The exponential spread of the new novel coronavirus — what some might consider a “black swan” event — has sent tremendous shock waves to every foundational socioeconomic system serving humanity as we know it.

Unlike many other disruptions we have weathered through in the past, this is an existential threat to the way we work, live, and play. Every well-crafted business strategy playbook has been temporarily paused as leaders respond to the urgency of the moment, which is to take care of the health and well-being of their people.

As the world pivots quickly to the new normal, a completely different culture of work is evolving. Social distancing is the new anti-viral, requiring each one of us to do our part in preventing further spread. And with social distancing, remote work is the new norm.

As people come to terms with this new reality in their work and life environments, we are likely to drive an accelerated adoption of entirely new behaviors and technologies, many of which will be here to stay post-crisis.

Not too long ago, in 2018, The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated only 29 percent of American wage and salary workers could work at home, while the Organization for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) estimated six out of 10 people in the EU had not worked from home. Enterprises that may have emphasized employee co-location as a driver of success in the past are now left to quickly figure out how to manage business continuity, employee engagement and health, and customer success. Despite basic productivity tools such as Slack and Teams or video collaboration tools such as Zoom, enterprises worldwide are still struggling in how to navigate the “new normal.”

At SAP, our purpose is to help the world run better and improve people’s lives. Now more than ever before, we know we need to find solutions together, as part of a global purpose network, an ecosystem of customers, partners, influencers, non-profits, government institutions, and agencies.

The worst of times calls for the best in all of us. In that spirit, we are incredibly privileged to collaborate with an ecosystem of business-to-business (B2B) startup partners through the SAP.iO program. By virtue of being digitally native, managing a distributed workforce has always been their de-facto way of conducting business.

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