Rethink Conference: Three key takeaways

December 08, 2020

The inaugural Rethink Virtual Conference covered many relevant topics including our interesting new digital economist tool (BDO Beagle), changing consumer behaviour, and the shifting economic landscape. While presenters provided a lot of great information, there is still so much more to explore. This article summarizes the three key takeaways from the Rethink Conference.

1. AI for building resiliency and growth

AI will be a differentiator as companies emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Within this crisis, there's an AI lesson for organizations — businesses can learn to utilize AI as they plan for a new normal. AI will be important for planning and BDO Beagle can help forecast the growth, recovery, and GDP for your industry since it tracks economic indicators. The dashboard focuses on four key industries to help you prepare, plan, and grow. Learn more about BDO Beagle today.

Some companies have looked to AI for modeling supply chains and used AI to respond with agility when sourcing, producing, and shipping their products. The manufacturers that integrated AI into their operations before the pandemic are in a better position to respond and adapt. Under the current unpredictable conditions, businesses can forecast possible outcomes in the future. They can model different scenarios and test possible responses.

AI is well known for its abilities as a recommendation engine. With the pandemic, government bodies can use recommendation engines to provide the public with critical facts. Canadians visit government sites 24 hours per day, requesting information on topics like how to access treatment and government financial programs. AI returns that information faster — at a time when Canadians need it most.

With AI in place, organizations can improve efficiency, save money, and reduce delays for customers. Once COVID-19 recedes, organizations will continue to increase their data use, AI, and machine learning to automate the routing process.

2. Leadership in times of turbulence

Leaders are programmed to fix problems, but you need to refill your tank, especially during tough times. It's difficult to lead a team if you're overworked and exhausted. As a leader, you have to be strong, but also must come from a place of kindness. Kindness starts with being kind to yourself, taking care, and acknowledging all the parts of your experience as a human being — mind, body, and spirit.

You need to adapt and learn to lead in chaotic times. It's a leader's role to find a path forward to achieve the organization's purpose, no matter what happens. Early on in the pandemic, David Patchell-Evans decided to take time to think, be creative, learn, and upgrade his skills. He decided to wake up two hours earlier to read, meditate, stretch, and write in a journal.

Investing in his own mental and physical health allowed him to replenish his strength to lead the organization. People need leaders right now — take care of yourself and invest in your own well-being so you can take care of your team. Read more about resiliency strategies.

3. Protecting data and customers

While technology plays a key role in transforming business processes, it is also one of the main drivers for fraud. There is a domino effect when a business is hacked as it can affect customers. Hackers who have stolen the data from those businesses can swindle customers, thereby causing harm for both the business and their customers. In an environment where customer loyalty and retention is at an all time high, privacy and security need to be a priority.

Data is powerful and technology has made it very easy for users to access what they want using smart devices. However, technology has also made data vulnerable to theft. If you're operating in the digital world today, you will have a cyber-incident and it's important to be prepared for the breach.

These four steps can help protect your organization:

  1. Provide security awareness training to employees regularly. Keep employees updated with the latest breaches, hacks, and potential fraud.
  2. Perform a technical assessment, run vulnerability scans, a pen test, and a configuration review.
  3. Ensure you have a vendor management program in place with the appropriate controls to onboard and off-board the vendors.
  4. Conduct a cybersecurity risk assessment. There are many different control frameworks available and professional firms can help identify the correct controls for your business depending on the size, skill, and the type of data you're trying to protect.

Reach out to BDO

As digital innovation continues to advance, businesses need to adapt to keep up. Reach out to BDO if you're interested in learning how a digital transformation can help your business build resiliency and optimize growth.

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