TCS: the benefits of strategic consultants amidst COVID-19

By Georgia Wilson
Business Chief APAC speaks to TCS on developing an effective business strategy and the impact of COVID-19...

Working alongside organisations in multiple business functions to identify ways to evolve their business and processes, “a strategy consultant is an independent expert whose role is to advise, guide and support an organisation through a period of change,” comments Dave Jordan, Global Head, Consulting & Services Integration at TCS. “Due to their impartiality, a strategy consultant can see the bigger picture, advise on opportunities, potential roadblocks and changes in an objective manner and bring in best practice guidance from the wider industry,” enabling organisations to enable growth, unlock new revenue models, open up avenues for innovation or optimise the existing landscape to uncover new efficiencies.

When it comes to developing a business strategy, Jordan explains that “an effective strategy is one that addresses an organisation’s stakeholders’ unique needs and helps them stay true to their purpose. This includes leveraging established and emerging technology providers, spotting trends early, and investing in the latest innovations to create value for all stakeholders.” At its core, Jordan further explains that TCS’ strategy is customer-centricity, with a focus on purpose and shared value. “We recognise that no two enterprises or businesses are the same – from the purpose they drive to the people they work with. We work closely with customers and use our contextual knowledge of their business to offer bespoke business services and technology solutions. We see our role as that of trusted partner, strategic business advisor and technology consultant. Ensuring a consultant establishes this business and consultant partnership is vital for developing an effective, ongoing business strategy.”

The impact of COVID-19 for the strategic consulting industry

Reflecting on the current impact of COVID-19, Jordan believes that “the COVID-19 pandemic has affected every single one of us and in every walk of business. Strategic consultants have had to be agile in their responsiveness, identifying short term trends that can deliver immediate business continuity and aid recovery, while retaining focus on the long term horizon, where highly adaptive companies and individuals will be the big winners in the race to become part of the new generation of essential businesses,” comments Jordan. “Just like the banks revolutionised in the 1990s and 2000s, competitive success will demand more than simply picking the most obvious decision in the now. Speed is key to success, but only if the result is a strategically aligned and collaborative model, enabled by highly integrated, streamlined systems and infrastructure.”

One of the major benefits that Jordan sees in employing the services of a strategy consultant is their ability to remain objective and impartial in front of a business’s adversity and potentially difficult personnel decisions for the future. He explains: “A strategy consultant is able to analyse the overall structure of the company and identify cost-saving areas and ways to make processes more efficient; whether that is through innovative technology or new procedures and ways of working.” Due to this impartiality “an organisation can be confident that these recommendations are in the best interests of the overall business. Strategy consultants can also shepherd the organisation through complex change management exercises, to ensure successful outcomes.”

When it comes to providing this support following the outbreak of COVID-19, Jordan highlights that the current global pandemic is an excellent example of where strategy consultancy can be beneficial for both global conglomerates and small to medium size enterprises. “In just a few short months COVID-19 has changed the world. The pandemic has had a worldwide impact, creating a ‘new normal’ unlike anything most of us have experienced in our lifetimes. This new reality has presented organisations with endless challenges and causes for concern. However, there are new opportunities emerging from this pandemic. A strategy consultant is able to identify these opportunities. They’re able to understand that every business should be revising its thinking on what makes its business ‘essential’ to consumers, what operational processes and systems are ‘essential’ to deliver customer value, and what can be done to establish a reasonable price point and margin that encourages customers to part with less abundant income to purchases its ‘essential’ goods and services. A strategy consultant has the ability to look at the situation from a purely objective point of view and advise on the best next steps.”

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Jordan has seen multiple trends emerge. “The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed us into a new work order that is rendering obsolete age-old concepts such as location dependency; defined and fixed working hours; high-touch governance; and presenteeism as a prerequisite to optimal productivity. This will see the dawn of the distributed model.” One key feature Jordan has seen emerge is “Talent Clouds, a concept that pairs a business’s talent needs with people based anywhere in the world. This paves the way for organisations to derive exponential value through maximising opportunities and embracing risk. Keeping this model in mind will be essential for strategic consultants as they begin to guide organisations through the new world order.” Other trends seen within the industry include sustainable businesses. “A great track record in running a business is no guarantee of success in adapting or transforming the business,” comments Jordan “Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, continuously sustaining business relevance and financial viability has been a challenge in a technology-driven, ultra-competitive global marketplace. COVID-19 has seen a proliferation of unconventional ecosystem models, turning competitors into collaborators and creating opportunities for co-innovation. Digital transformation programs that had finite timelines are now being moved to perpetual transformation models – where enterprises embrace constant transformation to realise incremental value through agile implementations. To make the reward worth the risk, it’s important to ensure a company has effective integration and separation plans that quickly convert strategy into tangible results. This has become increasingly important as we look to recover from this pandemic.”

Given the unpredictable nature of the virus, Jordan concludes that it is difficult to pronounce definite economic and industry outcomes in the future. “But directionally, it is clear that organisations and individuals need to gear up for a period of fluidity in the new normal. Although current, short term needs have shifted, organisations need to continue building upon their strong digital technology foundations to pursue certain economic behaviours. These include a focus on purpose-centricity with near term adaptability and resilience delivered through a strong digital foundation.”

For more information on business topics in Asia Pacific, Australia and New Zealand, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief APAC.

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