Operational resilience

The current need for remote working presents operational challenges to infrastructure companies, especially given the highly complex nature of the industry’s operations. In the near term, identifying critical suppliers, assessing potential vulnerabilities, and then communicating and collaborating to mitigate risks will be crucial to minimise disruptions across the supply chain. Contracts may again need renegotiation, and clauses — such as those relating to force majeure — will need to be scrutinised.

Day-to-day operations will also require adjusting, particularly when it comes to risk-monitoring systems, supervising employees, and mitigating threats — which include cyber-threats in addition to the usual suspects like environmental and physical threats. On the manpower front, there will be a need for process optimisation and possibly retraining to adapt to the “new normal” of remote working.

Looking beyond the short term, future-proofing the business by leveraging technology must be a priority. Digital transformation has been high on the agenda — and the methods for doing so will vary depending on the specific subsector — but the current pandemic has highlighted just how important it is for the long-term operational resilience of the infrastructure sector. One example that is already happening, but perhaps needs to be expedited, is increasing automation levels system wide.

Commercial resilience

Commercially, the infrastructure sector has seen a fall in demand across the board, with some subsectors affected much more than others. While there can be no one-size-fits-all solution to the commercial challenges precipitated by the pandemic, using technology to deliver a seamless customer experience — even amid the ongoing operational complexities — will likely be key in maintaining commercial viability, especially in the near term. Communication and managing customers’ expectations are also areas that cannot be ignored.

Part of this involves exploring new service-delivery models, particularly online alternatives. While this is especially challenging for the infrastructure sector — and in many cases, some services will never achieve a state of being 100 percent online — exploring areas that can be migrated online will be vital.

Other than mitigating the shorter-term commercial impacts, companies should also look toward how the environment will evolve in the future and position themselves accordingly. For instance, governments may look to infrastructure projects as a means of fiscal stimulus — a boon for the sector. E-commerce and logistics, an area which benefited from the pandemic, will likely continue its uptrend. And looking toward the future, things like autonomous vehicles and smart infrastructure may become the norm rather than the exception. Positioning early will go a long way toward establishing long-term commercial resilience.

How can we help you?

We are standing shoulder to shoulder with clients to ensure you receive timely, informed and practical guidance, drawing on the latest industry insights and experience from specialists across the global KPMG network. At KPMG, we have positioned Cyber Resilience as a ‘strategic growth initiative’ empowering our partners to provide the trusted voice in the Global Cyber Resilience market.

The technological development will bring about changes and disruption but a common denominator in the race for technological development is perhaps that most of these developments are based on a soaring amount of data that continues to multiply in an exponential fashion.

This calls for systems and solutions that are cyber resilient and properly safe-guarded in the future. If such security cannot be achieved, it will have a major impact on businesses’ reputations and trustworthiness. We can help you achieve a level of trustworthiness which secures your spot as a reliable and trustworthy partner in any business engagement. The service spans and needs to intimately interact with other service areas, including most aspects of cyber security and operational resilience.