Sarath Shyam

In India, over 10,000 companies were shut down voluntarily from April 2020 till February this year. Except for a few sectors like EdTech, pharmaceutical and medical devices, almost all the sectors have been adversely impacted as domestic demand and exports sharply dropped. Statistically, almost 80% of Indian companies have witnessed cash flow difficulty and over 50% of companies faced operations issues. Looking at the large-scale disruption due to the pandemic, we can confirm that the ongoing slump is fundamentally different from recessions. Many experts believe that the sudden shrinkage in demand and increased unemployment will alter the business landscape. To sustain in these murky waters, companies need to implement different ways of conducting business that includes, shift towards localization, cash conservation, supply chain resilience and innovation.

The discussion on the issue of business sustainability is not new. However, since the outbreak of COVID-19, the business community has been keen to know more about the centrality of sustainability for business resilience. New research from the IBM Institute for Business Value shows that industry leaders are now prioritizing competencies in crisis management, enterprise agility, cost management, workforce resiliency, innovation, or cash-flow management as critically important to their business. It also claims that we should expect another huge shift in prioritization in the next two years, as executives plan to emphasize workforce safety and security, cost management, and enterprise agility.

As CXOs struggle to make sense of the post-COVID business environment, we have come up with a special issue where we have collated insights and options of leaders and experts on business sustainability. We hope that our efforts to bring these insightful articles will help our readers to understand pandemic-induced changes in strategy, management, operations, and budgetary priorities that are here to stay.

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