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Muralidharan Murugesan (Murali)
Global Head, Strategic Solutions, Enterprise Application Services, TCS
27 July 2020

COVID-19 has created an unprecedented global crisis, touching almost every human being across the world. The impact has caused enterprises to focus their attention on business continuity and building a resilient enterprise for the future.

When the impact of COVID-19 eventually reduces and enterprises stabilize, the business environment will reset to a new normal. All earlier forecasts, projections, business plans will need to be recalibrated based on altered consumer priorities and demand, realigned global supply chain networks, evolving/socially distanced work culture, new trade compliances and regulations. Above all, enterprises must evaluate the agility of their systems during this uncertain time and determine their readiness for future calamities.

Working with Oracle, our strategic partner on many digital transformation journeys, we outlined seven key strategies can enable an agile organization to bounce back and thrive in the long-term. While the pandemic and its impact on business is yet to bottom out, and recovery period will vary by the nature of business, the time to consider new strategies is now.

  1. Operate with digital power on modern enterprise cloud applications

    Post COVID-19, the cash-strapped economy is set to trigger massive business realignments, where consolidation through mergers and acquisitions is anticipated. Enterprises will be required to collaborate with each other on new supply chain models, product and service offerings, and customer insights. This could be the way forward, especially, for severely impacted industries like airlines, transportation, hospitality, and tourism.

    As enterprises try to realign their businesses, they will need digital power to make data-driven decisions, support lean and flexible enterprise structures, scale business integrations, and have the flexibility to divest businesses that are no longer core.

    Many clients enable such strategic business behaviors with cloud ERP suites, which lay a modern enterprise structure for supporting business agility, with incremental business innovations, performance, and scale. It also accelerates major business realignments including mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures. Also, cloud ERP platforms deliver modern best practices leading to leaner processes, enabling seamless business integrations and build resilience. Those already using cloud ERP solutions, can now seize opportunities such as agile decision-making using enterprise data, data cloud, and AI platforms.

    Newer business models around subscription economy is set to gain further momentum and cloud applications enable such new business models, through an integrated architecture.

  2. Build digital collaboration channels

    In a weakened demand situation, customers will continue to expect businesses to deliver high-quality customer experiences. The aftermath of COVID-19 is likely to see the demise of many existing products and service lines and the emergence of new, integrated offerings, co-created by multiple partners driving business value to customers. Digital channels will gain more traction with innovative ways of engaging customers, where customer-centric organizations tend to leverage AR and VR technologies across digital channels in sales and remote field services.

    Creative companies were moving in this direction before the pandemic. For example, Uber enabled customers to listen to their favorite Spotify music playlists in the drivers’ vehicles during a ride. Siemens uses virtual reality technology for remote maintenance of their turbines, which may be located thousands of miles away.

    We engage across digital channels with our customers and build a collaborative eco-system on sales and services cloud platforms, to drive mass personalization of products and services to meet their unique needs and deliver exponential value. Launch of new products and services should be backed by data-driven insights across customer segmentation, profitability analysis, simulation models, and scenario modeling powered by enterprise analytics solutions.

  3. Adopt a cloud strategy to reimagine HR processes

    When their employees are working remotely, enterprises need to make their employees feel supported. Employers must deliver a consistent and caring experience to their employees to build empathy and create a healthy work environment. The COVID-19 experience will normalize different ways of working, which are highly collaborative, self-service driven, focused on efficiency, ownership, and accountability.

    The cloud application is central to this modern human capital capability towards building a culture of engaged employees and empathetic employers. To operationalize this new workforce model, many clients embrace HCM cloud applications to strengthen employee health and safety and social well-being.

    Modern human capital solutions can foster a new working culture, by supporting conversational bots and social collaboration features across the entire hire-to-retire cycle. It also drives intuitive and engaging talent management processes in acquiring, coaching, and cultivating the right talent while enabling a transparent feedback-based appraisal processes for employees.

    With remote working culture getting wider adoption globally, modern HCM cloud platforms even support enterprises to enable remote recruitment and onboarding processes.

  4. Build intelligent and connected supply chains

    Once the pandemic subsides, re-establishing complex global supply chain will not be easy, especially when the demand side has had a severe shock and supply side has been broken abruptly.

    Executives will need to monitor conditions closely. Nations are restricting movement of medical supplies during the crisis and they may increase regulations on other goods deemed critical. In the wake of the crisis, many large corporations are likely to re-examine their existing labor and environmental standards for responsible sourcing with an eye to strengthening the conditions they expect suppliers to meet.

    For enterprises that have not revamped their supply chains, the aftermath of the crisis will prompt new efforts. Once their supply chains are back in business, the focus moves to strategic decisions: should we buy or build this part? Should we seek alternate sources of supply? How can we confirm a supplier is qualified, that it performs well?

    Essentially, businesses will want to mitigate risk in their supply chain operations. Modern supply chain cloud solutions can be leveraged, to gain access to actionable data-driven insights for robust supplier qualification, enhance partner collaboration across supply chain planning, contract manufacturing, distribution, and logistics.

    Supply-chain cloud platforms enable a distributed, orchestrated, traceable supply chain through digital Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on physical containers and goods; and blockchain ledgers to audit and confirm delivery outcomes.

    As we move forward, 3D printing technology can provide alternate supply chain and manufacturing capability, especially in critical industries like life sciences and healthcare.

  5. Gain precise control on your working capital through AI-driven intelligent insights

    Cloud-based enterprise applications are well suited to help enterprise leaders manage capital and cash.

    Supply chain disruptions occurring during the COVID-19 crisis have severe cash flow implications. Finance leaders need to build a recovery strategy that provides scenario-based cash forecasts, evaluates current capital expenditure plans, and explores alternate revenue streams, among other strategies.

    Modern cloud ERP’ have pre-built capabilities with a strong roadmap on AI strategy for core finance operations to help improve cash-flow, agility across payables and receivables. These AI capabilities enable finance executives to better track and act on cash-focused KPIs, including “days payable outstanding” for suppliers and “daily sales outstanding.” Such systems also can provide insights about intelligent options such as dynamic discounting to retain valued customers.

    The capabilities extend to procurement. As scrutiny on cash spending heightens, modern cloud-based purchasing and spend control tools can improve visibility. Also, procurement cloud applications empower business leaders with AI driven actionable insights to enable smart supplier categorization and intelligent payment discounts for better business outcomes.

  6. Ensure robust business continuity powered by self-driven, autonomous platforms

    The black swan pandemic has tested business continuity and disaster response plans and exposed critical vulnerabilities. What do we do when our business offices need to close? When everyone has to work remotely? When demand unexpectedly plummets?

    The lessons from this crisis will clarify why organizations benefit from the automated delivery of enterprise application services on the cloud, or the Machine-First Delivery ModelTM.

    Market leaders in the cloud space like Oracle have made huge investments and innovation towards self-driving autonomous databases to empower mission critical operations for robust business continuity. From a business operations perspective, cloud applications have native robotic process automation capabilities, enabling touchless operations.

    In modern cloud era, innovations are witnessed on Gen 2 infrastructure built on cloud architecture imbibing modern security principles to defend against modern security threats, ensuring robust and secure business operations.

  7. Enable informed decision making, powered by data-driven enterprise

    To offset the economic uncertainties of COVID-19, enterprises must be more intelligent and data-driven. Typical enterprises have confined analytics and insights to certain select groups. One of the lessons of this crisis is that businesses can benefit from a broader view – into not only their own operations, customer bases or supply chains, but also the broader world around them. To gain broader insights for better decision-making, enterprises need to look outside with a 360-degree view of customers and suppliers, macro-economic events, and business risks.

    From a technology point of view, market leaders like Oracle have made investments to build data cloud capabilities and have built an enhanced data cloud portfolio, enabling enterprises to stay relevant and responsive to their market dynamics.

    In this digital age, data-driven intelligence cannot be just confined to enabling strategic decision making but also must support tactical operations and cloud applications deliver those natively.

    To conclude, once the pandemic abates, enterprises should embrace the lessons learned and plan for the future. Technology leaders, such as Oracle, have built comprehensive business application portfolios on cloud that could enable the seven business strategies outlined above to build a resilient digital enterprise. Organizations must focus on innovation to stay relevant to their stakeholders and data driven innovation and insights are key. Oracle’s broad portfolio of digital Platform-as-a-Service offerings, in tandem with data cloud platforms can empower enterprises to accelerate innovation.

    TCS, in partnership with Oracle, help organizations assess their current technology capabilities and provide a robust roadmap and plan for building a resilient enterprise on cloud and digital foundation.

    Contact EAS.strategicsoln@tcs.com to initiate discussions around post Covid-19 transformation.

About the author(s)
Muralidharan Murugesan (Murali)
Global Head, Strategic Solutions, Enterprise Application Services, TCS

Murali is a Business leader and Strategic advisor to Enterprises on ERP Cloud transformations. He has over 25 years of experience in IT consulting and transformation, Manufacturing and Supply Chain domains and has been working in TCS for close to fifteen years.

In his current role as a trusted advisor, partnering with large enterprise customers as part of their Growth and Transformation journey to define their ERP strategy and roadmap on modern cloud applications, aligned to their business strategy, outline the deployment strategy and approach, assess business and technology change impacts and help build business case for the Transformation initiative. Also advising customers on modern ERP Cloud product selection, through PoVs - point of views and detailed due diligence on industry leading ERP Cloud products.

Prior to his current role, he has played variety of roles at the capacity of Global Head – Oracle Presales and Solutions, Oracle Presales Head for Retail and TTH industry units, Delivery Head, Lead for Oracle Center of excellence, Program Director and Project Manager for Large ERP Transformations across multiple industries including Travel, Transportation, Hospitality, Telecom, Manufacturing and Retail.

Throughout his career, he has been aligned to Industry, Business and Technology, during his tenure in IT and manufacturing domain, he was responsible for building strategy, planning and execution of large operations, with diversified workforce in delivering Business outcomes. Some of his Key accomplishments include growing Oracle Business in TCS and been able to bring in new business across Transformation, Run and Grow initiatives and has also helped TCS acquire many of the Industry Leading Logos.

Murali holds bachelor’s degree in Chemical engineering and holds a master’s degree in business administration. He has presented business and technology papers at various conferences and is recognized as a noted speaker in the Oracle Open World and D&B conferences. Murali lives in Chennai, India.


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