote working as seen during the pandemic- employees reported- as companies worked 40 times faster. The shift is however graded as packaged goods, assembly line products etc have seen low digitisation whereas healthcare, pharma, financial and professional services have effortlessly aced it. 

The enabling effect of the pandemic:

All businesses are eventually a part of an all-encompassing system, from manufacturing, to packaging, marketing and consumers. The success of any change that is adopted depends on whether or not it is in sync with the web of relations that thebusiness dependson. It was always difficult for companies to manoeuvre drastic changes. 

The pandemic however, opened up scope for these shifts or changes by creating circumstances where all aspects of doing businesses needed redoing. From internal operations to supply-chain interactions and customer preferences, they all saw an overhaul in terms of functioning and preference.Remote working as well as managing consumers online needed data security, cloud storage and artificial intelligence that has significantly helped organisations maintain their market position. The shift also required some massive investments that companies now want to reap profit from and hence are looking for long term implications of the shift. 

This has led to a considerable shift in the perspective of people in leadership positions towards technology. The business think-tanks and executives now see technology at par with strategy and leadership in defining a company’s success.As those that acted early and encouraged experimentation in the digital arena saw some big hits, others were quick to follow off-setting a culture of digitisation and reform.

As seen throughout the pandemic, it wasn’t the leadership or maximum investment that made companies set an example for others to follow, but the ability to experiment and take the necessary risks. The pandemic has proven that it is digital strategies that will define the winner and the loser in the long run. So those still wondering whether it is a step in the right direction, our research says board the train to digitisation already!

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