Disaster planning top priority for India Inc

MUMBAI: Disaster planning for business continuity and survival has emerged as the top priority for organisations as recovery from Covid-19 is expected to take longer than what was earlier envisaged. In a survey by Executive Access India conducted exclusively for TOI, a majority (65%) of senior executives said they are expected to incorporate such changes for business continuity, while 59% said the way people work will change.

The survey was conducted among approximately 200 executives from across industries, 35% of them being CEOs.

Executive Access India managing director Ronesh Puri said, “Business continuity and survival appear to be the top most priority. Some organisations had business continuity plans regularly updated, but few anticipated the quantum and magnitude of Covid-19. Working contingency plans for various scenarios seem to be the priority. However, in private, a number of organisations confess that this will be a huge challenge as planners do not know how much will the consumer change and for what duration.”


Although respondents were optimistic about the time frame of recovery from the coronavirus crisis, with 35% citing around two quarters and 61% assuming business will be back to normal within three quarters at the most, a fifth believe it might take more than one year. However, a significant majority of 91% respondents said the crisis will have a long-term impact on the way their organisation does business.

KPMG India chairman & CEO Arun M Kumar said, “In the immediate term, uncertainty is likely to remain elevated. The economic impact could be broader than anything seen in the past — both globally and in India. The recovery in India is expected to be smoother than some of the other major western economies.” Kumar said there’s interest among businesses in protecting revenues, preserving value and business continuity planning, among other aspects.

Fears about the external economic threats are coupled with the perceived impact of the Covid-19 crisis on the financial performance of the organisation. As many as 73% of the sample estimate an impact of 10-40% on the top line, while 57% estimate an impact of 10-40% on the bottom line.

Tarun Rai, chairman & group CEO of Wunderman Thompson, South Asia, said, “In my discussions with many of our clients, the question on people’s minds is whether the recovery will be V-shaped or a longer U-shaped one, and the consensus seems to be on the latter. However, most are hopeful that the year is not lost and we have time to recover in the second half to catch the festive season.”

Rai said Covid-19 will have a long-term impact on the way business is conducted. “From de-risking of supply chains to a renewed focus on e-commerce, more automised production…there will certainly be a ‘new normal’ in various aspects of business in the post-Covid world,” Rai said. Additionally, 73% said right-sizing would be the biggest impact of Covid-19 on talent management, according to the survey’s findings.

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