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Pandemic: The 5 stages of recovery and growth for midsize companies and how to boost them:
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Pandemic: The 5 stages of recovery and growth for midsize companies and how to boost them

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that technology is an essential and integral part of companies of all sizes and industries. A phenomenon that caused…

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The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us that technology is an essential and integral part of companies of all sizes and industries. A phenomenon that caused several changes in how this asset is seen, especially in organizations that were in the middle or at the beginning of the path to digital transformation: medium-sized companies.

The tech leaders and IT departments of these businesses, who until then were not always involved in business discussions, were called to the center of strategy and corporate success. In return, they also needed to bring an increasingly holistic view of technologies and their potential for impact in business.

In May 2021, we participated as sponsors of the global event, “Midsize Enterprise Summit“, promoted by The Channel Co and IDC (International Data Corporation), the leading global provider of market intelligence, consulting services, and events for the technology segments of information, telecommunications, and consumer technology. There we could learn about new routes and trends for midsize companies.

Now, in this post, we will share with you: 

Facing the Covid-19 challenges 

We are living times of major turmoil and changes. The feeling of uncertainty about what future holds is making many companies ask themselves one question:

“What changes will last after the pandemic is over or eased?”

The fact is that the pandemic will mark the history of humanity and business as a turning point, and there’s no way to look further based on a model from the past.

Therefore, the future may seem uncertain, but the crisis that arrived in 2020 brings an exact forecast for organizations: transformation is not optional.

According to the “Covid-19 Digital Engagement Report” survey, the effects of the pandemic accelerated companies’ digital communication strategy by an average of 6 years, and well beyond the expansion of online channels: 97% of business decision-makers believe that the pandemic has generally accelerated the digital transformation of their companies.

In this context, the most important “to do” of any organization today is to map, structure, and integrate technologies to its key processes, in order to fill the gaps and create capacity for continuity, rapid adaptation, and recovery in any context without major losses.

Remember: exceptional leaders and decision-makers make their bets and investments looking to the future.

The 5 stages of recovery for midsize companies during and post-pandemic

We know that the urge for SMEs advancing in digital transformation must be balanced with the reality that most of them are struggling to keep up with this demand.

In addition, months of unexpected costs and possible declines in sales have impacted the cash flow of many organizations, making new investments need to be safe. However, in the context of the pandemic, the trade-off mindset is a requirement for recovery, sustainability and growth.

And that is why, no matter what stage your midsize company is in today, in terms of overcoming the economic impacts of the pandemic or digital maturity, this post will help you define a plan and possible ways to move forward now.

In the study presented by IDC, based on data provided by hundreds of medium-sized tech leaders from around the world. It was found that all of them face or will face these five stages, although at different rates of speed:

Stage 1: Beginning of the COVID-19 crisis / Focus: Business continuity

This stage deals with how companies reacted to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and is largely focused on enabling business continuity. However, here are the persistent effects of technological gaps and hyper-volatility that will become more and more normal.

Stage 2: Economic slowdown / Focus: Cost optimization

At this stage, business is slowing down and organizations are in cost optimization mode, where companies are looking for automation technologies that can help them manage their critical points or positively impact financial results for the current fiscal year.

Stage 3: Recession / Focus: Business Resilience

At this stage, organizations survived their greatest crisis during COVID-19. Their focus now is to never go through this again and to build resilient businesses – with the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, while maintaining its fundamental properties and central objective. This digital transformation advances and becomes the main focus going forward.

Stage 4: Return to growth / Focus: Targeted investments

At this stage, economic activity is returning to pre-crisis levels and companies are looking to invest more aggressively, but with a focus on technologies that enhance the organization’s digital capabilities.

The path of relevance within the digital economy becomes the great pursuit – a competitive journey, as at this stage all surviving companies are already at new technological levels.

Stage 5: The next normal & The Future enterprise

When organizations come out of this recession, they will be operating in a new type of economy – the next normal. This will be the beginning of the digital economy, with some new twists and turns as a result of COVID-19.

As we said, each company will go through each phase at its own pace, according to the actions taken in each one of them.

Companies that acted faster are now in the more advanced stages of recovery – and will use that advantage to accelerate their growth and business strategy.

Many companies are even aggressively pursuing acquisitions to try to address their gaps and become more complete.

The important thing here is to identify which stage of recovery your business is in and outline a plan to move forward, understanding and committing to the necessary actions in each of them.

The Covid-19 Impact Recovery Model for midsize companies

The recovery stage that each company is at is proportional to its efforts towards digital transformation. And vice versa!

Thus, each step will demand action: from the search for expansion of digital channels and the structuring of remote work to ensure business continuity. To a series of other movements to rebuild stability, return to growth and achieve the status of Future Enterprise.

You must keep in mind that if your company has ensured business continuity and moved to Phase 2: Economic Slowdown, but the efforts to integrate new technologies for automating critical operations and optimizing costs are not being done, you still have a problem.

Likewise, if the implementation of these technologies has already been completed, it is time to take the next step and use these and other resources in order to build your business resilience.

Which technologies are part of each stage?

According to the study carried out by IDC, with current world data on the forecast of acquisition of new technologies in companies of all sizes, we can see that these expectations are in line with the general needs created by the pandemic.

Thus, the priority of investments would be directly linked, first, to provide business continuity and enable teams to work remotely or in a hybrid manner safely.

Then, we have the spotlight on technologies to build business resilience, through better and safer IT infrastructures, scalability and automation of operations, and later, of processes.

Although this study does not show only numbers of midsize companies, IDC believes that the data represents them faithfully, as in other analyses, it was observed that after Covid-19, medium and large organizations are advancing at the same pace on the digital agenda.

Movements in the same direction on the planning and acquisition of new technologies by companies appear in the report “COVID-19: An inflection point for Industry 4.0“, by McKinsey:

According to the survey, the crisis also brought a change in priorities:

“Due to the unique circumstances of the pandemic, agility and flexibility in operations emerged as the main strategic priorities, above increasing productivity and minimizing costs, which used to be the main goal of most companies.”

Likewise, the technologies that enable remote work and collaboration are at the top of the list, with more than half of the participants working on projects in this area.

In second and third place there are technologies to assist in collaboration and visibility from beginning to end of the supply chain, reflecting the need to manage supply networks also prepared for volatility and disruptions.

This way, defining which technologies will be a priority in each recovery phase may depend on the industry, the business model, the needs, gaps, and goals of the company.

But we have a clue: the expansion of online channels, the creation or expansion of e-commerce and marketplaces, and the migration of customer service to digital networks were measures taken by almost all companies last year, in the survival phase. And this generates new management demands in the following stages.

However, the lesson learned from the abrupt changes brought about by the pandemic reveal that it is also necessary for this restructuring to be largely flexible and allow rapid transformations without costs.

Whether due to the growing volume of digital interactions, the need to improve their quality, or for an operation that can be easily doubled or reduced without great costs, solutions to scale and automate communication, service, and support for online sales are part of the priorities.

And that, not only to solve a problem for the company, but also to guarantee the consumption experience that digital customers expect. 

The automation of Customer Service as the key that unlocks recovery

As we have seen in this blog post, the adaptations made by companies to connect with their consumers and continue business during Covid-19 triggered new management challenges and technological needs. 

But, in compensation, the right choice of these solutions, by itself, will create the conditions for the organization move on to the next phase, of building business resilience:

And several other features that ensure the resilience of your operation in the face of any impact.

In addition, making investments in the automation of communication and customer service is a wise strategy as its operations involve a significant amount of people: customers and employees. 

Considering that a culture change only happens through the engagement of the people in this process, this action can also be a driver for the successful digital transformation in your company.

“Let’s remember this pandemic and its aftermath as an exceptional moment of innovation. Who would have thought that a city of our size could be almost paperless in a week? This is a pivotal moment for all of us.”(Meeting the Challenges of COVID-19 — Executive Insights and Guidance – IDC)

Alana AI

In this context, Alana, our proprietary artificial intelligence, brings the solution for customer service and marketing needs, assuring quality, flexibility, and adapting to any volume of interactions.

We are also in the final phase of launching a new platform where Alana can be hired, configured and managed in just a few clicks, online, by the companies’ internal team. 

“A change that will address the SMEs gap of qualified workforce in emerging technologies, making it possible for organizations and people to acquire digital skills and move forward in the transformation at the same pace.” 

(Marcel Jientara, CEO at Alana AI)

This format will keep all the features that big brands like Coca-Cola and Polishop have already been able to experiment with Alana. But now with a low cost to support that all SMEs can re-establish their operation, recover from the impacts of the pandemic, and acquire the resilience to be more stable and competitive in any future.

When hiring the solution, which has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) guaranteeing the delivery of the expected results, the teams of any company will have, through an intuitive and easy to operate dashboard, the possibility of implementing and automatically managing resources that are decisive in the consumer experience today, such as:

Despite the functionalities and their tangible impacts on the operation and results, it is essential to keep in mind that this set of solutions represents much more.

It is also about the acquisition of intelligent resources to feel, learn and detect changes in your interactions with the customer. 

It is taking a big step for the company to truly become customer-centric. With a deep interest and knowledge of their desires, needs, and behaviors, while offering agile, and engaging experiences.

A holistic view of technology: the best way to defend and implement investments in your company

Now that you are closer to having your roadmap for recovering from the impacts of the pandemic defined, understanding how the acquisition of technologies will unlock new capabilities for the organization and its people, it is time to implement this holistic vision in your planning and company culture.

This approach was already a critical success factor for digital transformation, increasing its probability of being successful by 3 times.

After all, tech leaders must help non-tech leaders to develop a technology potential mindset, and thus enable frontline employees in all areas. This is the time to separate the hype from the real motivators and commercial promises of technology.

“As the digital infrastructure becomes the operating system of companies, it is necessary to assure that this is no longer in restricted domain – but everyones’. Not from a technical point of view, but understanding its commercial, strategic and branding potentials. “

(Marcel Jientara, CEO of Alana AI)

For that, it is necessary that, with the choice of new technological solutions, you also bring the integral mapping of its impacts: uniting profitability with better results in consumer experience, sales, product development, talent development, supply chain, etc.

In the mission of driving advancement of digital transformation in a company, the most successful will be those who are dedicated to establishing and selling this vision in a way that people can achieve it.

Creating a framework for the adaptation  

Now that you:

We invite you to start designing your action plan with the creation of a framework: a simple, visual and collaborative way to record the new things you have learned, structure and stage your ideas, and put them into action.

From the 5 stages brought up in this post, consider “how” all the new capabilities and transformations that a certain technology will bring. Thus enabling the evolution to the next stage.

In the “now“, indicate the tactic: the new technology that will be (or has already been) implemented.


In this post, we talk about the importance of SMEs to recognize the stage of recovery from the impacts of the pandemic in which they find themselves and, thus, define practical and viable actions to adapt to the present and the future, which is accelerating. 

And we touch the core of this planning: the acquisition of new technologies that enhance and enable the operation from now on.

Remember some topics:

So, did you like our article? Leave your comments below! And keep reading about how Artificial Intelligence has helped companies during the pandemic in our blog.