The outbreak of the novel Coronavirus is holding the world in its grip. Within just a few weeks it has grown from a story about a localised outbreak in Wuhan, China to a global epidemic. National and international agencies have started issuing guidance on how to stay safe as individuals and on how to operate your business. It's clear that this epidemic has, and will continue to have a big impact on our personal lives for some time to come.
"... any disruption of the economic equilibrium can quickly destroy years, if not decades, of value ..."
Besides its impact on the lives of people, the repercussions of the epidemic are now also felt in the global economy, as global stock exchanges lost almost USD 6 trillion of value in less than a week when it became known that the virus was spreading faster and wider than expected. While stock exchange reactions are often highly volatile and based more on worst-case scenarios rather than likely outcomes, the severity of this reaction does make it clear that also economies and companies worldwide are expected to be severely impacted by the virus.
Without doubt we will agree that the protection of human life deserves our absolute highest priority. But let's also not forget that a failure of the economic system can have equally devastating effects on our societies. And this is what is extra scary about this situation.
"we don't need automation because we have more than enough people to get the work done"
I have been working long enough in the financial sector to know that margins are pretty thin, and any disruption of the economic equilibrium can quickly destroy years, if not decades, of value. While the markets recovered from the last crisis, and underlying economic activity seems robust, most institutions face enormous regulatory pressure, resulting in higher costs than ever before. And with many of the required control processes being performed manually, the reliance of institutions on the constant availability of their staff is immense. Any disruption here will certainly cause immediate problems.
In a meeting with a company recently we were told: "we don't need automation because we have more than enough people to get the work done" (no joke). But what if half of those people are absent from work from one day to the other? Or what if they are forced to work remotely with limited access to their office files? Will the company still do so well then?
We have been long preaching the values of Digital Governance; the implementation of digitalised and automated alternatives to manual processes as a means for operational efficiency and effectiveness. But with the events currently unfolding across the globe, perhaps it's now becoming more of a necessity than a nice-to-have efficiency measure.
We know that digitalisation and automation have several well-know benefits:
Reduce manual work and costs;Improve consistency of controls;Record a solid audit trail of the checks performed.
But how about these less outspoken, inherent benefits:
Ensure data-availability anywhere, anytime;Enable and simplify collaboration, wherever people are;Make it easy to concentrate reduced resources on the most important matters as aggregated data dashboards tell you where to begin;With all decisions and actions recorded transparently, more responsibility can be delegated, resulting in reduced dependencies;Temporary replacement staff can quickly take over tasks when needed;Even with disruptions in human resources, at least the bulk of your processes and controls continue to run.
"Digitalisation may very well be the best business continuity move you can make."
Looking at what is happening around us, and seeing how companies and markets react, digitalisation may very well be the best business continuity move you can make. And since digital solutions are now easier than ever to implement, it is not yet too late to get started.
For our part, I am happy that we are already a fully digital company. We can now prioritise the wellbeing of our team members without worries that it will jeopardise our business or interrupt service to our clients. Even if we all end up working from our living rooms.
Stay healthy, stay safe!
Warm wishes, Bert
Bert Boerman is the CEO of Governance.com.
Governance.com provides regulated companies with digital governance. The platform helps clients connect data, automate processes, monitor performance and record actions. Governance.com's data aggregation, business analytics and robotic processing engines ensure that business-critical information is consistently available in simple views, understandable dashboards and automated workflows. At your fingertips whenever you need, and wherever you are.
If you want to reduce risk, save money and free up time, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.