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Our Director Phil talks about what Post-Covid in the business world may look like and what effects and changes we have seen so far in our own business.
Okay, so we all know it is weird times and I also wish that I had been able to put a copyright on the word ‘unprecedented’ – imagine getting sent a pound or dollar every time a politician or commentator mentioned it!
Through this period, we know that many companies are struggling for survival and our thoughts go out to them and we hope that as many as possible make it through to the post-Covid economy. At Stimulus, we have been very lucky and feel very blessed that our work has been able to switch seamlessly to virtual delivery and that many companies have decided that learning Salesforce is a perfect way to advance their team’s skills during their time working from home. So, whilst business continues in the current ‘normal’, we are also trying to think about what comes next, what will the economy look like once we are through this current testing period and what will the new ‘normal’ look like.
Our guess is that many companies right now are just in survival mode and are, quite rightly, prioritising the actions that will get them through the lockdown. We have spoken to some companies who have furloughed 80% of their staff and to some who are speaking of needing to move to a new business model at the end of this. So, detailed below are some of our director, Phil Young’s, ideas on where some of those thoughts might be leading…
We have seen many seismic events which have a major impact on the way that world works, and Salesforce themselves talk about being at the forefront of the ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ with the advent of cloud computing. I believe that this has the potential to deliver a similar scale of impact which may be felt in different areas.
We know that many companies already operate some form of model of home working. Some companies have resisted moving to full home working for many reasons – trust, oversight of employees, etc but this situation has forced the move and my suspicion is that some of those companies are discovering just how effective their employees can be when working from home. This could lead to a major shift in the commercial property market. We have worked with several commercial property consultancies as they re-platform on to Salesforce and we know the changes they have experienced in different sectors in the past - perhaps the most notable being the rise of internet retail and the impact this has had on Town Centres and physical retail outlets which continues to be a sector that is challenged. Could we be about to see a shift in the office commercial property sector as social distancing, and working from home, becomes a new norm leading to a downsize in requirements for office space?
We could also be seeing a change to service delivery continuing on a virtual basis with the lockdown providing the perfect opportunity to do Proof of Concept for many businesses to trial this approach. We know of one Personal Trainer who has decided to continue running their 1-2-1 sessions on a virtual basis as current technologies allow the personal connection still to be made which is critical in that type of business. However, it also allows for a more efficient schedule to be put together as the PT doesn’t need then to travel between appointments but just starts the next call. We also have first-hand experience of this as well with my own children completing their martial arts lessons on a virtual basis with very little, if any, loss of quality. As a parent, this is incredibly useful to me as it saves being the taxi driver to ferry them there and back (don’t worry, I still have Cubs, Scouts, Explorers and Air Cadets sessions to courier children back and forwards to across the week!) but it would also allow the martial arts instructor to scale quite effectively as there is no cap on class size due to physical space limitations and they could grow outside of the local area. We actually saw this approach developing over the last year or two with companies like Peloton who deliver virtual spin classes without the need to be in the same physical location. This could be accelerated under current circumstances.
We talked earlier about Salesforce being at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution with cloud data and this may well be at the forefront of people’s minds in the post-COVID world. Many businesses will be reviewing how well they handled the lockdown and one of the likely outcomes will be the importance and prominence of having access to your company information wherever you are working from. I expect to see companies looking at their business continuity plans, with accessibility of data being a key theme. This could re-energise the cloud data revolution and see more companies looking to move to a cloud data model – could Salesforce be about to witness a spike in orders as companies move to the platform to address this? (I feel that I should make a shameless pitch here and say that Stimulus are here to guide you through this thought process and work with you for any Salesforce implementation needs that arise from it!)
Whilst mentioning implementations, this is another area of interest. We have been very blessed as already mentioned that our work has continued throughout the lockdown period including kicking off a significant implementation for one of our lovely customers. Whilst we often work remotely during the actual build phase of a project to keep costs down and drive efficiency, the challenge was how to run effective discovery workshops on a virtual basis – these being where we map the processes of the business out to give us enough information to design in detail what your Salesforce development should look like. Our Head of Implementation, Ben Marshall, thought long and hard about this and came up with a new approach. Where normally we would run a half day or full day workshop to discover a process, Ben broke this into smaller chunks to ensure people were able to stay engaged and focused. He then took the opportunity to build out some prototypes from the discussions to play back to the customer and guide the next level of detail in the discussion – so effectively, we designed out a ‘sprint’ type approach to the discovery process. We believed there to be some risk to this approach as there was a chance that the prototype was not what was required but this actually worked really well under the circumstances and the project has progressed very well to a point that this is a viable delivery model should social distancing need to continue.
So, what do we draw from this? Well, one thing is for certain – the uncertainty will be with us for a while and whilst everyone talks about us being in unprecedented times, the future will likely belong to those who can, and are, planning ahead whilst retaining the ability to flex and adapt with whatever comes next. This is the challenge that faces us all – there probably will not be a new normal for a while.
In the meantime, take a look at the full list of virtual Salesforce courses that we are currently running.