If your organization is like most, you have reduced staff and non-essential expenditures. Maybe you have consolidated business systems and the teams that support those systems. It is likely you have also sought to get more out of the business integration environment you already have in place. All this has been in response to an economy that has been in decline for about two years now.
So after maximizing efficiencies and effectiveness, what is next? Many we have been in touch with have gone, or are going, through scenario planning knowing things will go one of three ways. For the balance of 2009 and 2010, the business environment can stay about the same, get worse, or get better.
If things stay the same most will proceed in maintenance mode, continuing with regular business network integrations. Only new high ROI projects, mission critical projects like on boarding new partners, and upgrading software as support lapses, will be undertaken. IT groups will also seek to utilize their integration tools in new and different ways to maximize support of the business without acquiring new software and expense.
And what if things get worse? Focus will quickly turn to keeping the organization alive. Further reductions in staff are possible as organizations turn to concentrate on core competencies. Assistance from outside the organization will be called upon in an as needed or ongoing fashion. Only projects that possess the highest ROI will be started/completed, along with projects supporting existing customers or those that help land new ones.
How about when things get better? Finally, you will be able to focus on those projects providing great ROI that were not launched in the past given business conditions. It is also the perfect time to invest in the business integration suite or enterprise communications tool(s) that you have been researching. New software and technology such as this can be an excellent platform to support a moderate to rapid recovery. And recovery will occur; it is really a matter of time. Were you quick enough to cut expenses and change operations in the downturn? Most organizations were not. Will you be prepared to make investment in your integration platform to support the organization and participate fully in the recovery? Having the recovery scenario prepared will help you get the best tools and talent before the deals and resources get snatched up. (See Hiring Trends).
What are the recovery scenarios and odds as it relates to the above? While recovery will vary by industry, region, and other things, I found some probabilities assigned to different types of recoveries in the recent UBS Investment Strategy Guide. The likelihood of a moderate recovery 55%, deflation / double dip recession 20%, v-shaped recovery 15%, and stagflation 10%.
So while the type of recovery is unknown, it’s a great idea to plan and be ready for it. Many believe we are already in recovery. Time will tell.
Good luck with your scenario planning.