Although there is no written-in-stone means of thriving during this chaotic new normal, Softtek welcomes a panel of experts to discuss a strategic approach inspired by a modern Japanese form of martial arts.
Like many martial art forms, Aikido is “a type of self-defense, in which you hold and throw your opponent and use his or her own movements.” However unlike many other fighting styles, it does not leverage brute strength and is instead based on the principle of disarming the threat without causing physical harm.
Softtek CMO, Alex Camino, relates the concept’s ideation to the general economic surplus we saw near the end of 2019, which was then followed by a swift decline: “We were in a growing economy… we were on the offensive… And suddenly, the pandemic hits us and puts on the defensive.”
Among many players, any cost-optimization strategy during hard times is generally seen as a good thing. However, this isn’t always the case, as former Forrester analyst and current SVP of Marketing for Softtek, Stephanie Moore, introduces faux shields— defensive cost strategies that look great on the surface, but derail savings and true modernization in the long run.
The future is here, and we have the technology to help us leave these common, yet flawed defensive techniques in the past, replacing them with modern and strategic alternatives. And as we will continue to see reiterated, the trick is to invest with value, not cost, in mind.
Shafqat Azim of ISG takes a customer-data-and-research-driven approach to explore how businesses impacted by Covid-19 can realize the highest value in their digital initiatives.
While Covid-19 has brought liquidity and profitability issues to about 2/3 of ISG’s clients, the remaining 1/3 (particularly those in industries like life sciences and healthcare) deal with the overwhelming increase in demand brought upon them in a very short amount of time. No matter the challenge, survival is key for all players before entering the “Three Horizons” identified through ISG research.
Across these Three Horizons, Azim identifies a common denominator: How do you recognize value from your ongoing investments?
ISG leverages a “digital value assessment,” using data from over 550 organizations to evaluate the capabilities, level of investment and business value realized (in the form of revenue, customer retention or operational efficiency) from digital initiatives.
Since the top 25% of these businesses have shown significantly above average numbers, their recipes for success were able to be studied and put into capability groupings:
Anja A. Allen of Ernst & Young begins by reminding us to take a step back and think about other events that have drawn change on a global scale. Humanity has dealt with plenty throughout history, and we can learn from it (read more).
“As much as we feel that our life is out of our control, there’s typically a pattern to these things; there’s always order and chaos” – Anja A. Allen
Ernst and Young has found with its clients that it’s not good to fall into the cycle of mindless cost cutting, but it’s also not good to be overly tactical. Instead, success comes from coordinating cost-cutting initiatives and transformations for the future; we must embrace the new norm and adopt new ways of doing business.
Unfortunately, embracing today’s change is hard for many organizations. It’s human nature to pursue things that are familiar.
Embracing new norms and adopting new business models places even more prominence on technology, and fundamentally different approaches to the way that technology is delivered. There are 3 things to consider:
Softtek Managing Director for the US Beni Lopez revisits a topic from the past webinar, with a refreshed outlook.
If cost reduction wasn’t a primary concern for your organization in January 2020, like the rest of the world, with the exception of a few outliers, it likely secured a top spot in lockstep with the start of the “Great Shutdown.” Cost optimization is also the first step in laying the groundwork for a digital future. This step has ideally been completed already, but includes:
Also mentioned in a previous webinar, businesses must identify, protect and enable their “A team,” talent who have adopted and adapted with more fluidity and confidence. More analytics and AI are one way to enable these individuals to continue creating above-average value in their projects.
Organizations who have adopted any combination of the strategies highlighted will have freed up a substantial amount of financial and talent resources, allowing for new business models, new lines of service and an understanding of new expectations related to customer experience.
We live in the best of times to deal with the worst of circumstances. Even before the pandemic, the word ‘disruptive’ has become an exemplary aspect of the aggregate business environment. And in dealing with all things disruptive, we have learned to better adapt. It is through these adaptations that even the most unlikely businesses to survive have shown resiliency—grocery stores have become pickup centers, movie theaters have become streaming platforms and healthcare players have expanded digital capabilities in record time to keep up with unprecedented demand.
Hasty cost take-outs have been proven to destroy future resiliency, demonstrating the need to be strategic in our adaptations. We must leverage strategic partnerships with an “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” attitude. We must avoid tunnel visioning a cost-focused mindset, with the consideration that sustainably reducing costs may require an initial expenditure through hiring consultants or contracting different digital projects. We must stop yearning for the old way of doing things and embrace the inevitable change.
Finally, in returning to the Aikido reference, sometimes the best offense is defense. If we keep an eye on the enemy’s movements, we can use the force imposed upon us to make it out in one piece, or better yet, in a more advantageous position than before.