Digital Transformation in a Post-Pandemic World
“Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It’s also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment and get comfortable with failure.” - Enterprisers Project
Digital Transformation is quickly becoming a significant force in the business world, especially in the era of COVID-19. A survey of 373 information technology leaders regarding the burgeoning importance of digital transformation reported that 59 percent said “pressures stemming from the pandemic are accelerating their digital transformation efforts.”
This means that businesses are looking to digital transformation for one very basic reason - survival. Issues that the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to include:
Timely and nimble adaption to supply chain disruptions
Lead times from production line to the market
Rapidly changing customer expectations
How is Customer Behavior Changing?
Customer behavior has changed significantly since the pandemic forced lockdowns in many areas. Even in the areas where the lockdowns have been eased, customers have still adopted new habits that don’t appear to be going away.
Those habits include:
Focusing their purchases on basic needs. This was especially true in the first month or so of the pandemic and resulted in panic buying of certain staples such as paper towels, toilet paper and disinfecting wipes
Purchasing fewer non-essential items
Brand loyalty towards “buy local”
It is too early to have a clear picture of which of the most recent customer habits will stick after the pandemic disappears. Rodney Zemmel, a leader at McKinsey Digital, stated that when observing customer behavior “digital has been accelerating in just about all categories.”
The Employee Experience
Not only has the Coronavirus pandemic affected consumer experience and behavior, it has also impacted many employees’ working experience. A large share of work is now being done remotely as so many employees have found themselves working at home, whether or not they want to. As a result, digital technology for employees has progressed from the category of “nice to have” to “the only way work gets done.”
Digital transformation advice
As digital transformation becomes a more powerful force daily, here are a few pointers for business leaders seeking to step up their digital transformation efforts.
Business goals must align with digital transformation strategies
The first question that needs to be answered in the early stages of a digital transformation strategy is simple: “What business outcomes do you want to achieve for customers?”
Boldness when determining the scope
Digital transformations appear to be more successful if they are undertaken on a scale that involves an entire enterprise as opposed to being undertaken incrementally. Apparently, this approach helps chief information officers see the biggest bang from their tech investment bucks.
Be a trailblazer, not a follower
Many organizations rush to respond to rivals- reacting rather than taking preemptive steps. A more effective approach is to search for new digital strategies long before exhausting current profit sources. Such proactive solutions could utilize a mix of big steps to explore uncharted terrain while taking smaller steps to venture into adjacent markets. Organizations could lean heavily toward change before facing a situation that requires a direct response to the competition.
Encourage risk taking
In the same spirit of trailblazing, this strategy gives employees the opportunity to make decisions and learn quick lessons from any failures that result.
Partner with IT employees to co-create
Don’t just treat IT people as the repair squad for malfunctioning services. Instead, business leaders need to understand the technical services they are looking for so they can communicate effectively to their IT people, and then let them run with it.
Pursue adaptive design
This way CIOs can blaze a trail of weekly or monthly adjustments to the overall transformation plan as well as re-positioning employee talent when indicated.
Digital transformation is a strategy that cannot be ignored in the fast-paced world of business. Survival depends on digital nimbleness. However, a bold, powerful plan is necessary, even if adjustments happen along the way to fulfilling it.