Covid-19 and the Building Blocks for Business Resilience
By Dennis De-Weerdt, Global Head of Service and Implementation, Cash Management, Deutsche Bank Corporate Bank
The speed and severity with which the Covid-19 pandemic has spread around the globe has sent shock waves through the corporate world – putting business resilience capabilities through their paces. Dennis De-Weerdt, Global Head of Service and Implementation, Cash Management, Deutsche Bank Corporate Bank, explores the considerations that make up an effective and resilient response.
In the wake of the peak of Covid-19, the need for firm business continuity and recovery measures quickly rose to the top of the corporate agenda. While the lessons learnt about business resilience post-financial crisis have been continuously put to the test – either by extreme weather events, growing political tensions or the volatility of commodity prices – many have still been caught off-guard by the unprecedented nature of the pandemic.
In contrast to other events, the impact of Covid-19 has not been limited by geography or sector. As the impacts have reverberated outwards, with lockdown measures and remote working becoming the norm, comprehensive business reliance plans have proved a ‘must have’ for any company that wishes to keep the lights on. But what are the key considerations that underly these measures?
Adapting to remote working
The adaptation towards a remote-working environment has been remarkably seamless and fast – with most professional service companies maintaining, or even improving, business operations and quality of work. So much so that we could even see working from home flexibility become the ‘new norm’ for many companies globally.
At the heart of the broadly successful transition to the home office lies a host of digital developments. One such development is the rapid uptake in the use of digital signatures. While the solution has been readily available for a number of years – with Deutsche Bank’s offering launched in 2018 – the shift from traditional wet-ink signatures has been sluggish. Until now. Here, remote working has coincided with greater interest and uptake of digital signatures – by necessity.
The current environment has also brought valuable collaborations between banks and fintech companies to the fore. In fact, innovative technologies, such as real-time information on the company’s FX positions and digital signing, have been incorporated into the business resilience plans of many companies. Supportive technologies, including artificial intelligence (AI) and robotic process automation (RPA), have also played a key role.
One of the biggest challenges in exceptional times is fraud prevention and cybersecurity. Events on the scale of Covid-19 create distractions, upon which fraudsters and criminals are quick to capitalise. So while the rapid uptake of digital measures should be seen as a positive step, it is important that it is accompanied by the necessary security measures.
Bolstering supply chains
Covid-19 has meant that companies not only need to think about their own business resilience but also that of their entire supply chain. Considerations relating to the viability and sustainability of major suppliers and/or major buyers are top of the agenda.
Already stretched as a result of numerous geopolitical issues, such as the escalating trade tensions between the US and China, companies are now critically revaluating their supply chains – hoping to identify and action changes that will strengthen their business resilience.