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Digital Transformation During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Companies / Internet Aug 29, 2020 - 06:47 PM GMT

By: Submissions


Digital transformation has never been so appealing for businesses affected by social distancing measures and other health restrictions. In fact, many digital practices have been the only possible option to ensure operations can continue. Organisations around the world have been forced to allow their staff members to work remotely, which has demanded a greater reliance on technology. Without the use of video conferencing, online tools and VPNs, working from home would be limited or the security compromised.  

Businesses of all sizes will usually find that external assistance is needed to ensure IT systems are always running smoothly. With the help of a great managed services provider, inefficiencies can be reduced and badly timed bottlenecks avoided.

What is digital transformation?

The term is often misused to describe initiatives of modernisation, possibly as a result of the marketing of solutions that are aimed at meeting multiple business needs. But much more than this, digital transformation operates at the core of an organisation. It must involve solutions that are part of a coherent, enterprise-wide strategy rather than disjointed applications. Forrester Research advocates an approach to digital transformation that is disruptive and innovative, resulting in market dominance.

In his book, Leading Digital: Turning Technology into Digital Transformation, George Westerman describes digital transformation as ‘a radical rethinking of how an organization uses technology, people and processes to fundamentally change business performance’. These remodelling stages that have become common for businesses in recent years have been precipitated by the emergence of multiple technologies with the potential to bring considerable impacts to industries. Such technologies include cloud computing, robotic process automation (RPA), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, among others.

In the coronavirus era, there are a number of things to take into consideration when planning and coordinating a digital transformation. IT consultancy and support are always available to create effective strategies and implement the most efficient solutions.

Cloud strategy

Migrating to the cloud either wholly or partially can represent a major operation for businesses. With a wide selection of software services, the cloud can be used for hosting software, web infrastructure and platforms, and it can provide essential operational services, such as backups and disaster recovery. A big question in strategy is whether you intend to use public or private cloud services, or hybrid services which combine the two. With more business processes and services hosted on the cloud, organisations will be better prepared for handling any future outbreaks or resurgences.

Business continuity

Business continuity plans are essential in times of crisis, as many businesses will have seen in 2020, but these are often lengthy and difficult to access when time is in short supply. While COVID-19 remains a threat, a more agile business continuity plan that can be readily applied is a better option. These should be practised on a more frequent basis, such as once a month. They should take into the account the fact that employees are probably working from home, which is likely to become a long-term arrangement.

Information security

Sadly, cybercrime has seen a massive increase since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus. A huge rise in the numbers of people working remotely exposes numerous vulnerabilities in corporate IT systems, which criminals are waiting to exploit. Businesses cannot afford to put corporate assets at risk, so the only answer is to take cybersecurity measures to the highest possible level. This should always be a first priority, but in the context of a digital transformation and a surge in cybercrime, it needs to play an even more central role.

Sales channels strategy

Sales and marketing strategies will need to be reworked to meet the demands of markets that may be very different following lockdown and social distancing measures. Customer behaviour has been fast changing and marketers need to be able to quickly respond to these changes. There is a much greater emphasis on online channels, and even a more affordable rate for pay-per-click advertising due to widespread budget cuts. Now could be a good time to reinvent your marketing approaches and implement solutions that automate and offer valuable insights.

Collaboration tools

In March of this year, it became clear that everyone would need to become more familiar with video conferencing and collaboration tools. But instead of a last-minute, haphazard approach that leaves room for countless errors and inefficiencies, an organisation is much better served by a clear policy and set of procedures that makes the most of the technology. Business accounts are usually the best option for collaboration within teams, and these vary depending on the requirements and budget. Security and scalability should be important considerations. 

Cultural transformation

With any digital transformation, it is essential that your workforce is onboard to reduce any difficulties caused by the disruptions. The adjustments need to be managed carefully to avoid having a detrimental effect on productivity and staff morale. There is always the fear that jobs will be replaced by machines, though this is not always the case as humans can progress to roles that need more creativity, imagination or intuition. But employees need to be able to adapt in their roles and be prepared to take on more testing and training, as well as adapting to agile workflows and a more decentralised and data-oriented environment.

Admittedly, a world that is deeply affected by COVID-19 is not the best set of circumstances for launching a digital transformation, but 2020 has already brought us an enormous disruption so there is no reason we can’t take things further. Businesses should seek expert consultation before beginning their digital transformation; then, it can be managed on a gradual basis if need be. Planning is paramount and disruption should be kept to a minimum. Then the changes brought about by the transformation may deliver astonishing results. 

By Samantha Waites

© 2020 Copyright Samantha Waites - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.

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