The pandemic caused many companies to change the way they conducted business practically overnight. Allianz, a global company with over 140,000 employees, moved its workforce from the office to working from home in more or less ten days. Aruna Richarduran, VP and CMO for Cisco’s Webex Collaboration, sits down with Dr. Christof Mascher, COO of Allianz SE, to discuss how Allianz was able to keep business continuity during a pandemic, the best practices that emerged, and what the future work looks like for their company.
For the last two years, the Allianz team had been working towards transformation, a complete renewal of their business and operating model. When the pandemic hit, the company had to change how they collaborated on a global basis with their local business entities. The immediate concern was how it would affect their transformation already in progress. Surprisingly it was a positive impact. They were able to use the tools they already had to continue their work virtually. In most cases, productivity wasn’t lost but improved.
Although the virtualized approach they had invested in allowed them to adapt to the new normal almost overnight, it also created a challenge. The existing tools that had been purchased to help create a modern working environment, pre-COVID had certain restrictions. The new normal may have accelerated their roadmap, but it also provided them the opportunity to innovate.
“The new normal is a total different one, and for this new normal, we don’t want to go back to the old times. We want to preserve what we have achieved now, but we have to invest more, we have to think more about how a collaboration corporation should work.”
What does the future look like for Allianz? In the next 6 to 9 months, they will be reevaluating how their employees maintain productivity, how they work with their distribution channels, and how they communicate with customers. This is the start of a completely new operation distribution model.