More COVID-19 impact – the age of agility

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Get-shit-done-The one thing I vividly remember from my first few days as an audit rookie at PwC was a class where the instructor said “never forget – an internal control should deliver more savings than the burden it puts on a process. If it does not, don’t be pedantic. Let it pass”

I did not stay on the audit side for long, but over the years I have seen SOX, HIPAA, GDPR and many other compliance-oriented acronyms forget that simple guidance and the cost-benefit lens. As a result, while well-intentioned, they have slowed down innovation, made processes complex, cumbersome – and slow.

A wise man once wrote “Many of our job designs, work flows, control mechanisms, and organizational structures came of age in a different competitive environment and before the advent of the computer. They are geared toward efficiency and control. Yet the watchwords of the new decade are innovation and speed, service and quality.” That wise man was the late Dr. Michael Hammer. He wrote that in 1990.

Three decades later, it is taking a disaster for us to say – screw old thinking and change old laws. Just do it! I wrote about agile manufacturing and rejigged supply chains last week. Here is this week’s installment.

Fedex is running its Memphis hub like a military base on high alert. Countless distilleries are now re-purposing their alcohol to make hand sanitizers. Sysco which has traditionally focused on the food service industry (restaurants, hotels) is shifting its vast supply chain to stock grocery stores. Carnival is offering its cruise ships to be turned into floating hospitals The Navy is already preparing to deploy its floating hospitals, the Mercy and Comfort.

3M is doubling production of its N95 respirator masks. Nike is looking at making protective equipment for healthcare workers.

Siemens and Aucma developed in just one week, from design to sample production, intelligent disinfection robots which have joined the battle against the virus in hospitals.

Medicare did not previously cover telemedicine. At least for this crisis it will. Also HIPAA rules for telehealth will be relaxed. This will be useful to limit exposure and free up hospital capacity.

A couple of startups are trying to reduce two annoying occurrences in US healthcare, made worse during this crisis. Yosi is trying to eliminate the countless paper forms you fill every time you go to a clinic. Navimize is trying to eliminate the doctor’s waiting room – saving you time and allowing for social distancing.

I have heard of countless companies whose IT was well prepared for a work from home scenario, and many others which have struggled. Guess what – that is going to be a critical element of business continuity plans going forward.

Jason Perlow writes at ZDNet “Previous privacy concerns about revealing our whereabouts and tracking for the sake of convenience will give way to how best to service a population with a demand for goods and services while still maintaining social distancing requirements.” and ” With a home-based work population, the regular, 9 to 5 business days are likely to shift to more flexible working days, and a more significant segment of the workforce is expected to become “night people” and have off-hours and rest during the daytime while others are working.”

Finally, listen to Lt. Gen Todd T. Semonite, commander of Army Corps of Engineers discuss in video below plans to quickly convert hotel and college dormitory rooms into ICU-like units. He talks about “super-simple” and “good enough” solutions to an “unbelievably complicated” problem.

Just do it!

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(Cross-posted @ Deal Architect)

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