What technologies are companies using to manage the operational impacts of the coronavirus pandemic? Maintaining business continuity in the face of the shocks and shakeups everyone is experiencing has demanded new tactics. How have tech tools figured in that?
To find out, we conducted a survey of global companies who use Mitratech solutions. The results may not present huge surprises, since many companies are living through similar challenges, and some tech tools are more pervasive than others. But it’s a good illustration of the measures companies are taking to cope with the crisis, and it’ll be interesting to see if these change over time.
Each country, even each state or province, has had different, rapidly moving guidelines and requirements for handling the coronavirus crisis. So we wanted to illuminate how companies were immediately dealing with the impacts of shifting to Work-from-Home strategies or changing other ways of doing business.
First, a few words about our respondents: While the largest share of them are in Legal Operations, the majority are spread across other corporate departments, from Risk & Compliance through Human Resources, Procurement, IT and more.
Over half worked in units with under 25 staffers, but there were many others working in units of over 250. So our survey embraced a fairly wide spectrum of disciplines and departments.
The first question we asked sounds almost painfully obvious: Have your department operations had to change under the threat of the coronavirus? Yet in light of the media frenzy and general sense of disruption around the outbreak, it was mildly surprising to see that anyone, let alone a quarter of respondents, said it hadn’t affected them yet.
Respondents’ biggest concern in terms of managing their departments? As you might expect, it’s how they’ll handle current workloads during the outbreak.
The survey allowed people to write in any additional answers, and some of the other concerns mentioned included maintaining employee morale/mental health, checking physical mail by visiting the office, missing work by being ill, and caring for the sick.
What initial steps did they take?
What were the early measures being taken by these businesses to respond to the pandemic? The most prevalent was to put together work-from-home initiatives (96%), attending to office/facility hygiene and conducting cleanings (73%), implementing travel restrictions (72%) and encouraging the use of remote collaboration tools (71%).
Some of these measures, such as use of the intranet or incident hotlines, may grow in usage over time as companies embrace more ways of staying connected with remote workforces.
What technologies have they turned to?
The top three technology tools being utilized now that remote working is the order of the day and face-to-face meetings are – at least temporarily – a thing of the past? Teleconferencing takes first place (89%), followed by intranet use (67%), and collaboration tools like Slack and MS Teams (46%). Many companies are using a combination of multiple tools, of course. Use of some – such as Travel Management (28%) – may decline, while the need for others, like automated Policy Management (11%) may increase.
Workflow automation is being employed by 27% of respondents. We expect that number to grow, too, as more of them realize its business value for improving collaboration and allowing them to accelerate urgent responses to COVID-19-related demands, such as for automating employee health checks and other key tasks. Plus, we’ve begun to offer free use of our own workflow automation solution and coronavirus-focused workflows to anyone who needs them, regardless of whether or not they’re a current client.