Can your company withstand the next crisis?

Here are the five key components of building a resilient business transformation strategy

In challenging times, resilient organisations succeed by doing more than just splashing out on new technology or sending an action plan from the boardroom and hoping for the best. Proactive businesses should be looking to transform by combining these five key elements – after all, one-off events happen more often than you think.

Know your customers’ ecosystem

If it is not a pandemic, it’s inflation causing chaos. Crises happen but resilient companies understand their customers and the robustness of their supply chain, says Emile Naus, partner at BearingPoint, a multinational consultancy.

Fully responding to customers is key. In BearingPoint’s ‘Tune Your Delivery’ survey of 3,000 European customers, delivery price was responsible for 70% of customers’ decisions, but some customers were prepared to pay a premium for speedy delivery on certain items. “Fully understanding the balance can save 20% on costs and 15% on your carbon footprint,” says Naus.

“One automotive manufacturer had looked at their supply chain but not in enough detail. When the Fukushima nuclear disaster happened, they discovered all of their gearbox suppliers used the same tiny component that came from the one place in Fukushima. Having gone to all the trouble of splitting risk by sourcing across multiple suppliers, they were still 100% exposed when that sub-component supplier went down.”

Turn data centricity into a competitive advantage

Have useful, easy-to-access, uniform data that assists the whole company and ensures its rules are rigorously adhered to, says Tony Farnfield, partner at BearingPoint.

“Often, organisations have multiple customer data points across many legacy systems, resulting in fragmented and inconsistent views of a customer, making it very difficult to have one clean, consistent and useable record. Successful organisations will have a single, well-governed data of a customer, allowing the organisation to personalise customer engagement”

Empower your people

By the time a complaint reaches senior management, you have often already lost that customer. Ensure people on the front line are fully empowered to respond, says Naus.

“There is so much data you carry on customers – why can’t your frontline customer services see it too? What if a complainant is a long-term valued customer and you fail to swap a problem product instantly and lose their business? Or, if a serial returner is able to simply return used goods all the time?”

Successful companies always aim to repair relationships, not just products, and good data can help you gain more custom and loyalty after a complaint.

Successful organisations will have a single, well-governed data of a customer, allowing the organisation to personalise customer engagement

Use technology to improve agility

Technology should be integrated into your overarching strategy, but understand that innovation isn’t just about IT – it’s a chance for collaboration. Create joined-up responses by investing in new technologies that can gather sentiment analysis and predictive analytics from online behaviours to create a richer data set, says Farnfield.

“For example, for an insurance company, understanding customers’ demographics and characteristics poses questions:-do they have children about to start driving and need a group discount? Are the family about to go on holiday or do they need pet insurance? Marry up offers to give a better product and even offer bonus content – i.e. sending ‘securing your home’ articles to those buying home insurance – to add extra value, personalise and drive loyalty.”

Simplify governance

Companies expect their staff to use initiative in a crisis – so why not let them make decisions that way regularly? As the pandemic hit Europe, one luxury goods company had already seen the impact of the virus on their business in China and was able to redeploy resources at speed by having flexible governance.

“European local leaders saw the impact in China, moved quickly and utilised digital tools to a provide customers with a bespoke service via online remote interaction to great effect,’’ says Naus.

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Promoted by BearingPoint