Measuring the Impact of COVID-19

Enterprise Iron Financial Industry Solutions, Inc.
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Author:

Tim Scott

Tim Scott

Senior Vice President of Business Development

Long after the calendar flips over on December 31st, the year 2020 will be remembered as the year when so much of our lives and the way we do business changed. These changes are not the result of legislation like EGTRRA in 2001, another corporate scandal or a bubble bursting, which led to the stock market collapse of 2008.

These changes were in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected tens of millions and caused over 1 million deaths across the globe. The decisions that businesses are now making and how they continue to respond to this ongoing threat will determine which survive and which will not.

As Warren Buffett said after the 2008 stock market crash, “When the tide goes out, a lot of rocks are exposed.” In that case, the tide that was covering inefficient processes was a record stock market. The rocks that were exposed when the market went down were the manual and custom processes that had been created and relied upon during a time of asset growth. 

The mantra, “just get it done” rang true during that time but many rocks were exposed. Enterprise Iron believes that these new rocks change the way we have traditionally done business and experts agree a “new normal” for the way business is done now includes permanent remote working for many Team Members, especially in the Financial Services industry. The ramifications of this approach, both immediate and long-term, are significant. The pandemic is requiring many firms to thoroughly review internal processes and procedures, which requires asking yourself some tough questions:

Business Process Reengineering

Firms had to move swiftly to migrate their non-essential workers to a work from home environment. Anytime changes of this magnitude are undertaken at pace, important details and work are often dropped and processes need to be reviewed. Ask yourself, are our processes documented and easily accessible to support remote work?

Security

How can our organization securely push out processes and new technology to users who are not now coming into the office? How do we guard against outside attacks when each employee may have a different network provider or protocols that impact their ability to connect to your back-end systems?

Technology

Do your systems support remote working? What changes are required to do so? Many organizations did not have the hardware and software required to send Team Members home on short notice. A number of our clients have spoken to us about the challenges of having company laptops purchased, configured and deployed to their remote workers in a timely manner. At many firms an additional 1st level tech support line will be required.

Facilities

Does our change to remote working impact our need for in-house facilities? How can we smoothly transition our workforce to reduce our current contractual obligations for facilities as our needs for space are reduced?

Outsourcing

How many firms will finally throw up their hands and cry Uncle? One approach that many organizations may find attractive is to consider outsourcing of certain technologies or operational processes as a means of reducing their needs for staff.

The Economy

Before the shutdown, our economy had positive projections for 2020. Unlike other economic impacts, this shutdown was voluntary based on health and safety concerns rather than the result of a systemic economic failure. However, the lasting effect of closing a significant number of small businesses and sending office workers home still remains to be seen.

Does the economy bounce back once everything has reopened? Even if it does, how does the long-term, reduced need for office space impact the commercial real estate market? What about the number of small businesses that serve those large office complexes? With reduced customer demand due to more remote workers, how many of those can stay in business with their expensive downtown rental agreements?

The Good News

A bit of encouraging news is that at a recent virtual industry conference, much of the conversation was about the experience of managing the lockdown that occurred in March of this year. Most companies surveyed were able to make the migration of most of their staff within a few weeks, but what comes next and who can help?

Enterprise Iron Can Help

Enterprise Iron has always specialized in remote working. Headquartered in New Jersey, we have Team Members living in 31 states across the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Over 75% of our staff works remotely and has been in that environment for over a decade.

Our expert Business Process Analysts know how to evaluate your business processes and identify non-technology process improvements that enable your Team to permanently work remote. Our Systems Engineers and Security Engineers know how to analyze your current applications and security protocols to make sure your remote employees can be productive in a secure work environment that protects the data of your retirement system members and sponsors.

Our Subject Matter Experts in Finance and Facilities Management effectively evaluate your current contracts and consult with you to develop a path to success. Our Solutions Architects and Program Managers have years of expertise facilitating an outsourced provider vendor evaluation and search process (RFI/RFP) to ensure that decisions you make regarding outsourcing are based in facts with a confirmed ROI that proves the value of a change.

Conclusion

While the Covid-19 pandemic has been disruptive to business at levels most of us have not seen in our lifetimes, and has required firms to fundamentally re-think daily operations, it has also served as an invitation. There is opportunity to reconfigure operations to gain efficiencies and cost-savings that had not previously been evident and have become necessary.

The first few months of this pandemic were chaotic as the need to protect public health was immediate and the virus was not understood. Decisions were reactionary with little thought given to any long-term ripple effects on the economy and how business will be conducted. The ramifications of the “new normal” are still playing out and the firms that are unable to adapt to a more remote business structure won’t survive.

Enterprise Iron’s extensive experience with remote working enables us to provide efficient solutions that assist you through this transition and keep your employees safe while maintaining productivity. For more information, contact tscott@enterpriseiron.com.