I have often heard the term “The New Normal” used in various ways resulting from these unprecedented times.  Whenever something impacts us universally, we often see the change that impacts humanity in many profound ways.  The cost to humanity is unconscionable.  However, positive change has resulted from past wars and disasters. Challenging times also accelerate innovation. Most recently, the innovation from Abbott Labs to produce tests that give Corona Virus results in just 13 minutes is exactly the change we need right now.  We are continually living The New Normal in real-time, not just now, from the dawn of humanity. 

Not only do people experience The New Normal, businesses experience The New Normal too.  What will be the new ways of working resulting from the lessons learned from our current health crisis?   As it relates to businesses and technology that I am familiar with, this is what I believe will be part of the New Normal. 

The social aspects of business meetings, greetings, and interaction will forever be changed.  Handshakes may be replaced by an elbow raise, air-fist-bump, or merely a smile and a nod.  Workers who can work remotely will probably prefer to do so, resulting in diminishing on-site office attendance which may lead to reduced office space.  Virtual meetings may lessen the need to commute or travel.  Could this scenario lead to a reduction in greenhouse gases?  Perhaps all this social distancing will aid with population health by helping to combat the spread of the flu or common cold.  Under this scenario, we could see lower health care costs and increase productivity.

Businesses will take inventory of all people, processes, and technologies.  Business Continuity Plans will be updated or created for those organizations that have not crafted them.  This includes updating documentation, process flows, detail architecture drawings, remote access, and disaster recovery plans.  However, this is not enough.  Once these plans are updated, a business must run simulations to see if their systems hold up under duress. 

Networks will be bolstered to support more remote access capabilities.  Security will need to be addressed as the organization will need to support a more significant number of remote access not only for their employees, but, sub-contractors, consultants, and other third-party needs.

Mass adaption to Cloud applications to replace legacy systems such as for ERP, CRM, HCM, SCM, EPM, and Analytics/Reporting platforms will provide organizations with the flexibility to support the remote workforce without high-cost data center and support staff. 

In some respects, the Cloud is somewhat a savior during this medical and financial crisis; without Cloud, the impacts to our socio-economic paradigms could be even worse. 

Capturing workflow and implementing workflow applications will provide the confidence that processes and procedures will not be missed, mitigating risk in a variety of areas. 

Machine learning and artificial intelligence will be incorporated into cash flow modeling, scenario analysis, including disaster scenario analysis, what-if sandboxing processes.  Organizations are seeing changing conditions by the day and even hour, processes developed in Excel or other de-centralized platforms will not keep up with the demand to produce these crucial analytics for decision support. 

Robotic Process Automation (RPA), automated movement, data capture, and preparation, and other automation techniques will replace or drastically reduce manual processes.

New technologies will emerge from this pandemic that will better prepare us for the next situation and hopefully, reduce sickness and death. 

The New Normal will indeed change the way we see people, processes, and technologies. 

Our first mission is to protect the health of our population.  Once we get through this together, we can then look at improvement initiatives to better prepare for the next New Normal.

Stay safe and healthy. 

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