The coronavirus is leaving a wreckage around the world. It has battered the economy, paused businesses and leisure travels, sent the workforce to work from home, and froze normal operations. But enterprising companies are leveraging technologies to adapt to these changes. Let’s see how new advances can help four business personas.

Corporate leaders

As leaders of their companies, they face several challenges. Two of their top concerns are: 1) business continuity, i.e., “How do I work with customers uninterrupted and sustain revenue?; and 2) employee productivity, i.e., “How do I make sure my employees are coping well and stay productive while working from home?”

To see where they stand with customers, C-suites should cut through the noise and listen to their customers directly. There are easy-to-set-up tools, such as those from Qualtrics’ “Here to Help” campaign, that monitor customer expectations and capture feedback in real time. Leaders can take these insights, refine products and services, and rework their go-to-market plans according to their customers’ changing needs.

Then there is software essential to operations and help companies move sales channels to digital platforms (such as SAP Customer Experience e-commerce technologies) and simplify labor-intensive processes with automation (such as SAP Intelligent Robotic Process Automation). For their staff, business leaders should assess what employees need, and summarize feedback in real-time and take necessary actions to make things run better. An automated feedback solution, such as Qualtrics Remote Work Pulse, can help.

Chief HR officers

As trusted stewards of their employees, the coronavirus outbreak has put HR heads in the spotlight. They now have to activate learning and development training on the best way to work from home and keep track of their employees’ safety. SAP Litmos has activated a training platform that helps the workforce learn best practices in remote work, maintain the highest levels of hygiene and mental wellness through video-based content. There is a learning path functionality that tracks progress. Accessible until the end of June this year, this platform helps teams, leaders, and employees cope with unexpected environment changes and work effectively, no matter where they are. CHROs also need to ensure employee safety, starting with knowing where they are. Concur Locate is a digital tool that can help HR pinpoint employees’ locations, see their travel plans using machine learning, identify risks and assess impact, communicate with their employees and deploy local response teams if necessary.

Project managers

They are the glue that keeps things running smoothly. To make sure projects are on track, they juggle different processes, milestones and deadlines, working with many teams and departments. As work-life zigzags between home and the office, project managers might find it more difficult to track progress, understand and solve bottlenecks, which are sometimes better done with face-to-face discussions with coworkers. They can try RUUM, a simple project management tool which helps to organize, plan collaboratively and execute tasks. This tool gives project managers visibility and increase efficiency, distributing tasks within the team, setting milestones, providing feedback, and pinpoint any potential risks.

Procurement directors

It is an understatement that they have the tough job of sourcing supplies in a world where supply chains are disrupted anywhere you look. At the onset of the virus outbreak, procurement heads might look beyond China for alternative sources. With many more countries in lockdown, they have to look even harder to sustain sourcing and procurement. In response to this, SAP has opened its Ariba Discovery for 90-day free access from March 10, 2020. Any buyer can post their immediate sourcing needs and any supplier can respond to show they can deliver. Thus, companies can now tap into Ariba’s global supplier network of 4.6 million companies in 190 countries to secure materials and services to tackle disrupted supply chains.  

Technologies, when properly deployed, are great operational assets. The solutions highlighted above can help companies cope with a business world that is changing in a direction that no one foresaw. The coronavirus crisis is calling business leaders and decision-makers to exercise ingenuity to continue their business. Use technologies to help you take back control.

Benson Chao, director of corporate communications at SAP Hong Kong, wrote this article. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of CDOTrends. Photo credit: iStockphoto/ipopba