How to Future-Proof Your Business

May 19, 2020

Necessity breeds innovation. But that doesn’t make preparation a thing of the past.  

At Chicago companies Aptitive, Devbridge and SDI Presence, tech leaders have learned to make decisions based on long-term outcomes while remaining nimble in the face of COVID-19. The following executives shared how their teams have reassessed employee engagement roadmaps and adjusted hiring processes — or why they haven’t. 

“Top talent will always be in demand, regardless of the economic cycle,” Aptitive CEO Paul Corning said.  

By being agile, providing employees with new resources, and zeroing in on the fundamentals of their businesses, these three companies are weathering the current economic climate while preparing for what’s to come.

Devbridge
Devbridge

“This too shall pass.” 

It’s a mindset that Aptitive CEO Paul Corning said he believes will help his team both personally and professionally as they get through these unprecedented times. At the IT consulting firm, Corning thinks long-term when considering new company partnerships, nurturing existing client relationships and walking into product brainstorming sessions.  

 

Pre-COVID-19, what was a key strategy or plan you put in place to future-proof your business?

At Aptitive, we make decisions based on long-term outcomes and results. We hire and promote only the best data engineering and analytics consultants. Top talent will always be in demand, regardless of the economic cycle. We only work closely on solutions that we believe will be in demand for the long-term. Lastly, we seek out clients with whom we can build trusted relationships. 

 

How is that strategy paying off for you now? 

It is difficult to win the trust of new clients at this time due to the current pandemic. So maintaining that trust with our current clients is crucial to staying busy through this cycle. Our team of analytics consultants helps maintain morale and motivation as we all work remotely. Our consultants know that we have a long-term mindset, which I believe helps them see our strength through some challenging economic conditions. 

Our team of analytics consultants helps maintain morale and motivation as we all work remotely.’’

What’​​​​​​​s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this experience, and how do you hope to apply it to your business moving forward?

We can all be more agile. As a country, our economic output cratered in a short time due to this virus, affecting millions of jobs and challenging many companies. All of Aptitive’s growth plans and annual plans for 2020 are now out of date. But our ability to be flexible will determine how quickly we recover and how we respond. 

 

Sharee Wolff
Chief Financial Officer

At IT consulting and managed services firm SDI Presence, leadership focused on employee well-being long before the pandemic hit, but now they are doubling down on engagement efforts. Chief Financial Officer Sharee Wolff said updating the employee engagement program has been a top priority. It provides team members with resources for stress relief, education and even a bit of healthy competition. 

 

Pre-COVID-19, what was a key strategy or plan you put in place to future-proof your business?

Years prior to COVID-19, SDI had already identified the well-being of our employees as strategic to our firm’s continued success. We incorporated significant wellness programming in SDItopia, the firm’s overall employee engagement program. 

Each year, SDI sponsors a calendar of wellness events including fitness, meditation and financial planning. Prior to COVID-19, SDItopia’s wellness events had a high participation rate and promoted team socialization. 

Each year, SDI sponsors a calendar of wellness events including fitness, meditation and financial planning.’’ 

How is that strategy paying off for you now?

Our employees know that they can rely on the strong connectivity and wellness resources built within our firm. Employees participate in team yoga, cooking classes, COVID-19-oriented financial planning lessons, themed weekly, virtual happy hours and team trivia contests. I receive regular feedback that our SDItopia wellness program has been a consistent source of connectivity, education and entertainment during these distanced times.

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this experience, and how do you hope to apply it to your business moving forward?  

Building resiliency into the culture and support systems is key for running our business.

 

Elijah Chang
VP of Products and Services

In light of the current pandemic, Elijah Chang’s team at Devbridge is focused on getting software design and development projects across the finish line. The VP of products and services said he sees growth in their clients’ future, a trajectory that he hopes the B2B company can contribute to. 

 

Pre-COVID-19, what was a key strategy or plan you put in place to future-proof your business? 

At Devbridge, we focus on developing relationships with larger enterprise organizations to provide services that are fundamentally part of people’s everyday lives. While many of these businesses aren’t as well-known, the work that we do is often core to their operations.

As we all weather the current situation, we continue to invest in our clients’ future growth.’’  

How is that strategy paying off for you now?

As we all weather the current situation, we continue to invest in our clients’ future growth. Our clients tend to be part of logistics, healthcare and financial services industries. The impact that COVID-19 has had on them has been manageable in a way that allows us to remain stable as an organization. 

 

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from this experience, and how do you hope to apply it to your business moving forward? 

As an organization, we focus on finishing projects. We’ve navigated the current crisis by zeroing in on the core fundamentals of our business and limiting distractions. As we continue to grow, prioritizing core functionalities will be critical. 

 

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