"Quelles entreprises et quelles opportunités après la crise du Covid-19 ?", par Céline Moeneclaey (LL.M. in Law & Tax Management 2018)

Publié le 31/03/2020
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Céline Moeneclaey, jeune diplômée EDHEC (LL.M. in Law & Tax Management 2018) prometteuse, a publié récemment sur son compte LinkedIn une analyse très pertinente de la crise sanitaire actuelle, au regard des industries les plus puissantes dans ce contexte, et des opportunités associées aux entreprises. Découvrez-le ici (en anglais) :

 

"We are currently going through an unprecedented worldwide health crisis. Just like every major crisis, there will be a before and an after Covid-19. A whole generation, one to which I belong, is about to enter the job market within a year. Needless to say, the impact of the Covid-19 on the global economy will depend on its duration and on the way we choose to learn from it. The post Covid-19 professional world will most definitely see new behaviors, needs and opportunities emerge.

The companies that seem to suffer less from the Covid-19 crisis belong to the same industry groups and are organized around similar internal structures.

 

SOME PROMISING INDUSTRIES

For obvious reasons, companies that meet the needs of confined consumers see an increase in their activity. To mention just a few trends:

1. E-commerce

● Amazon: plans to recruit 100,000 workers to face delivery demand
● Instacart: plans to double its workforce by hiring 300,000 people

2. Social Networks

● Facebook: phone calls via Facebook’s apps have doubled
● Twitter: daily usage of the platform saw a 23% increase

3. Video Streaming Platforms

● Netflix: 57% traffic increase in Italy, 34% in Spain
● Verizon: 12% increase in video streaming demand

4. Remote Work Service

● Collaborative tools:
     - Zoom: Stock price went from $65 in December 2019 to close to $161 this week
     - Microsoft Teams: 27% increase in users within a week

● Cloud Computing Platforms: IBM, AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud.

All the cloud computing platforms are experiencing peak usage, which raises questions regarding their ability to meet the current demand

The companies that endure during the Covid-19 crisis are not only winning the day, but they are also positioning themselves to win tomorrow. Massive adoption by new, previously reluctant customers isn’t just temporary. Should the pandemic take several months to completely tackle, new reflexes will turn into habits. Given the recent developments in China and Italy, it is far from unreasonable to expect that this crisis will not be overcome in weeks, but in months.

Of course, when the situation returns to “normal”, human flows will resume. People will start traveling and using public spaces again; tourism and food companies will finally start recovering. However, what about those who will have discovered a desire to cook their own meals? Will the positive impact of a slowed down world on the environment shape our future behaviors? Will we still order a Lyft or an Uber instead of a 10-minute walk? Will we keep physically going to the office 5 days a week if the industry doesn’t demand it?

I believe the behaviors people are adopting during these troubled times will endure well after Covid-19 is behind us. Even when things get back to “normal”, we will still carry these habits to some degree, even if it’s just a portion of them. Thus, the companies that find a way to create momentum from this crisis will lay the foundation for long-term prosperity.

 

SUCCESSFUL INTERNAL ORGANIZATIONS

The companies that have incorporated the components listed below are better prepared for unforeseen, sudden change. Of course, this analysis is more relevant regarding the tertiary sector.

1. Core business autonomy

Covid-19 is revealing the biggest weaknesses of globalization. The important interconnection of the markets helped spread the virus and is highlighting the profound interdependency of the different global supply chains, from healthcare goods to smartphones. While countries will not revert to higher protectionism, companies will most likely re-think their own supply chain to increase production agility, perhaps by favoring a more local development and sourcing.

2. Horizontal organization

A horizontal organization is a structural organization with as few separations between employees and top executives as possible, as opposed to a vertical pyramidal organization. The agile methods are also used, such as Scrum and Kanban. The result of such a method is to increase both the productivity and the sense of responsibility of employees, so as to promote decision-making. Employees are grouped into teams in charge of developing a specific product or project. This type of organization brings more flexibility and more autonomy to face sudden change.

3. Employee engagement

A company that is able to engage its employees is a company that can count on them to weather the storm. Sharing common values makes it possible to build from a strong base and toward a shared vision. Out of this, a relationship based on trust can be maintained between a company and its employees, where workers show loyalty to the company while the company provides support and professional opportunities.

4. Remote working integration

Companies that are able to juggle between working from the office and from home have also adapted better to the current situation. Numerous tools like Slack, Trello or Asana enable efficient teamwork in a geographically dispersed context. Coupled with a horizontal organization and employee engagement, it enables smooth communication and effective work. However, it appears to be hard to maintain – or create – strong bounds between different teams while working 100% remotely. This could be a new challenge, should the crisis carry on for long.

In California, companies that are already familiar with the various components of an efficient internal organization have had fewer troubles addressing the Covid-19 crisis. Although the Tech Industry is usually less negatively impacted by the pandemic, companies like Apple or Sony have seen some issues erupt at the peak of the situation in China, due to the high dependency of their global supply chain to this region.

Furthermore, digital-sharing economy platforms like Uber or Airbnb are struggling even though they know the components of a successful internal organization and are not dependent on China for their products to be built. Indeed, a successful internal organization might not be sufficient to face the Covid-19 crisis where companies’ services are in conflict with consumers new lifestyle. However, it helps to reinvent company’s business and overcome the storm.

Universities have also demonstrated their ability to adapt fast. At Berkeley Law School, for instance, the digital transition was remarkable. Online classes were operational 5 days before the official confinement and the university is providing its students and employees with psychological and IT support. Communication is fluid and all the stakeholders are consulted prior to making any major decision.

I believe the Covid-19 crisis will bring about a major economic crisis. But once we overcome the pandemic and the economic fallout, it has the power to bring positive changes for both the employees’ well-being and companies’ productivity. Corporate culture will be an important factor in the ability of a given company to absorb these changes. For example, my home country of France is often regarded as strongly attached to traditions, and relatively averse to change. However, this will be the opportunity to show pragmatism and an ability to transform its conceptions of an organization.

In the end, to better identify tomorrow’s opportunities, it is essential to pay attention to the companies that manage to overcome the Covid-19 crisis and the reasons why they see success through this period. New businesses will emerge, such as after the 2008 crisis which saw the inception of Slack, Square and WhatsApp. With the spare time available, it is important to make the most of it by using online resources to train and prepare ourselves for tomorrow’s new needs and job opportunities, or to become a change initiator by launching a new business.

In the meantime, stay safe!"



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