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  • Cathal Doyle

CEO Letter: How Bedford is adapting to the challenges of COVID-19


One of the reasons we made our decision to invest in & develop our service offering around Anaplan, almost ten years ago now, was in the ability to deliver those services from anywhere in the world. As an industry, we are rooted in delivering for our customers and well-rehearsed on critical events but regrettably, with the spread of the Coronavirus, Bedford, along with many other individuals and businesses around the world are having to adapt their service offering to endure the impact of this awful pandemic. Fortunately, we are well equipped to do so, and whilst I do not underestimate for a moment the personal, social & economic impact this is having on our lives, I want to respectfully bring to life how Bedford are adapting to the challenges brought by COVID-19, undoubtedly the biggest challenge we have faced in our 12 year history.


1. Absorb the shock


The first week of the real Coronavirus shock here in the UK saw every day bring a different challenge – it felt more like a month than a week! It was clear that people were rapidly trying to adjust to the new reality, and some businesses were going to be very badly affected, whereas others would continue relatively unscathed. Once the initial shock had died away, we saw businesses settled into the new reality and some good news around deals starting to surface. Initially, given the developing information from Government bodies, there was a tough balancing act between delivering for our customers and ensuring the well-being of our people, but we were fortunate enough to be in a position to mobilise a 100% remote offering pretty early on which is now enforced across the business. Remote working is commonplace for us and although the move from a 50% to a 100% remote operational model brings unique challenges, it does not mean that any of the core Anaplan Way principles are compromised or any ground lost in delivery.


2. Plan and financially pivot


Regrettably, like most businesses, the first thing that went out the window was our Budget (yes, we plan too). We ran multiple scenarios, focused on keeping it simple and leveraging only our core business drivers to understand the short- & medium-term outlooks, which allowed us to take immediate and decisive action in squeezing & rationalising non-essential spend and tightening our operational model. The scenario modelling continues daily, as we battle the bad news with the good, doing our best with the information at hand. We don’t have all the right answers, but I don’t think we’re alone in that. We are however, empowered by a best in breed performance management platform, in Anaplan, which copes with whatever we throw at it.


3. Operational focus


Our Customer Success Director, Paul Rawlinson, in collaboration with the Anaplan CS team, has developed a set of guidelines on how to deliver The Anaplan Way remotely which are currently being deployed across 35+ live engagements, of which we have already seen both successful Project Kick-Offs and Go-Lives in just this short period of time. Our Academy courses are available as a virtual offering, so no momentum lost there. We are ramping up our UX and Accelerator offerings, focusing heavily on what sales & marketing initiatives can be ramped up to ensure we come out of this period with a strong pipeline. We are reaching out to some of our worst affected customers to see if we can help them with any operational processes whilst they might have temporary shortfalls in resource. So, it is very much all hands on deck at the moment and we’re promoting an internal mantra of ‘Raise your hand’ in support of our colleagues, friends, partners and customers.


In our people, I am immensely proud of their reaction and of the togetherness which has sprung from adversity. We have always been a close-knit team but that has never been more prevalent. We have introduced daily Virtual Coffee-calls which have been well received in keeping spirits high and have ramped up our comms across all levels of the business. Some have even taken to after-work virtual drinks, quarantini’s I believe. In our leadership team, we are privileged to have some of the top wartime consiglieres in the game, guys that we have come through many challenges with over the years, of which undoubtedly this is the toughest. If anyone is in doubt as to how to act in a particular circumstance right now, then these are the people to follow. Our management style remains an agile one which allows us to make measured decisions at speed, amplified during this period but meaning we can roll with the punches. On a personal side, we need to physically and mentally look after each other & our families, and on the professional side, we need to apply ourselves in the same diligent way we always have so that when this terrible virus dissipates, which it inevitably will, we are in a position of strength.


We remain as close as ever with our partners in Anaplan and I have been particularly taken by the messages of support and togetherness over recent weeks. Relationships which have been forged over many years, through many challenges, whether in our close cadence with leadership or in the day to day operational workings with the team on the ground, there has been an honest collective effort to ensure that we are operating as close to normal as possible and that our customers understand that we are here to support them during this demanding time.


We can enter these uncertain & challenging times together, in the confidence that we have built a fantastic team, in our resilient and dedicated people, in the role models within our leadership team, in our dogged pursuit of professional services excellence and in the depth of relationship with our partner Anaplan and our customers, who are fighting equally as hard. My message to you all; that we are here to help in whatever capacity that means right now and we will endeavour to be the steady ship in stormy waters. Stay safe & stay connected!

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