Business continuity in the time of COVID19


Coronavirus has reminded business that the technology era for doing business is here. Converging technologies are here to transform businesses. In the past, if people were ordered to stay at home, it meant stay at home, not much business could be done. Nowadays, the economic implications of not being able to work from an office environment are different. The impact of a nationwide lockdown would have had a significantly higher impact on productivity than it does nowadays. People can do most things they do in the office at home. 

This includes most transacting that is needed, including performance managing teams that are not in the office. Imagine what could have happened to Italy if the total shutdown had been introduced by government during the era where technology was not prevalent. Imagine the devastating impact that corona virus would have on the economy if there were no systems that could be used to manage output of teams that are working remotely, not to say there won’t be any negative economic impact with the current nationwide lockdown.

This week we have witnessed the sharp decline of share prices in the stock market. In the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE Fung and TM Index is down by 10.05%, followed by the Dow Jones industrial average down by 9.9%, followed by the NYSE composite index new down by 9.9%, followed by S&P 500 index down by 9.5% and NYSE 100 fund also down by 9.47%. Meanwhile this week the JSE also struggled with most companies on the red with Sasol amongst the companies that are hardest hit experiencing an exponential decline in its share price dropping by 40% due to a 25% drop in oil price.

The introduction of Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and cloud-based technologies is going to be even more important going into the future. It will mean that transacting doesn’t have to only take place in the office. AI can be controlled remotely and with cloud-based solutions, transacting can be done anywhere and everywhere through phones, tablets and laptops. The businesses that are behind with cloud-based solutions will have to accelerate the acceleration of transitioning to these technologies in order to ensure business continuity. Coronavirus has just reminded business that it is no longer a luxury to have cloud-based systems and that serious consideration must be given to AI technologies as a back-up to human capital, especially for the labour-intensive businesses. This has become a necessity for businesses that want to stay in business.

In response to coronavirus, we have witnessed some central banks cutting interest rates with US Federal reserve cutting 0.5% and followed by central banks in the Gulf using 50 basis points interest rates cut as an emergency response to coronavirus.

The reality is that, business leaders will have to think hard about business continuity in the context of cloud-based solutions and artificial intelligence. Measures should be put in-place to ensure core functions are not severely impacted by any act of disaster. Business leaders will have to embrace technology as a solution and also a mitigation plan to major business disruptions.

This is the era where business is to keep other businesses in business. In this digital age, solutions such as performance management and cloud-based payroll systems will become more important than ever. Managers and executives should still be able to manage the performance of employees and pay employees from anywhere in the world. It is time for busineses to offer offers cloud-based performance management system, HR system and Payroll etc. 

The systems need  to have strong focus on analytics, so that  managers and executives to be able to use the information in the system to make effective decisions based on real-time information. Another important aspect that system focuses on, is compliance. In any evolutionary process it is through adapatation that we adjust to new environments or to changes in these current environment. Change we cannot resist but it must be embraced.


Lita Mbokotho is the co-founder and Chairman of Ornecy. He is an entrepreneur with interests ranging from corporate finance to telecommunication and software development. He is very passionate about youth development and empowerment.