Weathering instability: A guide for businesses

17 Mar 2023

Image: © 9dreamstudio/

Weathering the current unstable economic climate is challenging for businesses of all sizes. And who knows what other challenges will arise in the coming months and years? Mark Cockerill from ServiceNow shares his top tips for tackling the present crises and the storms to come.

Any business today will tell you they’re facing uncertainty and need to be more agile to weather the instability that abounds. But with everyone talking about instability, it’s quickly becoming an undercurrent rather than the urgent topic at hand.

Considering that the tech talent gap, rising inflation, and the conflict in Ukraine are impacting supply chains now, guidance like ‘we need to prepare better’ misses the mark — after all, who knows what else is to come?

So how can businesses of all sizes better prepare if they’re already experiencing instability and don’t know what else is coming?

‘Cooperation and collaboration are essential tactics for weathering instability.’

Here are three strategies to help businesses of any size manage whatever storms they may face this year.

Attract and retain top talent

The competition for talent is still a priority issue; in fact, 94pc of business leaders say attracting and retaining workers is a pivotal aspect of their roles.

Good employees are crucial to business success during uncertain times, and this is especially true for SMEs. Getting top people on board can make all the difference, and your environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategy is key.

Younger generations are paying more attention to their employers’ values and ethics, including their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint and making positive environmental changes. So much so that almost half of workers aged 18 to 34 say they would look for a new role if their employers weren’t making ESG a primary concern.

In small businesses, ESG doesn’t always receive the attention it should. But building out your ESG strategy can be more straightforward than you expect.

You need better visibility into any and all potential risks in your distribution network and supply — and you need it fast. That’s where investing in the right technology comes in. Customisable solutions ensure you’re not only compliant but moving quickly if an issue does arise.

Your return on investment won’t stop there either. Having the right tech also increases retention. We’re all familiar with the benefits of a positive employee experience (EX). One way to ensure the highest level of EX is to enable your employees to create their own solutions through low-code or no-code tech.

By empowering employees to take app development into their own hands, they can build tailored solutions that make their jobs easier. Benefits include streamlined development processes, increased flexibility and lower business costs — precisely what your organisation needs to weather any storm.


The cost-of-living crisis, inflation and supply chain disruptions mean companies must operate with fewer resources regardless of size.

Keeping costs down is, and will be, a major challenge for businesses for the foreseeable future. Your first instinct is likely to be hunkering down and avoiding any unnecessary investments — but that kind of mentality could prove detrimental to your business in the long run.

Instead, now more than ever, it’s time to assess your go-to-market and scaling strategy and look for opportunities that ultimately save resources, time and money.

Automation, for instance, is the perfect example of making your current tech work for you. By automating tedious, manual tasks like form filling or data entry, you free up your employees to innovate and help grow your business — which ties in with the EX mentioned above.

After all, when your staff can focus on high-value tasks, they’re more fulfilled in their roles because they feel like they’re making a difference. This is one reason they report levels of wellbeing five times higher than those who don’t.

Plus, they’re spending less time — and, in turn, money — on time-consuming tasks that tech can do far more efficiently.


No organisation should face uncertainty alone. Cooperation and collaboration are essential tactics for weathering instability.

That means redefining collaboration and working together to make employees’ and citizens’ lives as easy as possible.

Government services, from legal documents to passport applications, should be digitised and accessible to everyone. But that can’t happen without solutions from the private sector.

Private businesses looking to launch innovative products faster to market can’t do so without the support of the public sector.

A commitment to cooperation and collaboration from both sides is, then, essential when it comes to identifying, mitigating, and resolving issues, whether that’s supply chain delays or closing the technical skills gap.

Moving forward with the right tools

To face uncertainty with confidence, companies of all sizes must be more agile. Technology isn’t a silver bullet, but it does facilitate organisations across industries to work collaboratively, more efficiently and with a clearer picture of the future.

Technology is, therefore, a vital tool that helps businesses of all sizes weather instability.

By Mark Cockerill

Mark Cockerill (LLB, LLM) is VP of corporate and international development at ServiceNow. Prior to this, Mark served as director of legal for the largest telecommunications operator in Ireland and held leadership roles in international telecoms organisations. Mark is also VP of the European Company Lawyers Association (ECLA) and sits on the board of the American Chamber (AmCham) in Ireland.

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