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Starting A Business In A Pandemic

When you’re in the midst of a serious pandemic where the probability of recession is high, starting a business may be the last thing on your mind, or so you might think. Some of the biggest brands emerged when the world was at a low – Netflix, Airbnb, Disney, FedEx, IBM, Microsoft, WhatsApp – which suggests the people at the helm of these brands made a step-change that they may not have pursued if there hadn’t been a recession. Here at Amodal we took the same leap of faith just as the UK was heading into lockdown. Four months in, our team are building a brand which is doing something a little different to the industry’s conventional information management providers. With this in mind, what are our reflections on starting a business in a global pandemic and how can the industry utilise the technology at its disposal?

It feels odd to say this yet one of the advantages of starting a business during Covid-19 is the fact everyone is in a similar position. Everyone is working online remotely, with Zoom or Teams calls filling up our daily diaries. Although the industry has been quiet as a result of Covid-19, Amodal has utilised this time to set up the business in the right way. Over the course of lockdown, we were able to really think about what we wanted to do and how we are going to do it. Now we are pleased to be in a fortunate position, whereby we are fully prepared for when the industry begins to recover.

Businesses from around the globe would perhaps be in tatters if it wasn’t for technology, yet it is still frustrating to see the construction industry isn’t as digitally mature as it needs to be. Social distancing requirements will mean that technology’s benefits will become well-recognised. This is supported by research highlighted in an article from the McKinsey Global Institute which indicates that ‘digital transformation can result in productivity gains of 14 to 15 percent and cost reductions of 4 to 6 percent.’[1]

There is clearly a need for digital solutions; they drive productivity. Teams and Zoom have proved that meetings can be completed efficiently without any travel costs to the purse and environment. The technology is most certainly out there, it’s just the industry needs to be educated on how it can effectively use it.

Where does Amodal come in?

We’re not a traditional consultancy that will typically deliver a short-term solution with sometimes unrealistic aims. This type of consultancy will say that they can give you the earth within five years which sounds great on paper. But what does the journey look like? Is it attainable? Do you know what your tangible deliveries will be every two weeks? Shouldn’t information management providers be on the same path to digital transformation as their clients?

Focusing on general human behaviour and our relationship with procuring things has changed. People want to pay for subscription services where they know what they’re getting, rather than pay a large upfront cost with little view of the end result. This is resulting in behaviour change, and it is something we believe the construction industry could benefit from.

It seems as if the market needs a service which enables collaboration and helps facilitate ongoing change, particularly as businesses evolve over the years. It’s where Amodal’s notion of ‘building continuous information clarity’ comes in. Using our ‘Amodal’ perception we deliver strategic foresight and building information lifecycle management to prepare companies for not just today, but the future. Our Amodal vision allows us to make the complex understandable and deliver clear, tangible outputs to our customers at every stage of the business information lifecycle.

At the moment the industry is seeing pockets of excellence in digitisation, yet there is little consistency. One of the biggest pushes at the moment is having a golden thread of information, where data can be easily located for quality and risk purposes. However, what is almost always overlooked is the fact there are multiple golden threads depending on where you are looking at them from. Our aim at Amodal is to ensure these multiple perspectives of the golden threads can be realised, through a service which allows information to be continuously clear for all users and supply chains. To enable a transparent view of information, continuous management is essential. We should be able to find something we did 20 years ago with the same effort as something we did last week, yet this involves a process which has to be constantly managed. If there isn’t ongoing management, the information can become lost which is unacceptable. There needs to be the technology and process in place to make information readily available at our fingertips. For this to be tangible, it has to happen continuously.

Golden Thread

[1] ‘Decoding digital transformation’ (August 2019), an article produced by the McKinsey Global Institute (https://mck.co/3iYIPf0)