These days it seems like we went to sleep in one world and we woke up in a completely different world! Since the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, digital transformation is making an appearance in numerous business strategies. While factors like technology, changing human behavior and changes in business models usually drive digital transformation, a catastrophic pandemic has rapidly accelerated this.
Businesses heavily dependent on an offline, in-person workforce, and which in a pre-covid-era couldn’t rely on remote operations, are now being forced to think remote and digital. Banking, a few healthcare services, and e-tailing are primarily operating through digital media, with higher adoption numbers even in the elderly!
Whats changed? Digital Transformation is the new reality
Some changes across industries include -
- Work from home
Irrespective of the industry, a large percentage of organizations have implemented work from home strategies in order to ensure and support business continuity. While some firms already support remote work and have the suitable infrastructure to enable it, many firms have gone about implementing organization-wide ‘work-from-home’ and ensuring the supporting tech.
- On-demand food & services
Essentials, or critical necessities like food, groceries, sanitary items etc are moving to contactless-delivery.
Telemedicine and telehealth will be the new wave in healthcare, limiting physical contact and helping contain spread, as well as propagating new business models.
- Education & Learning
Many schools and universities are resorting to virtual lectures and classrooms.
While conferences and events had to be put on hold due to restrictions on travel and large gatherings, firms are opting for virtual conferences by leveraging conferencing and networking technology in order to retain the ‘event’ experience and deliver a superior virtual conference experience.
How can businesses be prepared for such situations and how to respond now
The pandemic has shown the value of IT & digital transformation and that this crisis can indeed be an opportunity businesses can leverage.
While such scenarios are obviously not preferable, they may well be like occasional uninvited guests for businesses. Which is why it is crucial to keep relevant contingency plans in place. While people and the economy influence innovation and the pace of advancement for businesses, we shouldn’t let our processes stagnate until other environmental factors dictate our transformation decisions.
New poll!— Brian Solis (@briansolis) April 15, 2020
Who's leading the #DigitalTransformation of your company?
In today’s COVID-19-stricken era, consumers are only opting to transact online! Despite a downturn with the unforeseeable economic changes, there are still opportunities for growth! Identify the opportunities in select geographies online or offline, and milk those sales channels. Focus on addressing operational hurdles specific to those channels and on improving the experience.
While a pandemic such as COVID-19, may force you to shut retail operations and rethink your distribution strategies, you need to ensure resilience of essential system operations. Back-end ops and online systems must still continue to serve customers’ needs. What’s most critical to ensure success is to keep a contingency plan in place, determine the bare essentials and ensure the supply in terms of resources is continuous.
Customers are essential for a business to thrive. The customer should be at the heart of your digital transformation strategy. Agility in delivering solutions and a superior customer experience at the end of the day are factors that drive customer loyalty and repeat business. Digitizing operations and processes to ensure your firm can meet these rapidly evolving customer needs in the medium of their preference is what will differentiate the successful businesses from the ones that are left behind.