Business Strategies for India Businesses During COVID-19 and After

The COVID-19 pandemic is compelling people to renegotiate their world views. Its immediate impact was and continues to be on human life. It has also gradually expanded to devour businesses and the economy at large. Domestic rating agency CRISIL has halved its GDP forecast for India to 1.8% for 2020-21. India’s business leaders are facing challenges with their current business models and now need to adapt and change their business continuity strategy and partner ecosystem to deal with this large scale crisis. 

We are drawing from over 25 years of experience as digital partners in helping our clients realign their business strategies for the current and post COVID-19 world. 


Businesses are faced with the challenge of recalibrating their strategies for an upcoming global recession, unprecedented in scope and duration in our lifetimes. Additionally, intervals between crises have been shortening, and a number of crises might combine forces at any time.

In this white paper, Rohit Kalro, Head of Advisory, Thoughtworks India, talks how organisations can act now and shift focus from crisis response to building business resilience and maturity.

Governing during the COVID-19 Pandemic

The public sector is increasing its focus on welfare measures thereby safeguarding people’s lives and livelihood. Barclays predicts the world's biggest lockdown may cost our economy a loss of $234.4 billion.

At Thoughtworks, we are leveraging our expertise in technology and business to help the Indian government navigate through these uncertain times. Our partnership with the government has seen us play critical roles in a few countrywide projects: 

  • We helped build a national payments segment to enable COVID-19 relief donations to the PM Relief Fund in 48 hours.
  • Our work on a government-led data science project will help policymakers better prepare for and subsequently manage the pandemic at the grassroots level.
  • We are working on an identity verification digital module to ensure implementation of significant rural employment policies at scale. 
Financing a sustainable economy after the Coronavirus outbreak

On account of COVID-19 and the economic slowdown in 2020, S&P Global Ratings has stated that India’s banks will likely witness a spike in the non-performing assets (NPA) ratio by 1.9% and credit cost ratios by 130 basis points. 

Businesses are predicted to be impacted by a global economic crisis as a result of a reduction in global demand and increased operational risk. In this context, banks and financial institutions will experience high pressure on net-interest margins and increased operational risks. On the other hand, consumers are challenged by reduced income, which in turn reduces their repayment capacity, and leads to conservative spending post the pandemic. 

The country’s financial system should also collaborate with the government to power a larger ecosystem that can extend credit and other services to the impoverished sections of society. A strong digital backbone can effectively complement India’s traditional banks.

Retail and e-commerce in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic

The retail industry is in uncharted territory. While non-discretionary categories have witnessed high temporary spikes, the impact on segments like fashion has been catastrophic, resulting in store closures, staff furlough, and other measures to control costs and maintain short-term solvency. COVID-19 has brought a significant shift in consumer behavior while they are cocooned at home - an inclination towards comfort foods and a marked shift to digital for shopping, entertainment, and education.

Retailers are battling immediate challenges in maintaining operations, keeping customers and employees engaged, and for some, even staying relevant. Simultaneously, they are keenly observing how consumer shifts may impact their business models as they emerge on the other side. With a moving horizon of when a true turnaround can be expected, retailers’ focus is on creating response strategies in the short-term; driving stabilization, and building momentum in the mid-term. Being a digital business with end-to-end, in-house capabilities, and strong ecosystem collaboration with partners is now a must-have.

Public health battling the Coronavirus impact

Public healthcare in India has been in the spotlight recently, owing to the critical role it plays in the fight against COVID-19. The Indian government, at the beginning of the 21-day lockdown in March 2020 declared the allocation of Rs. 15,000 crores to improve the country’s healthcare system. There is an opportunity to disburse these funds properly and ramp up public healthcare resources, which will only continue to shoulder the responsibility of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the long run, the public health sector will need to be able to respond to people's needs more quickly and efficiently.

Thoughtworks continues to work with various public health advisory groups, institutes, and think tanks in the area of digital health platforms and architectures. For instance, we are currently working with Ashoka University to create an ultra-large-scale agent-based simulation model called BharatSim (based on our open-source EpiRust framework) to track and understand the epidemic spread of COVID-19 in India.

Navigate the COVID-19 Crisis with Thoughtworks Complimentary Advisory Services

Evaluate your business resilience and respond effectively to the impacts of COVID 19. Register now to get in touch with us and know more.

Kindly note the complimentary advisory support is for businesses with operations in India.