The current pandemic crisis has amplified and accelerated systemic changes most of which were already apparent but not being given due attention due to the focus of business leaders on their daily whirlwinds. These macro trends now require immediate attention as leaders need to balance short-term priorities with specific long-term plans to be able to come out amongst the winners in the near future.
Are there significant opportunities waiting to be explored & exploited?
We briefly highlight what’s evolving in a multitude of domains, each interdependent in some way and having a major impact on the business going forward:

Economic Growth
  • What would be the shape of economic recovery? Will it be a drawn-out U shaped or multi-dip recovery? Scenario planning can help prepare alternative plans to tackle this uncertainty.
  • There are some sectors that are already doing well (Pharma, E-commerce, IT...) while many others have started to recover to pre-Covid levels – how can these be exploited?
  • The government’s investment focus for stimulating the economy as well as consumer sentiments need to be closely monitored for changing behaviors.
  • The pandemic induced migration of workers has shifted the focus to rural economy for now. The inclusion of ‘bottom-of-pyramid’ into mainstream presents significant opportunities as being witnessed in FMCG, Telecom and Healthcare.
  • Digital transformation is accelerating across businesses backed by various technologies like Artificial intelligence, IoT, Robotics, 5G, and Augmented Reality to deliver unique customer Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella recently said “We have seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”, a view supported by majority of global CEOs.
  • Changing customer preferences of reduced face to face contact call for further innovation of remote offerings across customer’s decision journey.
  • Connected living brings forth new opportunities across home & work areas. The smart home market in India is expected to surpass USD 9.0 billion by 2025.
  • Increased levels of electrification will continue due to continuous deployment of IT-related loads and growing urbanization requiring associated infrastructure and end use products & services.
  • Climate change risks are gaining awareness rapidly. Transition to Renewable energy with a 175 GW target by 2022 & Energy Storage (a USD 4.2 billion market by 2026) is increasing at a rapid pace.
  • Growing focus of customers on Energy efficiency thru efficient buildings and industry initiatives to realize energy & cost savings.
  • All major companies are embarking on Sustainability goals to co-create a brighter future and pursuing Circular Economy models as a source of competitive advantage.
  • Electric vehicles and associated ecosystem will gain further ground supported by government’s FAME II program with a USD 1.4 billion outlay.
  • The growing tensions between countries will alter the supply chain mechanism promoting more nationalism across certain sectors e.g ‘Make in India’ initiative
  • Regionalization would be a preferred outcome amidst some level of deglobalization, affecting local manufacturing & import strategies. Recent FTA’s being pursued by India with EU, Japan & Asean countries and discussions under RCEP is a testimony to this.
  • The societal upheaval due to this pandemic will last for years and is yet to fully unfold. Wealth redistribution and inequality are strong forces to contend with.
  • Labour substitution by robots & intelligent machines is already becoming a reality provoking structural change.
  • In addition, changing demographics e.g. growing middle class, would need a different approach to business, both to serve as customers & employ.

The questions for Leaders to reflect upon to help calibrate their responses include:

  1. 1. Which of these macro trends impact our business most, in what ways and what can be done to prepare our organization for them?
  2. 2. What long-held assumptions would we need to explicitly reset with all our stakeholders to achieve this?
  3. 3. What Strategic & Business model changes would position our company for sustained growth?
  4. 4. What purposeful actions will allow us to profitably tap the opportunities within these new realities?

The above provides only a broad picture of what to expect in the near future. However, success will depend upon a detailed analysis & action plan to address the implications effectively, as every company needs to embrace new ways of doing business in the new normal.