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itbusinessnewreality
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IT business in the new reality: how companies deal with the COVID-19 threat?

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Coronavirus has become a challenge that has changed the lives of the world's population. While doctors around the world are struggling with the pandemic, and people are sitting at home, almost every business is suffering heavy losses. Supply chains and retailers are at a greater risk of collapse since they rely on land-based utilities the most. On the other hand, IT companies and online businesses are doing better, but they have also been hit hard by the crisis. 

 

That's a new reality in which, according to the most positive estimates, we will have to live for another couple of months. But no one can say for sure when COVID-19 can be completely discounted. Perhaps, this virus will become commonplace for a long time, and we will have to live with it.

The situation as it is

What we need to think about today is how to help businesses get through this. The number of applications for unemployment benefits in the US is record-breaking. Over the past month, 6.65 million people asked for support. 

 

National governments are taking unprecedented measures to support small and medium-sized businesses by abolishing taxes, freezing loan payments, and simply pouring cash into people's pockets. These measures are not useless, but they are not able to change the situation. In essence, they only delay the inevitable moment of collapse. The authorities ask business owners not to fire their employees and continue paying wages. But as we can see from the numbers above, this doesn't always work.

 

But, what exactly the COVID-19 threat is and what kind of problems entrepreneurs face.

The threat

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Today, businesses deal with a large number of issues that need to be addressed, namely:

 

  • The inability of employees to work in the usual offline mode;
  • Immobilized supply chains in the B2B segment. Deliveries, exchanges of goods and services are impossible;
  • Reorganization of all activities in order to protect personnel from possible infection;
  • Uncertainty and lack of understanding as to how long this situation will drag on;
  • Massive withdrawal of solvent customers from the market and the general trend towards savings during the crisis.

 

The IT segment has always been distinguished by the fact that managers are able to transfer the majority of employees to remote work. However, how can they deal with the withdrawal of customers from the market? Let's look at the measures that IT companies are taking to stay afloat.

Best practices of how IT businesses deal with COVID-19

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It is important to understand that these tips are universal methods, and therefore they are more general. You will have to find specific niche solutions for individual businesses yourself.

Development of the plan

In the fight against any problems, and even more so against a global challenge, a plan is always needed. It should include a list of problems and a list of measures taken to address them. Let's assume that problems are already identified (for example, those in the list above). The next step is to develop solutions and organize the company's staff.

 

Such a plan instills confidence in employees and gives managers an understanding of which steps need to be taken. It is also a good sign for customers. The company doesn't surrender to panic, it has the processes organized, and sticks to a clear plan of action. It is important to develop solutions for various scenarios — from the most positive to the most negative.

Establishing remote work 

Most IT companies can afford to transfer employees to remote work. In the end, all they need is a computer with a seamless Internet connection. However, not everything is so simple here.

 

The organization of remote work for an entire company is a rather difficult process. It is necessary to develop a clear policy, which will include answers to all questions. For instance, those that relate to:

 

  • The timeframe of a working day;
  • Smooth communication between managers and teams, as well as between regular employees;
  • A well-organized process of solving the emerging problems; 
  • A clear understanding of how to navigate through new issues and tasks;
  • Clear task tracking and management;
  • Each team member must be familiar with the tools necessary for remote work.

 

These are just the most obvious points. Fortunately, the opportunities for digital businesses are wide. There's an abundance of tools designed to help companies organize remote work. 

Enhancing customer communications

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Regardless of whether your company is B2C or B2B, it is important to keep customers informed that your business is still operational and ready to provide its services or goods. Entrepreneurs should pay more attention to communication with customers and partners in order to develop a joint strategy. 

 

It is also important to understand which clients are ready to continue cooperation during the crisis. Perhaps, some will be forced to make substantial cuts in spending, and this also needs to be discussed. In fact, communication with customers has never been so important as it is now.

Budget optimization

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Of course, this step is a must for any business, not just IT-related. Different companies take various steps in order to at least not get into debt and continue paying salaries to employees. However, with the loss of customers, large projects may close. If this is the case, managers should think up where to redirect employees. Unfortunately, not everyone has this opportunity, so many companies are forced to fire their employees. Some, by mutual agreement, reduce the salary of employees and transfer them to part-time work.

 

In an ever-changing situation, it is extremely important to analyze income and expenses on a daily basis, and timely respond to client attrition. In some companies, even a few days of not optimized work can lead to huge holes in the budget.

Cooperation with the state

Developed countries understand the difficulties that business owners face because of mass quarantine and are ready to help. However, the main forces of the authorities are now aimed at supporting the operation of key sectors, and those who cannot transfer their processes online. So, please, review the International Chamber of Commerce guidelines for business regarding the COVID-19 threat.

 

Nevertheless, IT businesses have a great opportunity to interact with the state now. These are companies that continue working during the crisis and are ready to provide assistance in government projects. Today, authorities are happy to accept any help, so this cooperation can serve as a benefit for both parties. The authorities will be able to implement urgent projects. While businesses can gain invaluable experience in working with government projects and establish good contacts.

The importance of mutual support

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In the end, we would like to say how important it is today to lend a helping hand to those who need it the most. A global challenge like coronavirus is here to test our social, state and economic institutions for strength. How quickly and efficiently are people ready to join forces in the face of a common threat? That's a key question.

 

IT businesses have always been part of the train that pushes humanity forward. Technological progress, which is also ensured by IT companies, affects many sectors. And although many are forced to close down operations today, those that keep running should do their best to stay the course and maintain the economy.



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