Tag: IT-COVID-19

COVID-19 Will Hit Certain Indian IT Contracts Harder Than Others | In the News

If there’s one thing that is certain right now, it’s that a recession is coming soon. By almost all accounts, it looks like it will be the biggest hit since the 1930s when the stock market collapsed in New York. However, identifying who will perish, or adapt and flourish, post COVID-19 is still very much an impossible task — especially so in the technology universe.

According to Peter Bendor-Samuel, CEO of research firm Everest Group, digital projects that save money and lower operating costs would continue to attract investment, but those that require capital may not be as popular.

Read more in ZDNet

Impact of Automation in Business Continuity – Removing the Human Risk | Blog

In the eighth episode of Digital Reality podcasts, Cecilia Edwards and Jimit Arora examine the impact of automation on an organization’s ability to continue operating during times of crisis, especially as it pertains to mitigating risk to human life and enabling safety. This blog is a summarized transcript of the podcast.

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Cecilia Edwards: Welcome to the eighth episode of Digital Reality, Everest Group’s monthly podcast that moves beyond theory and beyond technology to discuss the realities of doing business in a digital-first world. I’m Cecilia Edwards…

Jimit Arora: …and I’m Jimit Arora. Each month we bring you a discussion that digs into the details of what it means, fundamentally, to execute a digital transformation that creates real business results.

This month, we are going to talk about the impact automation has on an organization’s ability to continue operating during times of crisis. We are all familiar with some of the top of mind benefits of automation, such as reducing costs, increasing productivity, ensuring high availability, increasing reliability, and optimizing performance. Another use case that is frequently deployed – but may not have been as top of mind before the COVID-19 crisis as it is today – is the protection of human life. When human life is at risk, availability naturally takes a back seat. Yet we have examples, both historic and current, where automation is being used to simultaneously address both of these objectives.

Cecilia, why don’t we start with an experience that is personal for you – and that is the form of automation deployed after the Challenger exploded back in 1986.

CE: You’re right, Jimit. This accident was an integral part of the start of my professional career. After graduating from college, I was commissioned as an officer in the US Air Force and worked on the Titan Space Launch Program at Vandenberg AFB in California. So, what does that have to do with the shuttle?

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A Titian IV Centaur rocket launches here Oct. 19. The rocket is the largest unmanned space booster used by the Air Force. The vehicle carries payloads equivalent to the size and weight of those carried on the space shuttle. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Photo credits: U.S. Air Force

Back in the ‘80s we had grown accustomed to successful launches of space shuttles, and deeming them safe, we sent politicians, royalty, and civilians on missions. The 25th mission, the 10th for the Challenger, ended in disaster, blowing up just 73 seconds into flight and killing all on board, including a school teacher. This incident rightfully grounded the shuttle program for almost three years as the investigation and remediation procedures were put in place to ensure there would not be a repeat.

One of the functions the shuttle performed was to launch satellites, in particular large satellites, for the US Air Force. With the shuttle grounded, the Air Force was left with no means of completing its mission of putting several large satellites into orbit. Instead of waiting it out, the Air Force made a determination that injecting a satellite into orbit really didn’t require a human, and the Titan IV program was born.

The Titan IV was an unmanned space launch vehicle with flexibility to configure the payload to match that of the space shuttle. In other words, anything that could be launched on the shuttle could also be launched on the Titan IV.

The Air Force chose to automate the launch of the remaining satellites to resume the mission more quickly and to reduce the risk to human life going forward. People worked to prepare the satellite and rocket and then launch remotely, from a control room about 20 miles away. Future disasters would be costly only in dollars, not lives.

Jimit, what do you see as the lesson companies can take away from this story as they contemplate their automation strategies?

JA: Just because you have always done something a certain way doesn’t mean you shouldn’t challenge your assumptions. What might have been the only option at one point might be outdated; you should consider other technology solutions.

Assume that at some point something will go wrong. How long will your operations be shut down if the loss of human life is a part of an incident? Can you identify ways to eliminate or minimize the risk to people so your business can quickly recover?

Given the massive loss of jobs we are witnessing right now, on the surface, it seems a bit thoughtless to be considering navigation solutions for a crisis of the type we are experiencing that would result in the loss of additional jobs. It is actually a misconception that automation necessarily results in disadvantages for the displaced humans. That wasn’t the experience at Rio Tinto.

Rio Tinto is the world’s second-largest metals and mining corporation, producing iron ore, copper, diamonds, gold, coal, and uranium. I don’t know if you have ever seen pictures, but these mines are humongous holes in the ground; trucks are required to move the mined resources. It is a very dangerous job to drive these trucks and the mines are located in very remote locations. Not the ideal working conditions.

In 2008, Rio Tinto began deploying automation, in particular, a fleet of self-driving trucks to perform this dangerous task. This allowed them to run safer operations that were more efficient – self-driving trucks don’t get sleepy – and lower production costs.

GettyImages 1152425530
Photo credits: Getty Images

But what was the impact on the people? They were able to reskill, upskill, and redeploy their people to safer and higher-value tasks. This technology has enabled them to create new career pathways and with investments and innovation in training, they believe their adaptability will be a key factor of their longer-term success.

CE: As other companies are thinking about increasing automation, here are some of the people considerations they should take into account:

  • Ensure you have people to work on the technology
  • Consider the implications of a blended workforce – you don’t necessarily need to get rid of people. Use the technology to make them more productive if you plan on having a blended automated and human workforce
    Side note: when Henry Ford introduced the assembly line – a major new innovation of the time – instead of people losing their jobs, with the increased productivity, they were able to produce cars at a lower price point that led to an expanded market for cars. He ended up hiring more people to keep up with the demand.
  • Train people for their new, higher-value jobs

Digital Reality Check Points

JA: Humans ought to matter to business as much as costs do. We can take a few lessons from the past that provide a guidepost on how protecting your people is protecting your business. As we do every month, we’ll share three of these lessons, our Digital Reality Check Points, that you can apply to your business.

  1. Understand the tasks in your business that are dangerous for humans to perform and determine whether there is an automation or other technology solution to protect them.
  2. Plan for humans to work alongside any technology solutions you deploy.
  3. Seek opportunities for your more efficient automated and human processes to be leveraged as an advantage in the marketplace.

Please check us out at www.everestgrp.com, or follow us on LinkedIn at jimitarora and ceciliaedwards. If you’d like to share your company’s story or have a digital topic you would like us to explore, reach out to us at [email protected]

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How to Navigate the COVID-19-Led Economic Downturn (and Thrive in the Recovery) | Webinar

60-minute webinar delivered live on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 | 1 p.m. CDT, 2 p.m. EDT, 7 p.m. BST, 11:30 p.m. IST

Download and view the presentation

The spread of COVID-19 has wreaked major havoc on financial markets around the world. Although much remains uncertain – especially as necessary social distancing measures broaden and extend – it’s clear an economic shockwave is upon us.

First in a series, this webinar will provide insights on how to evaluate your sourcing strategy to ensure your organization effectively traverses the downturn and thrives when the recovery – both from the pandemic and the economic bust – begins.

You’ll gain valuable insights from our experts, including answers to questions such as:

  • What costs within the structure of your IT and business processing services can be addressed at this time?
  • How are your business processes potentially preventing you from fully realizing the value of your IT investments in scale, automation, resiliency and predictive management?
  • Why should you think about recovery when the downturn is still taking shape?

Who should attend and why?
This session will help leaders across organizations calibrate their current response efforts to strengthen their organizations position in the short term and position themselves for future opportunities:

  • CFOs, Finance executives
  • IT executives
  • Heads of global shared services centers
  • CPOs, heads of procurement and sourcing, category managers
  • Outsourcing strategy leaders, IT/BPO department heads, vendor managers

Presenters

Cecilia Edwards
Partner
Everest Group

Todd Hintze
Managing Partner
Everest Group

What Is Your Post-COVID-19 M&A Strategy | Blog

The International Monetary Fund has recently confirmed what most of us already know – we have entered a recession. Given the evolving COVID-19 situation, in the short-term, organizations are doing their best just to implement business continuity plans and keep the lights on. At this point, they simply don’t have the bandwidth to take a forward-looking view.

However, now – or at least very soon – maybe the best time to be bold – to consider the opportunity to slingshot through and out of the recession with a strong M&A strategy.

Increasing acquisition activity

As part of our technology research over the past few years, we’ve analyzed innovative firms (which we call Trailblazers) to identify high potential start-ups based on their growth stories, innovation, and the impact they have created in the market.

More recently, we’ve seen an uptick in M&A activity across the IT services market as organizations have sought exponential inorganic growth to expand their geographic footprints and/or fill gaps across their services portfolios. (See the exhibit below.)

timeline of acquisitions of high potential start ups presented by everest group 1

How we expect the recession to impact this activity

Although this has been an acquisition-rich industry in recent years, everything is completely different now – the post COVID-19 market is clearly headed straight into recession, or worse. If previous recessions are any indication, M&A activity is likely to take a hit. While we believe M&A activity in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic will be subdued, we also believe there will be some interesting opportunities for those willing to invest some thinking and strategizing.

Is now the right time for you to consider M&As?

As the world adjusts to the next normal following the pandemic, some specific technologies/tools are likely to see a surge in adoption, including cloud, collaboration and CX, network and security, IoT and edge, to name a few. These technologies will play an important role in ensuring business resiliency and serving a distributed and remote workforce.

Within this context, a well-planned acquisition strategy can enable competitive advantage for those organizations willing – and able – to take a bold approach. We believe this segment-specific activity will be further fueled by:

  • Lower valuations: Most start-ups take a relationship-based selling approach, with about 80% of their revenue coming from a few high-value, large clients or markets. As the recession deepens, start-ups that are highly dependent on a few clients and markets will struggle to survive, lowering their valuation and increasing their propensity to be acquired. The lower cost of capital and the impact of the financial stimulus are also going to provide acquirers an impetus to re-examine their M&A playbooks. One such example is Magic Leap, which is looking at opportunities to be acquired as the hardware sector faces threats from the COVID-19 crisis, the impending recession, and the trade war between the US and China. Cash-rich organizations (PE/VC firms, service providers, and BigTech companies) are already looking at leveraging their balance sheets amidst this downturn
  • An opportunity to fill portfolio gaps: As growth across IT services is expected to soften for the foreseeable future, now may be the time – and the price may be right – for organizations to augment their capabilities, expand their addressable market, and increase their top line

We are already seeing interest from acquiring firms focused on cloud services (AWS, Azure, GCP), enterprise platform adoption (capabilities in ServiceNow and Salesforce), network services, and security, to name a few. As we approach the fallout from the pandemic, a range of investors will be eyeing the technology sector for M&A opportunities, and we believe there will be a lot of activity. Picking the right segment bets and timing these initiatives will be crucial.

What is your post-COVID-19 M&A Strategy? Please write to us at [email protected] and [email protected].

COVID-19 Highlights Life Sciences’ Need for an Adaptable Supply Chain | Blog

With cases topping one million globally, governments and health care agencies across the world are working to contain the spread of COVID-19 through several safety measures including the complete lockdown of high-risk countries. While this might prove effective in controlling the pandemic, enterprises across multiple industries are struggling to mitigate its growing impact on the supply chain.

Forced quarantine in manufacturing countries like China has significantly affected major industries including automotive, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices and supplies, highlighting the limitations in their existing supply chain models. The impact on the overarching life sciences industry is particularly acute, because it cuts across the entire ecosystem, and could potentially enable the spread of COVID-19 due to the diminishing supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients and medical supplies such as masks and hand sanitizers from the key supplier, China.

Despite acknowledging the risks of a single sourcing strategy, many organizations in the life sciences industry continue to work with a single supplier in low-cost regions like China and India to capitalize on their lower costs for labor and materials. This is risky in and of itself. And it also results in sub-contracting situations that lack transparency into the tier-2 and tier-3 suppliers, which further complicates risk management.

Here are our suggestions for how organizations in the life sciences industry can combat the global supply chain crisis:

  • Move beyond traditional and short-term remedial measures and devise a long-term proactive strategy with risk mitigation measures in place, at least for tier-1 and tier-2 suppliers. For tier-3 suppliers and beyond, at the minimum understand the potential risks involved
  • Establish a robust supplier monitoring system that maps sub-tier dependencies to ensure effective and efficient execution of risk mitigation strategies
  • Invest in infrastructure and technology that ensures transparency across the global supply chain, and next-generation supply chain management software that leverages technologies such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data analytics to gain real-time visibility into the supply chain
  • Develop predictive models that account for uncertainties and risk factors to realistically assess supply and demand and modify sourcing strategy as needed. These models can also help in running simulations to better define the associated impact, which in turn can serve as input for building comprehensive risk management programs

Despite the extra costs associated with building a proactive supply chain and qualifying multiple suppliers, doing so allows organizations to rapidly respond in pandemic-like situations, thereby reducing reliance on inventory management. Building an adaptable supply chain model that remains operational under any critical situation is the key to managing sourcing risk and avoiding global supply chain disruptions.

Please share your views on the impact of COVID-19 on the global supply chain with us at [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected].

 

Disturbing Business Trend From COVID-19 Crisis | Blog

I’m speaking with company leaders in many industries as they grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic and global economic crisis. For the most part, they focus on getting essential services up and running and understanding the implications of their workforce working from home.

When we step back and view progress to date, consider the enormity of the challenge. Millions of people now work from home, thanks to an intricate web of ecosystems. We’re still able to access our banks and conduct business. We’re still able to use credit cards. We’re still able to buy groceries.

Read my blog on Forbes

Growing at a Steady 9% Pace, IT Services in Life Sciences Drives Advancements in Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Supply Chain | Press Release

Nearly $4.5 billion of life sciences IT services deal up for grabs over 2020-2021

Speed to market is the primary focus of biopharmaceutical and medical device firms when it comes to their investment in life sciences IT services (ITS), a market which is expected to grow at a steady 9% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2025, according to Everest Group.

Nearly $4.5 billion of life sciences IT services deal are up for grabs over 2020-2021. Everest Group research shows that these deals will be led by digital initiatives such as artificial-intelligence-assisted drug discovery, leveraging real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE) to make clinical trials more accurate, industry 4.0 to automate manufacturing, and responsive supply chains.

Everest Group reports that although biopharmaceutical companies and medical device firms have traditionally devoted the largest share of their ITS investments to manufacturing (31% share) and sales and marketing (25% share), research and development (R&D) has become the fastest growing segment of life sciences ITS expenditures. ITS investments in clinical/device trials and drug discovery/device product development are expected to grow at rates of 15% and 12% respectively through 2025.

“Rising drug prices have become a major concern for healthcare payers, governments and patients, especially since drug and device efficacy and outcomes have not been improving in line with the increasing prices,” explained Nitish Mittal, vice president at Everest Group. “As life sciences firms face pushback on pricing as well as pressure from competitive forces, they can and will look to the IT services landscape for innovative platforms and solutions for R&D functions. As a result, we expect the life sciences R&D segments to witness a healthy growth in demand for IT services in the 12-15% range, compared to an 8-9% growth rate for the life sciences ITS market as a whole.”

Digital transformation has been identified as a strategic imperative by many life sciences enterprises, with particularly emphasis on leveraging enormous amounts of health data now available from electronic health records (EHR), clinical trials, wearables, health apps, genomic sequencing, social media and many other sources. Enterprises are looking at AI-driven systems to leverage this RWD. For example, about 60% of biopharmaceutical companies currently use machine learning to analyze RWD; 95% expect to use it in the future.

ITS providers are significantly ramping up their digital capabilities to cater to this need. Everest Group predicts that numerous high-growth segments in the life sciences ITS market will exceed 10% CAGR from 2020 to 2025, including the following:

  • Clinical trials management (13-15%): Top demand themes will be pharmacovigilance (PV) automation, pragmatic trials using real-world data (RWD) and real-world evidence (RWE), and virtual trials enablement.
  • Personalized and efficient drug discovery (14-16%): Top demand themes will be genomics data analysis and drug repurposing solutions.
  • Patient engagement (16-18%): Top demand themes will be digital therapeutics and Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), including mobile apps, patient portals and smart devices. Patient monitoring and health interventions will be top demand themes as well.
  • Omni-channel marketing support (10-12%): Top demand themes will be customer analytics to measure success of different marketing channels, and customer cohort segmentation and engagement through customized digital marketing campaigns.

Everest Group shares these findings and more in its recently published report, Life Sciences State of the Market – Key Trends, Service Provider Performance in 2019, and Outlook for 2020. This report examines the global 2019 life sciences ITS service provider landscape and covers themes expected to garner greater interest in 2020. It analyzes key market trends and provides a snapshot of all the life sciences IT services PEAK Matrix® assessments carried out in 2019.

***Download a complimentary abstract of the report***

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. Our clients include leading global enterprises, service providers, and investors. Through our research-informed insights and deep experience, we guide clients in their journeys to achieve heightened operational and financial performance, accelerated value delivery, and high-impact business outcomes. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com.

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Covid-19 Propels Healthcare Providers to Accelerate Shift to Telehealth and Digital-First Models—Everest Group | Press Release

Surge in telehealth necessitates investments in analytics, automation, IoT, and cloud infrastructure to enable distributed and scalable care models

Healthcare providers, historically slow to pursue digital transformation, are being forced to jump on the digital bandwagon. According to Everest Group, the surge in telehealth to meet the demands being placed on the healthcare ecosystem by COVID-19 will accelerate healthcare providers’ investment in digital technologies.

Prior to the coronavirus pandemic, Everest Group predicted that healthcare providers would increase spending on digital IT services by more than 15% by 2025. The firm now expects higher investment and a shorter timeline.

“The digital adoption levels in the healthcare provider market had been relatively low, but healthcare response to COVID-19 will accelerate digital adoption,” said Chunky Satija, practice director at Everest Group. “The pandemic is a forcing function, necessitating that healthcare providers future-proof their technology estate—led by investment in analytics, automation, IoT, and cloud infrastructure—to enable distributed and scalable care models such as telehealth and telemedicine.”

Healthcare providers historically have been mired down by their legacy and disintegrated IT systems and by regulations that have had the unfortunate consequence of incentivizing them to maintain the status quo. But that’s not an option anymore, particularly as healthcare providers scramble to meet the unprecedented needs of a world disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today’s new models of healthcare delivery, including telemedicine and telehealth, offer great potential for enabling remote healthcare management and better access to care, both during the current crisis and henceforth. However, these new models of care delivery require more widespread digital adoption. Automation, analytics and IoT are the biggest areas of opportunity.

Other opportunities likely to emerge in the healthcare provider space in 2020 include the following:

  • Data monetization. The emergence of a data exchange platform is likely to spur revenue generation for companies holding data assets.
  • Cloud adoption to improve clinical data handling. The use of cloud-based platforms for management of disparate data sources allows for seamless collaboration across multiple stakeholders.
  • Rising stringency of healthcare policies. Due to regulatory changes (such as CMS hospital price transparency requirements recently announced and effective January 1, 2021), providers must establish efficient channels and methods to disclose cost and price-sharing information to patients.

Everest Group shares these findings in its recently published report, Healthcare Provider State of the Market – Trends, Service Provider Performance in 2019, and Outlook for 2020. This report examines existing trends in the healthcare provider space and how they are impacting providers’ decisions. It also provides a snapshot of the PEAK Matrix® healthcare assessments that Everest Group carried out in 2019.

The report includes an overview of the marketplace pressures impacting the strategic decisions of healthcare providers, such as:

  1. BigTech claiming space in healthcare. BigTechs such as Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google are invading the healthcare market, bringing technologically advanced solutions that aim to drastically improve overall physician and patient experience.
  2. Providers adopting value-based care (VBC). The shift to align healthcare provider incentives with quality of care and health outcomes of patients requires an unprecedented level of data sharing and usage.
  3. The advent of business models of coexistence. To improve patient outcomes and reduce costs, hospitals and health systems are joining forces, providers are partnering with payers, and accountable care organizations (ACOs) are on the rise. These new business models require integration of infrastructure, data and IT management and spur uptake of technologies such as IoT for remote healthcare, analytics to guide interventions, and mobility for intuitive patient portals and information exchange.
  4. Rise in consumerism. Patients increasingly expect healthcare to be delivered as a digital service, but also expect their healthcare information be secure and protected.

***Download a complimentary abstract of the report***

About Everest Group
Everest Group is a consulting and research firm focused on strategic IT, business services, engineering services, and sourcing. Our clients include leading global enterprises, service providers, and investors. Through our research-informed insights and deep experience, we guide clients in their journeys to achieve heightened operational and financial performance, accelerated value delivery, and high-impact business outcomes. Details and in-depth content are available at http://www.everestgrp.com.

Impact Of Coronavirus Threat To The IT Services Industry | Blog

Clearly, the coronavirus (COVID-19) already has an impact on the global economy and broader market. Companies are cancelling conferences and events. They are closing their campuses to outsiders. Travel is restricted. And in some instances, companies impose a work-from-home policy. In the IT and BPO services industry, decision-making is stalled, and we already see clients cancelling planned contracts.

How bad is the disruption to the services industry? It will have a negative impact on revenue growth in the next quarter (ending in June 2020) and potentially in several quarters to come. New projects will be postponed or cancelled. This is because, first, companies simply cannot buy complicated services without some form of travel. Second, any large initiatives require executive support and energy, and they won’t have time to push contracts forward during the next few months.

Read more in my blog on Forbes

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to access all our COVD-19 related insights.

The UK’s Perfect Storm: Brexit, EU Workers Returning Home, IR35 Changes, and Coronavirus | Blog

Businesses in the UK are facing a spate of challenges; there’s the specter of new Brexit-driven red tape on trade, a staffing shortage as some EU workers are returning to their home countries, and UK changes to the IR35 contract worker tax legislation, which is making it very difficult for companies to hire contractors. A Coronavirus pandemic could be the final straw that breaks businesses’ backs. Let’s face it – there is a perfect storm ahead.

With Brexit and the EU trade negotiations still going on, there is little certainty about the red tape that businesses will face in order to trade with each other across the English Channel. Yet, with the transition period set to end on 31 December 2020, there is little time for businesses to prepare for whatever the new trade requirements may ultimately be.

Because adherence to the as yet unclear regulations will increase businesses’ workloads, a natural response would be to hire more staff. But unemployment is at record low, and many skilled EU workers are leaving the UK and returning to their home countries. Furthermore, the UK Office of National Statistics (ONS) reports that EU immigration to the UK is at an all-time low.

The HMRC’s new IR35 rules, which come into effect in April 2020, are exacerbating the problem. Many companies have had to adopt no-contractor hiring policies and cannot fill temporary vacancies. They are already feeling the impact of the regulation. If they can’t hire staff or contractors, where are companies going to find resources to handle the extra workload of trade red tape?

Additionally, widespread cases of the Coronavirus could lead to prolonged periods of sick leave, further reducing the number of staff who are available to help with the increased workload of trading with the EU. While cases are still far and few between in the UK, the impact of the spread of the disease in China has been great. Empty offices and factories in Chinese cities and manufacturing heartlands are already leading to a shortage of parts for cars and other products that are much in demand in the UK.

Clearly, UK businesses are facing a perfect storm.

Investing in digital and Intelligent Automation (IA) technologies can help them tackle some red tape issues, particularly if they use IA for what I call Red Tape Automation (RTA). This could be automation of compliance form-filling and reporting requirements, weights and measure conversions, or making changes to transaction or product-related data and synchronizing them across multiple systems such as those used for sales and revenue to record value added taxes and other duties. Companies that trade with both EU and non-EU countries could automate the red tape for all of those, using rules engines to fill in the right forms and apply the correct rates.

IA is not a perfect solution, as people will be needed to implement technology, and there is a growing talent shortage. Nonetheless, UK businesses will be well served by investing in learning the art of the possible with IA. While the final details of any trade deals with the EU, or new deals with the rest of the world, will not be known for a while, knowing how to implement the requirements quickly using IA can help them weather the impending storm.

For more information about IA, please check out Everest Group’s Service Optimization Technologies research.

Visit our COVID-19 resource center to access all our COVD-19 related insights.

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