Why Digital Transformation Remains Your Best Chance to Survive the COVID-19 Onslaught

As businesses face a never foreseen or imagined, straight out of a dystopian pandemic fiction situation, where sustenance is all that matters – digital transformation is providing them the means to weather the storm.

Those who embraced it in the past years seem to be winning the war against Covid-19 without fighting, and those who haven’t are fighting without winning.

A recent poll by Gartner has revealed that plans of nearly 60% CFOs factor in a scenario that includes a second wave of the pandemic.

Going forward, procrastinating agile working won’t be a choice, and making decisions on impulses instead of real data analysis won’t be less then hara-kiri. Isolated teams, overdependence on legacy technologies and processes, siloed data must give way to transformation in operations, experiences, and tech ecosystems. The only way to deal with this massive disruption is by adopting cost-efficient digitalization strategies and focusing on delivering uninterrupted value to customers.

A digital-first approach focussed at achieving nimbleness, developing lean operations, exploiting technology to your best advantage, and freeing up your people for more analytically inclined, complex tasks—remains at the heart of this change.

Even though surveys have shown time and again that organizations are either in the midst of or have already implemented a digital transformation strategy, Gartner has observed that the rate of digital change has been slow and disappointing.

Here’s how you can identify digital opportunities, to not just help you navigate the Covid-19 minefield but build competitive strengths for the future new normal.

Overcome executive inertia to bounce back and build resilience!

The pandemic has forced enterprises to wipe their strategy slate clean. Buy-in from the top management must be followed by precise planning around specific goals, metrics, and targets to address the top challenges quickly.

Analyze and ascertain what has led your competitors to strive and thrive during this pandemic? Turn this crisis into an opportunity, reset your focus on strategic priorities, even if it means working overtime alongside your external partners, who exist beyond your organization walls.

To respond to uncertainties with speed and flexibility, C- Suite executives must comprehend all the ramifications of the digital initiatives to the tee. They must adopt practices relevant to their business, clearly chalk out enterprise IT governance structure, establish accountability across the value chain, and figure out ingenious ways to re-engineer business processes.

Start by building an agile, advanced digital workplace

At the heart of your digital transformation success, lies identifying ways to make your workplace a capable space. Decide which new technologies need to brought in for maximum impact, along with facilitating tools adoption and training for the staff. Efforts should revolve strategy planning and business alignment, employee experience, governance, change management, metrics, and operations.

The digital workplace leaders, IT leadership, architects, and application leaders must all come together to visualize extended workforce communication, collaboration, and agility. Technological investments must be made; employees should be encouraged to adopt disruption so that opportunities are created to enhance productivity and efficiency through improved digital dexterity. Embracing a data-driven culture, automation, and advanced analytics can help mechanize and augment a range of tasks.

Use your ‘force multiplier’ resources to execute the technology strategy

Safeguarding the financial health of your enterprise by maintaining a steady and robust pipeline during the pandemic, is a must. Revamping technology for sales and service channels, establishing new systems for collaboration, enabling partners, vendors to function remotely should be your priority.

It cannot be left to your corporate IT only

Your force multipliers, the people who build innovative solutions and solve customer problems, must be brought into the fold. CIOs must ensure that consistency and cooperation are fostered to create an efficient digital foundation. It should be accompanied with distributed decision-making to allow business units, functions, and teams to make tactical decisions aligned with the broader corporate strategy. It will not only empower employees but also help in staving off from bureaucratic, top-down decision-making, which is often slow and listless.

This pandemic—revitalize your customers’ confidence in you

Your customers deserve your attention, and they deserve it now. Ask yourself: Will a flawless customer experience (that offers them convenience) in these troubling times, would better your equation with them? Would delivering personalized service and honouring timelines make them happier? Will consistency across all buying touchpoints engage them more? Would well-structured processes address their concerns or grievances faster? Whether higher efficiency within the company aid audits of customer activity trails —and will that help in putting correct and consistent messages across to customers, persuading them to buy again?

Well, guess what? No customer caring enterprise can afford to say ‘No’ to any of the above! A well-thought-out digital transformation strategy can help you respond to the change knocking on your doors via streamlined processes and customer-focused innovation.

Wrapping Up: Keep Defining and Measuring Success

As a silver lining, this pandemic offers the perfect opportunity to enterprise executives and decision-makers to chart out priorities and systematically address the gaps in their existing strategies. Whether or not they want to eliminate the usage of legacy systems, implement 3rd party technologies, choose efficient, affordable, scalable solutions— it should all be aligned with their future aims, resources, and capabilities at hand.

They must set goals, develop metrics that correspond with their digital business journey, assess what they need in digitalizing their existing business model in every possible area such as marketing, sales, operations, services, products, supply chain management or customer service, and tie it to their vision of higher growth and better ROI. Since the challenge enterprises face are often unique and complicated, there’s hardly any scope for a one-solution-fits-all approach.

So, home-in on what your needs are, and hop on to the bus to digital transformation. And remember, it’s never too late!

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Author: Shashin Shah

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