Part of the “Navigating Disruption Today, Planning for Tomorrow” series
Whenever there is a crisis or something bad happens, I do three things.
First, I try to comprehend the magnitude of the misfortune and reach out to the people it has impacted because compassion must always come first. Second, I look for silver linings – those glimmers of optimism that will help get me through the crisis because we must never lose sight of hope. Third, depending on the situation, I put together a plan of action that requires laser-like focus in order to succeed, so I can tune out the noise and chaos of the outside world.
Today’s pandemic is unquestionably a global, pandemic crisis. In an incredibly short amount of time, it has disrupted every aspect of life and business around the entire world. Understanding the magnitude of this catastrophe has not been easy. With so many questions and variables around us, what do we do first?
At SAP, we started by checking in with our employees to make sure they were okay and safe. Next, we started reaching out to our partners and customers in every corner of the world as they deal with significant challenges in meeting the needs of their families, employees, customers, shareholders, partners, and partner ecosystem.
Such an intense focus is especially the case for 80% of our customer base – small and midsize businesses – and the SAP partners that work with them. The more change they experience, the more attuned they are to how their employees and customers are feeling and adjusting to this new reality.
Surviving and thriving in the new normal with technology and expertise
For years, my team has shared how small and midsize companies have taken on the challenges and opportunities of technology adoption. We have covered everything from growing revenue, expanding reach, and strengthening employee engagement to creating wow-worthy customer experiences and competing effectively against well-entrenched brands.
As today’s market forces threaten to erase such gains, we are helping small and midsize businesses navigate the current crisis while looking ahead to making a successful recovery. We are providing free access to proven tools that give our customers the assistance they need for the next few months.
We are also actively listening to our small and midsize customers. They are sharing with us specific challenges in critical areas of their businesses including:
- Financial management: How do we manage cash flow and receivables to maintain business viability while working on contingency and recovery plans?
- People management: How do we ensure the success, health, and well-being of all our employees? For many businesses, the concept of maintaining a consistent level of productivity with employees working remotely is uncharted territory that requires more collaboration, agility, and online learning capabilities.
- Supply chain and operations: How do we stabilize business operations in a time of rising uncertainty, fast-paced change, fractured supply chains, and fluctuating demand?
- Customer engagement: How do we make our company operations flexible enough to meet the changing needs of our customers? Many businesses are trying to support digital engagement and commerce in new ways as customers migrate online and exhibit new buying behaviors.
Our teams are reviewing the topics above to develop short-term plans and best practices that small and midsize companies will need to successfully navigate the next few months of uncertainty. We may not have all the answers to their questions right now. But we will certainly stand side by side with them while reviewing available options.
We will find a way forward – together
Over the next several weeks, my colleagues will continue this blog series, “Navigating Disruption Today, Planning for Tomorrow,” and develop a series of topical mini-webinars. They will share their insights on our new world and discuss how small and midsize businesses can keep their companies running today while preparing for better times ahead.
If you are reading my post and you are an SAP customer or one of our partners, thank you! We appreciate working with you now more than ever.