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3 types of business that emerged from COVID-19

Andy CampbellThis article is written by Andy Campbell, FinancialForce Global Solution Evangelist. Andy is laser-focused on helping customers leverage cloud-based technology to react faster, run smarter, and grow through disruption.  Get his insights here on a smart vs. digital business. 


There’s been a great deal of talk about the different ways in which organisations navigated the pandemic. A common theme for emerging stronger has been digitisation: the ability for businesses to share data and collaborate in processes with a dispersed workforce. Many simply lifted and shifted those processes into the cloud. However, some went the extra mile and became smart businesses.

Smart businesses are genuinely customer-centric, ensuring that no data source or business function stands alone. Because they are connected with a single shared view from the front office to the back office and out to the workforce, they can analyse end-to-end data journeys, and reveal process efficiencies and opportunities for new revenue.

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In short, smart businesses put technology to work every day. And they are able to leapfrog other businesses as a result. When it comes to investing in smart business systems in a post-COVID-19 world, businesses invariably fall into three categories:

1. Those that shut their doors

These are businesses that faced lockdown and chose to wait it out. They were hit hard and struggled as a result of long periods of inactivity, emerging from COVID-19 gasping for air.

For this kind of business implementing a unified platform and opening up customer data to everyone provides a massive injection of operational efficiency. It also provides the ability to automate processes and scale back talent to reduce costs while achieving more. Getting smart doesn’t only mean getting back to where they were, it means having a robust platform to address where you are moving to in the future.

2. Those that took off (accidentally)

Let’s face it; some businesses didn’t need to do a lot to skyrocket in response to COVID-19. And we are grateful that these businesses were there to accommodate our new, locked-down lives – they included device and software providers and retailers of exercise equipment.

Now we are on the opposite side of the bell curve and these businesses are looking for a way to sustain growth – questioning how they retain some of the business they have profited from during lockdown and ensure that new entrant competitors are kept at bay. They are considering how to evolve their offerings and produce new revenue streams that allow them to capitalise on this period of growth. The answer lies in using analytics (including what they are renewing, spending on, and how payments are structured) to convert people’s “right now” needs into new business opportunities. A smart business is agile, able to rapidly respond in a flexible manner, offering compelling new service propositions to customers with attractive new revenue streams.

3. Those that adapted

This third category of business is natively smart. It comprises businesses that front up to every new situation with data-informed intelligence and a hunger for finding the best path to the future. They invested in change. They invested in technology that connects their teams, from Sales to Finance and HR, even when those teams are distributed across the country (sometimes overseas!)

When I think about this third category of business, CyberCX springs to mind. This security services provider based out of Melbourne (yes, the lockdown capital of Australia) took the opportunity to bring on and train around 70 graduates during COVID-19 to emerge in a strong position. And how do you think these people were trained? (Hint: not face-to-face).

By the way, I can’t help feeling humbly proud of FinancialForce’s response to COVID-19. It took us to the product innovation drawing board, where we developed a risk tracker for our customers to assess and monitor their customers’ financial risk during COVID-19. The tracker helped them work with struggling customers to renegotiate payment plans, ensuring their viability, and removing the threat of red accounts to their own businesses. It’s cool – take a look!

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It’s never too late to be smart

Smart businesses are seamlessly connected throughout, with a single view of the customer from front to back-office, and the ability to analyse data to improve every step of the customer journey. The good news is that giving your business the power of cross-organisation systems yields instant competitive advantages.

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