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COVID-19: Corporates begin execution of Business Continuity models

Amidst the concern over corporate performance and the macroeconomic impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, corporate organisations are now implementing various Business Continuity models.

Financial Vanguard investigations have revealed that key corporate institutions are now restructuring their business models to create more resilient operations, less vulnerable to any form of restriction to formal office settings and workstations. They are headed towards institutionalizing work-from-home or virtual office, while seamlessly interfacing with customers and creating more value at less cost.

A top executive in one of the tier-1 banks told Financial Vanguard that the big blow on businesses following the involuntary shutdown of operations had made it imperative for the business continuity frameworks to run its full course even at the post COVID-19 era.

In its latest advisory report titled, “COVID-19: A Business Impact Series”, KPMG, a global accounting and management giant, had stated: “The rapid outbreak of the COVID-19 presents an alarming health crisis that the world is grappling with. In addition to the human impact, there is also significant economic, business and commercial impact being felt globally. As viruses know no borders, the impacts will continue to spread. In fact, 94 percent of the Fortune 1000 across the globe, and businesses in Nigeria have been impacted and are already seeing COVID-19 disruptions.

“We expect that the COVID-19 threat will eventually fade, as the Ebola, Zika, and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) viruses have in recent years. However, social-economic impact will still be felt long after virus fades.”

The series gave some focal points to help businesses understand exposure to COVID-19, and position to be resilient in the face of this and the next global threat.

Some of the KPMG considerations for corporate include, a customer-first approach, cyber and fraud risk vigilance, going concern considerations, employee reward reviews amongst others.

In line with theses considerations, most banks and other corporate have already taken some steps to sustain there businesses and continue to create value for the stakeholders both within the COVID-19 and in post-COVID environment.

Financial Vanguard investigations show that Access Bank, for instance has created a resilient business continuity model cutting across digital banking, job security and customer satisfaction.

On digitization, many other banks are pushing a lot of their transactions to electronic channels for convenience, speed and efficiency.

Industry analysts are of the view that every right thinking bank needs to leverage on technology to do more as many banks’ branches will remain closed for longer time.

Consequently, and in line with its customer satisfaction program within the COVID-19 environment, Access Bank is set to roll out ‘Access Closa’ outlets being planned for six Nigerian cities. A source close to the bank said, “It is part of its commitment to increase access to banking services in communities across the country to meet consumer needs. The ‘Access Closa’ is a timely intervention to mitigate the effect of restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This comes against the backdrop of industry feelers that the new guidelines for COVID-19 which include social distancing among others will lead to some bank branches temporarily or permanently shutting down. Industry experts say, this means that banks need to adopt creative ways to meet customer needs despite the limitations, indicating that Access Bank is thinking ahead with initiatives like “Closa” as one of the many ways it intends to meet customers’ needs.

On job security, the industry experts have said that it is inevitable for job losses to occur as a result of the new way of work. They said jobs will still be created but with new skills adapted for the workplace of the future. Access Bank is already thinking in this direction and is taking proactive steps to stay on top in the financial sector.

Banks like Access Bank have seen this early and identified that this is the new normal, people who want to remain in employment have to get to the top of their game.

Industry analysts are of the opinion that job requirements are changing and could potentially mean that those who do not move with the times would be left behind.

Besides, job requirements, they added, are changing and could potentially mean that those who do not move with the times would be left behind because the new normal would call for a different kind of output and skills.

Speaking further on Access Bank’s positioning for the new work environment, the source close to the bank said, “There is no doubt that COVID-19 has made digitalisation of work more paramount now than ever before. It would in fact define how work in the future would look like. Access Bank is pushing the frontiers in this directions and prioritizing its digital operations

“As the COVID-19 pandemic changes the way we work, there are already calls for specialization especially in the digital area. Access Bank is already preparing its people with skills set to meet the new normal”, it concluded

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