The COVID19 crisis has forced businesses to adapt. They’ve had to act quickly, working hard to enable their workforces to operate from home, to serve their customers digitally rather than in person. Some have had to overhaul their entire business model in the space of a few short weeks.
This focus on short term demands is inevitable and necessary. But it has come at the expense of identifying digital weaknesses that impact productivity, and needs a long-term view to help businesses ensure they are fit for a new normal.
Prior to the pandemic, consumers and employees were demanding that businesses take more of a digital - in many cases digital-first - approach. Now that they’ve experienced companies stepping up to meet the short term demands of the crisis, the expectation is that these actions will be implemented in the long run as new ways of working continue to prove themselves to be more than just a quick-fix.
It’s not surprising then to see that Boston Consulting Group is reporting that 77% of companies across all industries plan to accelerate digital transformation in light of the events of the last few months.
After all, this is an opportunity to capitalise on the changes we have been forced to make and aim for digital transformation plans to go beyond merely keeping up with the pack and instead lead the way, making your digital strategy a competitive advantage in the new post-Covid world.
The short run transformations for continuity amidst the pandemic saw hardware delivered to employee homes and a period of adjustment as people acclimatised to using their suite of digital tools out of the office.
Now that these systems are firmly in operation, we expect to see this shift in behaviour persist beyond the pandemic.
But how should businesses prioritise their digital transformation plans? The first transformation imperative for business leaders in this instance has been to embrace digital solutions to help manage the crisis and succeed during turbulent times. The second is to accelerate digital transformation to become more resilient and take advantage of the new reality.
Whether you’re migrating to cloud services, enabling employees to work from home or delivering greater marketing automation, with everyone having access to the same digital tech stack, more needs to be done to get ahead.
The problem is that as more companies transition to the cloud and transform their digital ecosystem, the technology becomes less of a differentiating factor.
Ultimately it is the people of those businesses, the employees, suppliers and customers working with critical business applications that is the defining element for organisations to gain a competitive edge, using that human experience to understand where productivity is being lost and how to take action.
The COVID19 crisis is a huge opportunity for businesses to successfully introduce digital solutions to drive their business strategy. But only with visibility and control over an increasingly fragmented and third party dominated IT environment. And that means starting with the right data, reporting and insights - that put their employees and customers, their productivity and brand at their centre.
Traditional reporting on availability and performance of digital services is useful at an operational level, but it does not deliver the strategic business guidance as human experience does. The alternative - a bottom up approach that looks at all of the data available from the digital supply chain - only creates an unusable mountain of data.
To ensure the efficacy of digital transformations, businesses need scalable insights that collect the right data from across the digital supply chain and make relevant application-specific experience calculations to provide accurate and contextualised correlation analysis.
With these insights they can embrace the changes made in the short run - such as scaling IT support for flexible workforces and the extension of services to customers digitally - and seize on the opportunities that the 'new normal' presents.
The right analysis and reporting are what will enable organisations to continuously improve their newly transformed business models in the long run.
By knowing how it feels to work with business-critical tools, organisations can begin to implement the steps toward achieving gains in employee productivity and improve their wellbeing.
Now is the time for CIOs to step out of their traditional operational silos and lead the strategic conversation, implementing transformation using data to not only report what is happening today but deliver insights that ensure digital investment keeps their business ahead of the competition.