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Digital Transformation

Fortune Features Salesforce’s Peter Schwartz on How Businesses Should Balance Risk and Opportunity During the Pandemic

“This is the greatest level of uncertainty I’ve seen—ever,” said Salesforce SVP of Strategic Planning Peter Schwartz, in a Fortune story. “I’ve been through the oil crises of the 1970s, several financial crises, the attacks of 9/11, and two different Iraq wars. It all pales next to this.”

The story, by Brian O’Keefe, includes input from futurists and strategists on how businesses should balance risk and opportunity during the coronavirus crisis. They note that businesses have many unanswered questions as they navigate their paths forward.

“Something that is really risky has two features,” Hersh Shefrin told Fortune. Shefrin is a professor at Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and an expert in behavioral finance. “The first is that the consequences induce a sense of dread. Second, there’s a great deal of uncertainty, so we don’t feel we have control.”

“This is a time when data matters more than gut,” added Amy Webb, Co-Founder and CEO of The Future Today Institute. “And certainly more than, ‘Well, this is what we’ve always done in the past.’ ”

Schwartz, a noted futurist, recently worked with Deloitte on a series of possible scenarios for the outcome of the COVID-19 crisis. They are available here, and range from outcomes featuring effective responses that restore normalcy, to outcomes that feature a much more prolonged recovery. Meanwhile, Salesforce has announced Work.com – new technology solutions and resources to help business and community leaders around the world reopen safely, re-skill employees and respond efficiently during the pandemic.

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