RPF insights London & the South: focus on strategy and planning

Our Regional Productivity Forum leads discussed how a focus on strategy and digital skills as well as more devolution were the keys to being successful in 2021 and beyond at our online business conference.

Former Chief Finance and Operating Officer of Intermediate Capital Group and Chair of the London & the South Productivity Forum, Philip Keller took part in the panel debate: What can UK companies do to thrive in the post-pandemic, post-Brexit era?

Philip urged businesses to make time to consider their strategies and operational processes so that opportunities for investment and greater efficiency can be absorbed into business planning.

Over the last year and a half many companies would have had little time to consider long term planning and potentially put their strategies on hold as they became more concerned about customer acquisition and cash flow instead of their five-to-ten-year business model.

But a rise in digital skills during the pandemic meant businesses would have to think about strategy as they considered how to use digital to solve everyday business decisions.

Drive Innovation

We then asked our audience in a poll what the top priority for was businesses to thrive in a post pandemic UK. Drive innovation was the top answer followed closely by improving the skills of the workforce.

Conference poll: business priority

Despite the results, Philip said that finance was actually an area discussed quite extensively in previous forum meetings for the London and South region. Not just the access to funding, but how existing cash flows could be supported.

“There’s not a lot of financing to support speculative or growing cash flows required for investment or innovation so that needs to be available,” he said.

“Plus the advice and the structure around how companies apply for funding and think about risk when they’re taking on projects to innovate and become more productive.”

Philip also talked about the “move from survival to strategy” for businesses as they recovered from the pandemic and how these kinds of discussions needed to start at a regional level.

Increased devolution was the key takeaway from the wider discussion, along with firms also needing to think differently about productivity and strategy in order to succeed in a wider, international business market.

You can hear more from Philip Keller and businesses in London and the South by watching the full panel discussion: