Twelve trends shaping the 'new normal' for organisations

16 June 2020 7 min. read

On the back of a range of economic, political, environmental, societal and technological trends induced by the covid-19 crisis, organisations and businesses will face a ‘new normal’ in the post-corona era. Experts from Monitor Deloitte outline the impact this new landscape will have on business and operating models. 

In its study titled ‘Reinvent to thrive’, experts from Monitor Deloitte highlight how the business landscape is set for a wave of disruption across all its facets. Some of these disruptive forces have already been around for a while, seeing acceleration due to the health pandemic, while others trends are new as a result of changing expectations of consumers, leaders and people.

The authors group the twelve trends shaping the new normal into four domains: 

Customers and channels 

Consumer confidence
Customer confidence and buyer behaviours will take a time to return to pre-Covid levels and may experience lasting adjustments in category spend, channel preferences and fulfilment and service management expectations. Customer sentiment will be more greatly influenced by business conduct, demonstrated levels of security, and whether they ‘trust’ products, services, and businesses. 

Read also: McKinsey & Company outlines covid-19's impact on consumers. 

Values-centred design
Leading into the Covid-19 crisis, the awareness of environmental, ethical and sustainable products and services was a trend becoming a norm. Consumer preferences are shifting to products, services and solutions that are valued for how they are designed, extending beyond the consumable to include the full ecosystem in which consumers interact. Buying local, is not necessarily in response to nationalistic views, but rather a shift in what consumers value. 

Next generation commerce
The shift to virtual and digital customer interaction models has accelerated business model adjustments, necessitating rapid investment into capabilities across sales, fulfilment and service management. Contact-free models, e-commerce platforms, virtual and remote services, self-service, cognitive agents and intelligent automation are all trends that have become mainstream. With this shift in model comes a requirement to adjust the channel mix and how customer experiences are best created. 

Value chains and operations 

Supply illumination and certainty
Supply chain illumination technologies, risk management and business continuity strategies have been a saviour for many companies impacted from the shocks of supply disruption, but many companies have been left scratching their heads. The fragility of global supply for many value chains has highlighted the requirement for more robust systems that provide visibility across the extended value chain, alongside enhanced planning and control tower solutions, to better sense and respond to issues.

Operational continuity
With borders and value chains closing or slowing down, many businesses are seeking continuity strategies to their core operations. On-shoring, re-shoring and in-sourcing of critical operations are all strategies being visited and deployed as businesses review their manufacturing and operational practices.

Advanced analytics and automation
Intelligent and robotic automation across business operations has been accelerating, with increased deployment of cognitive technologies to support heightened levels of demand in some industries and across business activities throughout the crisis. Further investment in advanced analytics and technologies, including sensors and 5G, will lead to enhanced operations and more data-driven decisions. 

Work and workforce 

Work redesign
Work redesign could be the most substantial disruption resulting from the ‘great lockdown’. Organisations have been forced to examine how work practices, processes, policies, enabling tools and the workforce is able (and willing) to fulfil customer and stakeholder needs. This trend requires companies to look at what jobs are required, how to best assign those jobs, and the most suitable configuration of how those jobs are delivered.

Virtual and flexible work
It is highly unlikely that the way workers work will go back to ‘normal’. Flexible, remote and virtual work has sustained many industries and has forced a crash-test approach to digital-workforce tools and flexible working approaches. Remote working has proven itself beneficial and opened up options for organisations to consider how they re-construct the organisation and workforce in the ‘new normal’.

Adaptable organisation

Businesses have been pursuing the incorporation of agility and adaptive practices for years. The instant shift to remote, virtual and global has unlocked leaders to move towards organising and interacting around networks based on how people work and behave. Moving from formal hierarchies and silos to multi-disciplinary teams with connected ways of working, led through orchestration versus taskmasters, will become a key feature of advantaged organisations in the ‘new normal’.

Read also: How work and the workforce will change for good post-corona. 

Technology and infrastructure

Accelerated shift to cloud and platforms
To support remote and agile working, businesses have accelerated their migration to the cloud, virtualisation and the adoption of cloud-enabled platforms. While providing employees with greater flexibility, this shift strengthens system resilience, security and is unlocking new forms of advantage and business model opportunities. 

Integrated physical and digital assets
As more physical ‘things’ become connected and technologies like the Internet of Things and 5G are advanced, the monitoring and integration of physical and digital assets and infrastructure will increase, unlocking insights and providing new sources of intelligence and business opportunity. The advancement of ‘digital twins’ capabilities opens the possibility of new services, growth into new markets and alternative sources of advantage.

Cognitive and AI
Broad scale adoption of cognitive technologies, such as machine learning, neural networks, intelligent automation and the broader domain of artificial intelligence will transform nearly every industry and how businesses compete and operate. How these technologies enable intelligent and personalised interactions between customers, suppliers, workers, and the organisation will underpin the future of work and how it is delivered.

Monitor Deloitte’s report was authored by Jeremy Drumm (Managing Partner of Monitor Deloitte in Australia), Giselle Hodgson, Alexander Tan, Jean-Marie Voon and Ben Coffey.