With the world media whipped up in a frenzy over the coronavirus, or COVID-19, there is a lot of misinformation and sensationalism swirling around the virus. Make no mistake, the situation is serious, and everyone should take the precautions recommended by health officials. Beyond that, what can businesses do to stay on track during such a volatile time? It’s clear that this global pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on global markets and supply chains. To provide a little context, we thought we would share a few trusted views on the virus and how enterprises can safely and prudently conduct business in 2020.

Impacts to the supply chain

From Gartner.com:

“The consequences of a pandemic event are hard to predict,” says Koray Köse, Senior Director Analyst, Gartner. “However, the risks always exist and are augmented with further globalization and integration of supply chains. It is not a matter of if it will happen but to change the focus to be prepared when it happens. That is a shift of mindset in risk management and business continuity.”

Read more from Koray in this article by Sarah Hippold on Gartner, which goes on to list how the virus could impact supply chains:

“Though it is difficult to predict the exact consequences of coronavirus, organizations might begin to see impacts across the supply chain, including:

  • Materials: Supply shortages of materials or finished goods coming from or routed through logistical hubs in impacted areas.
  • Labor: White- and blue-collar labor may not be available due to quarantine guidelines or illness.
  • Sourcing: Travel may be restricted to certain areas, limiting the ability to discover, qualify and certify new business or programs and to transact business.
  • Logistics: Established hubs and supply networks may experience limitations in capacity and availability so that even if materials are available, they would be stuck elsewhere. Finding alternative routes and means of transportation will become difficult.
  • Consumers: Consumers may be more cautious in their purchasing habits due to fears about being in public and potential exposure to the virus. Many may turn to online sales, challenging logistics networks.”

Read the article to learn how Gartner suggests to prepare and take action against major supply chain disruptions like this one.

Minimizing risk to supply organizations

From SpendMatters.com:

On their blog, the Spend Matters Team outlines several best practices including permitting staff to work from home, conducting more virtual meetings, and more. The article also lists ways to minimize risk to supply organizations, including:

  • Ensure force majeure clauses are in place and sufficient
  • Complete disaster recovery plans and tests to ensure business continuity
  • Keep all processes compliant with regulatory requirements
  • Keep track of all travel of people and product

Read more on SpendMatters.com.

What IT and technology business pros need to know

From TechRepublic.com:

In this article from Natalie Eckerle on TechRepublic, the tech industry publisher has gone all-in on news and tips on how IT organizations and tech companies can limit impacts from coronavirus. From which tech conferences have been rescheduled to tips to working from home, the article does a deep dive in all tech news related to the pandemic.

We are particularly interested in the section titled “Coronavirus: The impact on cybersecurity” where Natalie lists emerging cybersecurity threats, including corona virus-themed domain names, phishing emails, and malware.

TechRepublic also lists their “Critical IT policies and tools every business needs” written to help businesses adapt to more remote work, outline VPN policies, and complete IT disaster recovery plans.

Support technology firms and conference providers

From Jason Busch, Founder of Azul Partners, Spend Matters:

One of the biggest impacts we’re yet to see quantified is the cancellation of technology conferences and other events in the typically busy spring season. For many in the industry, including vendors, customers, analysts, and especially event organizers, spring is an important time to make sales, acquire products, and foster new partnerships. With events cancelled or rescheduled, the impact will be substantial. In response to the cancellation of spring procurement events, Jason Busch writes on SpendMatters.com:

“In the meantime, please join me in supporting all the technology firms and conference providers in this time of uncertainty. It is important to stand by the providers and independent membership and events businesses in this market that give so much to the industry.

And it is during black swan events like this that, hopefully, the good can come out in people who take so much from the relationships they develop at these events. Not a single relationship should be seen as transactional by procurement/finance organizations or sponsors alike. These are our partners in networking, learning, thought leadership, training/education and much more in serving the industry.

Stand by them and take the long view. Things may go digital for the next couple of months by necessity (in part or in whole), but relationships are never forged or maintained in a virtual world alone.”

By taking in the long view and taking care of each other and ourselves we will all weather this crisis. In the meantime, all of us here at Agiloft will remain committed to our mission of providing flexible business solutions that help clients scale and adapt quickly.