This is post #2 of the series, "Business in the era of Covid-19"
As we mentioned in our last post, the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized the reality that even companies with robust contingency plans were not “prepared.” Fortunately, digital technology has provided us with options to keep businesses—even whole industries—afloat, to maintain productivity, to identify and eradicate operational problems, and even to expand market share.
In the past, municipalities and businesses across the globe have prioritized infrastructure investments to protect against physical threats. Things such as building evacuation simulations and business continuity plans (BCPs) pertaining to physical infrastructure are commonplace for many businesses. But coronavirus carries with it a new lesson: pandemics place immense pressure on a company’s technology infrastructure.
Fortunately there are ways to relieve much of this pressure, as investing in the expansion of digital channels is in many ways like buying insurance—the kind that not only protects and increases resilience amidst crises, but also with the potential to boost the bottom line and spin continuous business growth into action.
The idea that organizations must undergo digital transformation in order to grow, reduce costs and boost the bottom line is commonly accepted. What’s new for most companies, however is the idea that digital maturity is the most important variable in competing during and after the pandemic.
We have identified several categories of digital solutions that, combined or standalone, serve as enablers for different digital business objectives. We will introduce them in this post, then dedicate a post to each specific category later in this series:
Situations like pandemics, infestations, destruction of physical infrastructure, etc., could render the office inhabitable for an unspecified amount of time. Unable to work at the office, employees must work from home or other areas with public internet connections. Lacking the secure internet connection provided by the office puts sensitive data at risk of being stolen. Furthermore, being void of the collaborative, in-person environment creates accessibility issues such as hosting meetings and exchanging information.
Solutions in this category leverage digital technology and platforms to preserve collaboration, operating hours, mobility and productivity.
If brick and mortar business see a decline in traffic and/or customer satisfaction, if digital legacy systems become unstable or unable to support current usage, or if a global or regional crisis nullifies brick and mortar business channels, it’s time to augment ecommerce and reinforce digital delivery throughput.
Solutions in this category create a digital core capable of preserving or increasing market share as well as improving or creating new digital experiences.
Competition, crises and tight margins underscore the need for optimized IT operations.
Solutions in this category leverage automation to identify hidden IT budget leaks, uncover waste and detect opportunities for improvement.
In a fast-moving and unpredictable business environment, such as the one we’re currently experiencing, maintaining real-time visibility of core business functions is imperative to decision-making and insight as they relate to operational, technology and critical back-end data.
Solutions in this category leverage cognitive automation and real-time dashboards to rapidly assess the data that is essential to the modern business.
Although the preceding categories are powerful facilitators of a digitally enabled organization, every business is different, and some require highly specific or highly customized approaches. Navigating this fast-changing environment requires agility, fresh thinking, and perhaps now more than ever, unique and out-of-the-box solutions to prepare businesses for today and for the new normal.