COVID-19: continuity and resilience

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Resilient enterprise: Leading through uncertainty and complexity: Business Disruption
Employee health and wellbeing
Talent and workforce
Customer and brand
Financial and investor
Risk
Government and public
policy
Technology and infosec
Insurance and legal disputes
Supply chain and global
trade

COVID-19 Enterprise Resilience Framework

Resilient enterprise

Our framework identifies nine areas businesses can address to build a structured and comprehensive approach to crisis management and business resilience.

Navigate the nine dimensions of our framework, or find out more about our Enterprise Resilience Tool.

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Employee health and wellbeing

What matters most:

  • Promoting employee safety and wellbeing
  • Public health information
  • Support for impacted employees
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Talent and workforce

What matters most:

  • Employee relations
  • Talent initiatives
  • Business traveller
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Customer and brand

What matters most:

  • Safety-based customer experience
  • Direct to consumer and e-retail
  • Packaging and delivery innovation
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Financial and investor

What matters most:

  • Liquidity, cash flow, credit and capital
  • Regulatory/disclosures
  • Investor trust
  • Tax strategies and tax accounting
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Risk

What matters most:

  • Enterprise risk planning
  • Risk identification
  • Scenario planning
  • Continuity and recovery
  • Response and monitoring
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Government and public policy

What matters most:

  • Geopolitical risks
  • Country risks
  • Regulatory changes
  • Leadership and public policy engagement
  • Sustainability
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Technology and infosec

What matters most:

  • Infrastructure framework
  • Cyber resilience
  • Digital customer channels
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Insurance and legal disputes

What matters most:

  • Business interruption
  • Supply chain claims
  • Legal and contract disputes
  • Event cancellation
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Supply chain and global trade

What matters most:

  • Supply chain resilience
  • Third-party service providers
  • Sustainability
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Employee health and wellbeing

What matters most:

  • Promoting employee safety and wellbeing
  • Public health information
  • Support for impacted employees
Explore

Talent and workforce

What matters most:

  • Employee relations
  • Talent initiatives
  • Business traveller
Explore

Customer and brand

What matters most:

  • Safety-based customer experience
  • Direct to consumer and e-retail
  • Packaging and delivery innovation
Explore

Financial and investor

What matters most:

  • Liquidity, cash flow, credit and capital
  • Regulatory/disclosures
  • Investor trust
  • Tax strategies and tax accounting
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Risk

What matters most:

  • Enterprise risk planning
  • Risk identification
  • Scenario planning
  • Continuity and recovery
  • Response and monitoring
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Government and public policy

What matters most:

  • Geopolitical risks
  • Country risks
  • Regulatory changes
  • Leadership and public policy engagement
  • Sustainability
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Technology and infosec

What matters most:

  • Infrastructure framework
  • Cyber resilience
  • Digital customer channels
Explore

Insurance and legal disputes

What matters most:

  • Business interruption
  • Supply chain claims
  • Legal and contract disputes
  • Event cancellation
Explore

Supply chain and global trade

What matters most:

  • Supply chain resilience
  • Third-party service providers
  • Sustainability
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Through actions both big and small, our people are helping each other, clients and society tackle COVID-19 challenges and build an even better working world.

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The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

How blockchain is helping make every blood donation more effective

Blood donations and transfusions are vital to healthcare, but tracking the journey from vein to vein in real time remains elusive.

The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Could blockchain become the lifeblood of healthcare?

Blood donation, processing, testing, distribution and transfusion is a complex, highly regulated process. Blockchain can support monitoring and traceability from donor to patient.

About 1 in 10 people entering hospitals every day need some kind of blood transfusion – they are a fundamental cornerstone of medicine. Transfusions are needed to replace the blood of those suffering from cancer or other blood diseases and replenish blood lost in serious accidents and medical procedures like childbirth or surgery.

This demand adds up. It’s estimated that, in the US alone, about 32,000 pints (18,184 litres) of blood products (red cells, platelets or plasma) are transfused every day, so keeping a reliable and steady supply of blood is critical. About 4.5 million Americans would die every year without a transfusion.

Supply lines

Donated blood makes its way to patients via complex blood supply chain networks. Especially in a large country, each unit of blood can travel thousands of miles. Units are also broken down into smaller, similarly vital medical products, such as, plasma, platelets and red blood cells.

Knowing where products are, and what condition they are in, is essential to running any supply chain, from minerals to food to consumer products. But with blood, this accountability is even more important – after all, what’s at stake is not the continuing business of impatient customers, but people’s lives. For that reason, the tracking of blood products is highly regulated.

The challenge is to make that system as effective as possible, and to make data from the full length of the supply chain more visible, to deliver even greater benefits.

Building in trust

EY Canada has been working with Canadian Blood Services (CBS) to address this challenge with a proposal to put blood records on the blockchain. The thinking was simple: if this was done effectively, we could provide near real-time visibility and traceability of blood products throughout the system.

Bag O Rh Positive Blood
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Developing proof of concept for ‘vein-to-vein’ monitoring

Using blockchain to power a self-updating tracking platform that offers powerful insights.

Blockchain – which encodes data in a perfectly secure and transparent way – is an ideal technology to add security and visibility to the blood supply network. By providing a platform that could guarantee the visibility, security, and reliability of records from donation to transfusion, in blockchain EY teams had identified a technology that could make blood product usage data more visible and usable.

Involving personnel from both Canada and the US, and combining multiple business disciplines, EY and CBS teams worked to turn this initial idea into a robust platform that could test the theory and provide the foundations for a transformed blood system.

  • What are blockchains?

    Blockchain is a distributed infrastructure technology. It is a decentralized ledger that keeps a record of each transaction that occurs across a network, which enables a decentralized exchange of trusted data – a shared “record book”.

    Blockchains integrate information and process within and across enterprise boundaries and have the potential to streamline and accelerate business processes, increase protection against cybersecurity and reduce or eliminate the roles of intermediaries.

Putting blood on the blockchain

“Here’s how donations work. You roll up your sleeve. A blood donation service takes the blood. They ship it under strict temperature requirements to a production site. They separate it into other products. And they take it to a hospital or blood bank,” says Warren Tomlin, Digital and Innovation Leader for EY Canada. “But then they lose visibility.”

In other words, while hospitals and CBS already maintain precise records that allow them to trace a blood product back to the donor, a product’s complete path to the patient is not visible in real time to them or to others. Blockchain can make data from that path visible, while protecting the security of private information.

With this new system, when a donation occurs, the unit is scanned and all the related blood data is put on the blockchain (supported by the EY OpsChain platform). As the products from that donation move through the supply network, those products are scanned again and again, and their location and status are registered on a single, unified platform. The underpinning blockchain technology manages the integrity of this data at every stage.

Details about the blood are taken at seven key points:

  1. When the donor donates blood at a CBS collection facility
  2. When CBS performs tests on the blood, and records the results
  3. When CBS processes the blood into red blood cells, platelets and plasma
  4. When these constituent parts of the blood are stored in the CBS inventory
  5. When logistics operators transport the blood to a hospital
  6. When the hospital gives a patient a blood transfusion using the registered product
  7. When the hospital disposes of leftover blood after it is used

“Every time we get an Internet of Things (IoT) update of the temperature, it’s recorded on the blockchain. Every time we know where it is by GPS, that’s recorded on the blockchain,” says Tomlin. “If you think about blockchain and that chain of custody, we end up creating an improved audit trail for these products,” a single visible one that stretches from donor to recipient.

The data trail

Tomlin also stresses the detail and volume of data that is packed to each package of blood recorded on the blockchain. “When someone goes and gives blood, we take that unit and we scan the barcode and ‘tokenize’ the blood,” he explains. “Then we take that barcode and we put it on the blockchain. That gives us our first snowball of data — and as Canadians, we love that analogy. As that snowball rolls around in the snow it gets bigger. It picks up more snow until it becomes the base of the snowman.”

“In the same way, each unit of blood ends up accumulating lots and lots of data,” he continues. “First of all, we get your name, your age, and your ethnicity, and your blood type. That’s all saved in the blockchain. Then, as it moves through the supply chain, it rolls up more data. In the truck it picks ups data from GPS sensors. In a cooler fitted with an IoT sensor, it picks up data about temperature. All that data gets added to the snowball. And that makes tracking much easier than it is today.”

Doctor with test tube blood sample
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Improving healthcare transparency and outcomes

Driving efficiencies to better match donors with recipients — and improve patient outcomes.

But what do you do with all this data? Better tracking of blood usage presents a huge opportunity to improve the blood system as a whole. With real-time information about blood products as they move from donation through production, testing and distribution, the blood operator can more quickly and accurately identify areas for improvement.

Blockchain can also facilitate researchers’ access to large data sets, while at the same time protecting the privacy of donors and recipients. That could allow them to correlate patient outcomes with variables such as the gender of their blood donor, or the temperature at which the products they received had been transported. In turn, researchers’ findings could inspire changes to the blood system that benefit patients.

“The work with EY has allowed CBS to imagine a very important advancement in healthcare,” says Rick Prinzen, Chief Supply Chain Officer and Vice President of Donor Relations, CBS. “Connecting donor centre donations with in-hospital transfusions and enabling hospitals to have real-time access to the whole blood component product flow and product status represents a significant advancement in driving supply chain value and improved health outcomes”.

What patterns improve supply efficiency? If issues occur with a particular batch of blood, where exactly did those issues occur, and how can they be prevented in future?

These are just a few examples of the questions that this blockchain-enabled program could answer. And better measurement of the movement and status of blood within these vast blood donation networks promises substantial potential for identifying further improvements in the efficiency of the health service as a whole, making sure that the value of donated blood goes further, and saves even more lives.

With positive health outcomes often dependent on tiny variables in how patients are treated, the increased visibility achieved by putting blood on the blockchain could make a transformative difference.

The program initially launched in trial stages, EY solution is now moving toward implementation in markets beyond Canada.

This was a test of the system’s viability. It really works. And we proved that it would really work.
Warren Tomlin
Digital and Innovation Leader for EY Canada

Building on the blockchain

Currently, EY and CBS have a proof of concept. But as the system develops, artificial intelligence and machine learning platforms could be used to analyse that data in increasingly sophisticated ways.

For CBS, putting blood on the blockchain is about making a vital health service even better for Canadians.

For blood operators globally, it’s a first look into how emerging technology can transform the way blood reaches those who need it.

For patients, it offers life-changing results.

Researcher using microscope in laboratory to look at blood sample
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

How the right conversations can empower finance transformation strategies

Companies need more open dialog about how to effectively implement new technology. Finding the headspace for these conversations is key.

The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Where should you start when transforming your operations?

Transformation agendas can go awry if stakeholders don’t talk.

The world is moving fast. If organizations want to stay ahead of the curve, their operations need to be agile and predictive, and they must pick the right time to engage with both the right talent and the right new technologies to gain a competitive edge.

However, there are a lot of technologies out there and a lot of business processes, all in a state of continuous evolution. Separating the signal from the noise – and picking the right strategy – can be a real challenge.

Even when organizations choose a strategy, other factors can stand in the way of effective implementation. Understanding how to ask the right questions, who to ask and where to find the answers, is critical in making any strategy work.

Take, for example, the challenges around digital transformation.

Digital transformation is a vital component of any modern business strategy. Old software, platforms and processes become unfit for modern needs. In their place, new software, new platforms and new processes need to be developed and efficiently implemented.

However, transformation is often driven by technologists and IT teams, rather than the people who they will actually impact – such as those on the office floor. This can make communicating business value and enacting effective change a fraught process.

The most sophisticated, expensive artificial intelligence (AI) in the world can quickly become ineffective if implemented without the input from the people who would actually be using it, and whether or not they think it would actually improve processes.

But getting the right people talking and identifying the actual problems that need to be solved, can be harder than it looks.

One Tier 1 financial client came to EY with this problem. It had faced challenges in implementing technological transformations in the past, and so recognized the need for creating the kind of collaborative spaces in which critical questions could be asked – and strategies shaped – before it started building technology into its operations.

The question the client asked was crucial but broad: rather than making incremental improvements, how do we think differently about how the finance function supports the business? In particular, it was looking at how to improve operations across eight distinct finance processes, from financial accounting to book closing, by applying technology in ways which would work to deliver real value.

Women standing white wall makeshift charts talking
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

Thinking around the issues

Getting the right answers means fostering the right conversations.

Finding fresh perspectives meant the client needed to bring together the right expertise. For large multinational organizations, these conversations can be hard to create and sustain – teams can be widely distributed around the world, business functions may be highly siloed and individuals may keep varying hours. Bringing stakeholders together physically – and giving them the tools to succeed – was critical.

The technology enabled everyone to collaborate live on a canvas that everybody could see whether they were sitting at home, in Hong Kong, the US or London.
Francois Rossouw
Associate Partner: CFO Advisory Services

Building a space to shift perceptions

In practice, this took the form of a Finance Innovation Lab, which was built for the client by leveraging EY’s wavespace network. The EY Advisory and Assurance teams worked together on this project to help create the conditions that allowed the client to have these conversations – bringing our own different perspectives to bear on the project.

  • What is EY wavespace™?

    In wavespace we help clients curate talent and technology, bringing them together in collaboration. They are proven to energize and align teams to create meaningful outcomes, faster.

    Clients can engage with wavespace locations around the world, be hosted in temporary pop-up wavespaces, or have a wavespace installed in their premises – all are designed to help clients interact with ideas, technology and each other, in ways that can lead them to the decisions and creativity that will help them thrive in the transformative age.

Challenging assumptions

Over the course of an eight-week program, wavespace hosted dozens of key stakeholders in over 150 meetings, giving them the perspective and collaborative focus they needed to think about and ask questions about the best ways to transforming their finance operations. At the same time, participants were challenged to work identifying meaningful ways to assess how technology solutions could be applied to their finance processes.

First, the client landed on the Cloud as the most appropriate technology for their needs. Within wavespace, they then started challenging their own assumptions – rightly identifying the fact that the Cloud could not be considered just as a technology play but needed to be understood as a wider platform that could transform the finance function in multiple ways.

Technology is a tool. It’s not going to get you results on its own. It's how you shape the organization around the opportunities that the tool provides.
Jonathan Chesebrough
Partner, Financial Accounting Advisory Services at EY

The client also identified potential roadblocks. Through dialog with respective stakeholders, they found that if they had focused entirely on the tech, but neglected the process side of the equation, the desired results would not be delivered.

EY ensured the wavespace environment provided the frontline finance professionals everything they needed to help design the solution and define the use cases, supported by the IT and Finance Change teams. Through transparent conversations between different stakeholder groups, practical, effective solutions began to emerge.

Developing a truly transformational, measurable strategy

Through creative collaboration within wavespace, the client not only honed their transformation strategy to a specifically Cloud-based approach – they also developed clearly defined steps that would allow them to pursue real, measurable value.

Across the program, the client’s teams collaborated on 20 distinct ideas around Cloud-enabled finance. These included:

  • A data model which created a single, unified data source for the whole finance function, that only needs to be adjusted once – making it easier and more time-effective for multiple business units to engage with data in the way that’s most appropriate for them.
  • Real-time data quality visualization, allowing for prompt data validation (the process by which data is checked for accuracy and usefulness) and data remediation (the process of cleaning, organizing and moving data in a way that makes it fit for use). This included the use of machine learning and artificial intelligence to improve data quality.
  • Detailed reporting tools that broke down standard reporting across different dimensions (such as business line or legal entity). These provided detail down to the transaction level, and captured commentary from multiple stakeholders on any given product or investigation.
  • Continuous and automated control monitoring over the entire data population, rather than manual testing of individual samples.

These tools allowed the client to come up with solutions that led to real, measurable value for its finance function – and the business as a whole.

Couple talking sitting home
The better the question. The better the answer. The better the world works.

The fruits of creative collaboration

The right conversations lead to fresh perspectives and better outcomes.

Overall, compared with their former ways of working, the client realized they could benefit from a 300% increase in data processing capacity, in 25% of the time and with a 30-50% reduction in cost.

With these new Cloud-enabled processes, they identified the potential to remove the need for manual reconciliations between different systems or data sets. This could then potentially save significant man-hours – including reducing the time taken to close accounting books from up to 20 days down to four days – freeing up time and resources for more value-adding tasks.

The client was enthusiastic about the effectiveness of the collaborative environment EY helped create: “In just ten weeks, we went from “how do we improve finance” – and a certain degree of skepticism over technology products – to 20 well-thought through ideas using the Cloud. It’s generated excitement among our people, because they can see how to make finance better, faster and cheaper, and in the process give the business better controls, better data quality, and more insightful reporting.”

The model office approach is the future platform for working with our financial services clients as they develop their digital finance transformation journeys.
Christophe Kasolowsky
EY CFO Advisory

Working together to find the right path

This client’s wavespace experience – and the values of collaborative, conversational thinking it supports – holds wider lessons for any organization trying to transform their operations in preparation for a digital future.

Particularly, it demonstrates that grounding any technological agenda in real world, human experiences – rather than hypothetical ideal scenarios – is critical if technology solutions are to be applied in an effective and valuable way.

With the business landscape constantly shifting, organizations increasingly need to be able to reimagine how they work to develop more effective business models, reshape their operations to optimize performance, and continually reinvent themselves to embrace transformation and drive growth.

But reimaging, reshaping and reinventing your business will not be enough if the vision you create hasn’t been properly thought through. By creating the mental space to think through the challenge early on – actively seeking different perspectives and challenging assumptions about not just the right paths forward, but also the fundamental issues to be addressed – organizations can ensure they are pursuing strategies that can deliver genuine value.

Additional EY contributors include Christophe Kasolowsky – CFO Advisory, George Ioannou – CFO Advisory Technology, Amy Steptoe – CFO Advisory.

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