After many months of lockdown and slowed economic activity due to the coronavirus pandemic, businesses in the Philippines are stirring back to life.
Scaling down or shutting down altogether was a natural recourse, almost a knee-jerk response. In those early days, we knew next to nothing about COVID-19. We simply knew that there was an unseen enemy out there. It was easy to be immobilized with fear and worry – our own and our family’s health.
As the weeks rolled by, we learned more about the virus. Thanks to the work of science, we now know which activities are riskier than others. We know what circumstances are are dangerous. We have internalized the basics of personal protection – washing hands regularly, wearing face masks and face shields, and practicing social distancing – so that now we can take calculated moves to go back to our businesses while still taking active steps to avoid infection.
That period of pause, we hope, provided an opportunity for executives and entrepreneurs alike to look at how they had been conducting business prior to the pandemic.
For example, in pre-COVID days, how did companies spend their budgets for IT? Did companies see the value in giving their people the best tools? Did they spend large sums on regularly upgrading their hardware or their systems and software?
Did they shell out huge amounts in recovering their files or getting a new server after their old one became erratic or was hit by flood or fire?
Before the pandemic, some businesses shied away from integrating their various units, thinking the cost was too much and might cause disruption in their daily operations. Or, if they did integrate, they could have balked at using cloud technology, for fears that the environment may not be secure or that their company’s data may be compromised. They might have been worried their people may not be able to adapt.
They could also have thought of IT spending as a mere expense, instead of as a strategic investment that will enable them to be more efficient and competitive in the future.
And, as the virus raged on keeping people inside their homes, did they think they should have given such an investment greater consideration?
If you or your colleagues took advantage of the lull in business thinking of these, and if the new environment shaped by COVID-19 has caused you to wonder what the “next normal” would be like, then you are not alone. You are in good company.
All of us were forced to take stock of how we used technology in our business in the past. Many of us thought it was “nice to have” or that it was an expense that must be borne. This pandemic taught us that technology – cloud technology to be precise – is our ally in surviving these difficult times. Without technology, our businesses would have suffered the consequences of the economic lockdown.
As we step out of our homes and back onto our usual business, albeit with greater caution than before, it would be good to bring our reflections into this new environment. There is life amid COVID, business amid COVID, success amid – despite – COVID. We just have to be guided by hindsight, and then we should proceed with caution.