A web-based panel discussion was conducted on ‘Strategies to reinvent the business for continuity and growth Post COVID-19’ by Rajat Basra, Chief Executive Officer (President Director), Omnicom Media Group, Indonesia; Nelson Allen, Chief Growth Officer, Go Bear, Singapore and Ashim Mathur, Sr. Regional Director, Dolby Laboratories, Singapore. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Balvinder Shukla, Vice Chancellor, Amity University.
On account of the unprecedented challenges in the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment, views were sought on the effect of COVID-19 on the business and the strategies to be adopted in the near future. Opening the forum Dr Shukla said that while the world was going through these unprecedented circumstances due to COVID-19, it has also given an opportunity to convert this crisis into an opportunity. She also shared how Amity University has been conducting online classes for its students to maintain academic continuity. “Our Faculty too has adapted quickly to this changed scenario and have been using various innovations while conducting these online classes,” added Dr. Shukla.
Talking about the effect of COVID-19 and the change it has brought into the business, Rajat Basra, Chief Executive Officer (President Director), Omnicom Media Group, Indonesia shared that change has been part of people’s lives and humans are used to tackle change. “But this change has come with many challenges. We are living in a connected environment where businesses are linked globally. Looking at the impact of COVID from human and business level, issues are being faced across verticals. Considering at the requirements for the hour, it’s important to understand why we exist professionally and at Omnicom, we exist for people, product and profits. So it’s important to take care of our people,” shared Mr. Basra.
Nelson Allen, Chief Growth Officer, Go Bear, Singapore shared how different companies are taking various steps to deal with this unprecedented scenario. “Companies that are quick to react will be able to sustain well and be better positioned. As far as business outlook is concerned, it always starts with people. Also, only those mindsets will prevail who believe that they can sustain and come out of this scenario,” shared Mr. Allen.
Ashim Mathur, Sr. Regional Director, Dolby Laboratories, Singapore stated he and his organization are doing much more than what they would have done in a normal scenario. “We are coming up in better living room solutions. We are using the challenge to navigate through this crisis and come up with solutions. It’s important to remain positive and save our people and their families. In these times it’s really important and critical to get the creativity going. Being agile and being responsive is what is needed to tackle this scenario,” stated Ashim.
Talking about the impact and the measures being taken in the business, Basra shared that in his business at Omnicom, there are many clients who have suffered a lot. “However, in my portfolio of clients there are telecom clients who are spending a lot and others who have balanced this scenario. Nevertheless when these challenges come your way, it gives one an opportunity to think about businesses differently and deeply,” shared Basra. He stated that during this crisis he discovered that his immunity is his cash flow. He averred that productivity is not about what time you reach office but the outcome delivered and he could look at giving his employees an opportunity to work from home in the future when things go normal. He said, that this pandemic has made him learn to be a survivor and to take better care of himself.
Allen shared that 40% of his business consisted of travel insurance. “And with the travel segment going down, it’s had a huge impact on our business, which is a startup. We had just closed a round of funding so we were a bit lucky. We first gave our employees care package and ensured they were doing ok. We have also got grants from government and you have to look at every possible way of getting the cash flow. On the other side, while travel has gone down but demand for loans have gone up fueling our business with personal loans,” shared Allen. He stated that he will continue to be creative and look for further opportunities in the future.
Ashim stated that his business is in the entertainment segment in the content creation and content experience . “The other big business we are is in the licensing segment. During this pandemic we have seen consumer demand going down and we have taken a hit in the top line. Also with no content being created in cinemas, there has been no business. But we’ve had a good momentum running because of the last few quarters that went well which enabled us to give our employees extra stipend along with the salaries,” shared Ashim. He also stated that with home viewing in the Over The Top (OTT) segment going up, local OTT services is seeing a huge boost and opening an avenue for the future.
“We have tripled our digital campaigns to reach out to our consumers. Also people are willing to experiment that is allowing these developments to happen. We see convenience factor in technology being brought in and having a bigger say in defining peop s choices in the future. We also see cinema moving to the living rooms of people,” shared Ashim. In a nutshell, being upbeat and reaching out to the partners; creativity; agility and convenience in technology are the mantras of the new normal, shared by Ashim.