Although Covid-19 has been here for a while now, the world is still struggling to cope with its adversities. Besides putting millions of lives at stake and taking thousands, it is unanimously impacting many industries. 

While organizations are facing n number of challenges due to this unrest, today we will focus on some of the major ones. We will also try to discuss how these challenges can be addressed and to what extent.

Now, let us get into the discussion without further ado:

1. Maintaining business as usual

One of the biggest concerns regarding leading an organization during any crisis is staying connected to the customers remotely. Maintaining close contact with the customers becomes a challenge and managing all the obligations becomes even more challenging. There is a lot to talk about — not everything can be discussed over the phone.

To bridge this gap, we have to take advantage of any effective means of communication available. Using virtual meeting platforms like Zoom has become more convenient and time-saving than getting on planes and flying around the world. It ensures that the proposals and contracts are more readable and understandable even before the parties can sit down and have a face-to-face discussion to amend or close any contracts or deals.

During these difficult times, collaboration becomes more important than ever. A multi-way communication driven contract management provides a secure platform where multiple parties can collaborate on different stages of contracts simultaneously, thereby eliminating the geographical and linguistic barriers. Zycus’s CLM solution offers just that and much more that makes remote work much simpler and business operations just as usual.

2. Dealing with increasing mergers & acquisitions

The pandemic has led to an increase in mergers and acquisitions. Dealing with M&A becomes difficult in a remote set up. Some of the challenges have been listed below:

  • Communication and collaboration among the many new employees.
  • Understanding each other’s needs and co-operating.
  • Bringing both the companies on the same page in terms of their contracts and operations
  • Sustaining the collaborative nature of the in-office working set up in work from home set up.
  • Difficulty in learning from seniors and existing co-workers.

Online platforms are being used for virtual meetings in an attempt to maintain close contact among the employees. Efforts must be made to make sure that the new employees understand the organization’s expectations. At the same time, care must be taken that they are comfortable with the work from home set up. The physical distance should not be a hurdle in the way of raising any concerns. The managers must keep on checking on their employees, especially the new ones.

Apart from the challenges mentioned before, M&A activities lead to a lot of other adjustments, including importing new contracts into the system. Reviewing these contracts is mandatory before finalizing a merger or acquisition. The acquiring company must contract processes that can lead to issues like:

  • Business risks
  • Complications in transaction
  • Legal risks
  • Contracting risks

Integrating the incoming contracts into Zycus iContract can take care of the migration of contracts, as well as contract risk analytics by:

  • Migrating the legacy contract to a new or a common Contract Management system with automation and AI becomes a necessity.
  • Having a centralized repository with an audit trail of previous activities reduces the manual labor of contract managers before, during, and after the transaction. 
  • Reviewing thousands of contracts to detect obligations, irregularities, and hidden liabilities.
  • Extracting common M&A specific clauses such as retention rights, change of control, terminations, etc., to streamline the merger.
  • Discovering contract risk associated with divestitures, gaining transparency into supply chain risk.

3. Disruptions in global supply chain

Covid-19 has affected global operations in various ways. Many of the affected countries are at the heart of global supply chains. Consequently, they have witnessed depleting or idling stock, the net result being many organizations failing to meet their contractual obligations on time. Suppliers unable to fulfill orders due to labor shortages and restrictions on transportation and moving across countries is leading to issues like:

  • Stalled production
  • Unfulfilled orders
  • Slower shipments
  • Stock shortages
  • Incomplete deliveries
  • Inflated costs
  • Fewer products on the shelf at the retailer

Currently, most companies are focused on short-term strategies to deal with the pandemic. But, if they analyze the situation strategically and align smartly, it will drive growth and competitive advantage in the years to come. For instance, through digitization, organizations can enjoy faster decisions and executions. As a result, organizations will gain better end-to-end supply chain visibility. 

With more collaborations with the suppliers, enterprises can build new products, services, and innovations for their customers. They can develop better digital capabilities that enable improved sourcing, collaboration, and supplier management. Finally, this would lead to more eCommerce and a better balance between traditional operations and online channels to deliver an omnichannel approach.

A lot of organizations are shifting to automated contract management solutions for real-time visibility, smoother collaboration with suppliers, and simpler business processes. Automation of contract lifecycle management ensures accuracy and eliminates the risk of human error. It also streamlines the supply chain in the following ways:

  • Real-time visibility
  • Supplier risk alerts
  • Faster business processes
  • Compliance management
  • Remote work support

Practices during the pandemic that might continue in the long run

The virtual setup might end up being a long-term shift. Virtual tools give a local person the ability to wear virtual reality glasses and inspect the product. It might make life a little easier for customers, suppliers, and the workforce.

Having the employees working where they need to work — whether it be a customer’s location, the office, or somewhere else they choose to work, reduces the physical infrastructure — it becomes more cost-competitive. So, now, companies can think of operating virtually.

If companies start thinking of conducting their businesses virtually, they have to attract more people to join the work from home league. Hiring employees across borders will allow the companies to take advantage of global talent.

On the other hand, now people are also getting the ability to expand their careers because they don’t have to uproot their families and relocate for job opportunities. So, there is a big shift in people’s career aspirations.

(This blog is based on WCC Vibe Summit 2020’s session on “Problem Solving Lab: Industries in Crisis” with speakers: Robert Barrios, Will Morris, Cecelia Cricket Middleton, and Steve Murphy)