Philip Gudgeon: The crisis has given new opportunities for development

Many business owners and managers say they will remember 2020 as phenomenal in many ways. What can you, Philip, as CEO of consulting company SCHNEIDER GROUP, say about the ending 2020?

The year, indeed, turned out to be very unpredictable and to some extent destructive for many areas of business. Mainly, the reason for this was not the pandemic itself, but the digital unpreparedness for “total online”. Some companies were unable to switch to remote working mode due to the lack of technical solutions and well-established processes. Others were unable to sell goods online, because they simply had not set up this distribution channel earlier. Many faced other problems, somehow related precisely to the lack of a digital environment in their companies. Although, of course, there are industries which digital technologies did not save, and could not save, despite the high level of digitalization.

How did SCHNEIDER GROUP cope with the surprises of 2020?

We automated many routine processes long ago. Thanks to our IT team, even before the quarantine was announced, we had been technically ready to switch to the remote working mode. It was more difficult to switch emotionally. Nevertheless, well-established business processes, maximum digitalization and good communication between employees have become the key factors in the stability of our company this time.
When everything was just beginning, we tried to support our clients, pay more attention to them than usual. We tried to rationally, without emotions, think over the scenarios for the development of the situation and offered our clients additional services, for example, a package of services for restructuring business processes for the transition to an e-commerce model for non-food retail. It seems to me that such support has helped many of our clients to survive the main crisis moment.
You talk a lot about digitalization. What digital solutions have been the most popular since the start of the pandemic.
In fact, it is not so difficult to transfer employees to a remote working mode, as to ensure the availability of all resources, data protection and organize effective interaction. Therefore, these are the solutions for data protection, collaboration, video conferencing which are popular, there are a lot of them. The pandemic has shown the importance of contactless processes and has greatly accelerated, among other things, the development of our Client Login online platform, which allows us to move HR administration to a paperless basis. This platform allows to create, edit and approve HR documents online and relieves employees of the work with paper documents. In fact, you can transfer an employee to work completely remotely.

To summarize, what development paths do you see for the SCHNEIDER GROUP in the coming years?

We help foreign and Russian companies to develop international markets. The crisis gave us new opportunities for development as a consulting company. In the future, we plan to more actively support Russian enterprises developing their business abroad.
It is too early to say that SCHNEIDER GROUP is the winner in a crisis. Nevertheless, we see that we are trusted us and asked for support in overcoming the crisis.