The COVID-19 global pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation journeys of businesses worldwide. Stay-at-home orders and social distancing efforts have forced companies to adopt new ways of doing things, which include using digital tools to communicate, collaborate, and track overall progress. So saying that digital transformation has been in the spotlight ever since the pandemic hit feels redundant.
What isn’t redundant is how the digital transformation itself has changed. Pre-pandemic transformations were mostly driven by customer-centric needs and a desire for more efficient and flexible processes, but the post-pandemic digital transformation journey is different. Workforce health and safety, increased communication and collaboration, social distancing, and a higher degree of adaptability are now all deciding factors for digital transformations.
This shows that digital transformation is a challenging process as it requires to adapt to new challenges in real-time while also needing a faster pace of adoption to ensure business continuity. Even though digital transformation is challenging, it’s become clear that there’s no future for most businesses without it. Here’s what you can expect to find in your digital transformation journey:
From relevant to critical
Your business will enjoy several benefits when you digitise your processes, which will result in a noticeable competitive advantage over companies who haven’t done the same. Digital transformation went from being a relevant shift to a critical step in line with the COVID-19 outbreak.
This is why you need to embark on a holistic and strategic transformation for your businesses. By digitising your business, you’ll be able to retain and grow your customer base while operating more efficiently and adapt to the ever-changing market dynamics. You need to understand the changes the pandemic has introduced and the trends it has boosted. Here are a few of them:
Health and security
A health crisis always brings changes to everyday life, especially when it has a far-reaching impact. Many people are talking about the post-pandemic world and how it will change the office culture. Most talks revolve around health and safety concerns for everybody, and how office structures and overall workflow will change.
Digital transformation processes won’t be an exception to these health-related changes. It’s time to start considering digital assets to help protect your workforce and clients, while also helping to prevent new outbreaks. This means leveraging different technologies that you may not have thought of, such as Internet of Things devices, wearable technology for telehealth, and integrated solutions to monitor it all.
The new business context amid the pandemic forced the majority of businesses to reinvent themselves to keep going. Many had to shift to new channels to reach customers and distribute their products. The entire shift toward new distribution channels is a challenge, especially since most of these are digital, which poses a problem for companies who hadn’t even started their digital transformation journey.
The massive migration to these new channels will impact entire markets with unforeseeable consequences. At the same time, new distribution channels will bring new business rules and customer demands. It’s up to you as a business owner to define which channels you will embrace during your digital transformation, and how you can leverage them to stand out from your competitors.
The digitisation of businesses implies changes in the workforce. The digital transformation process means you’ll have to work alongside software development companies, QA outsourcing teams, software testing engineers, and other IT professionals to help get your transformation going.
This is a challenge in itself as you’ll have to compete for the same talent with a lot of other businesses on their transformation journeys. You must consider different journeys to access this talent, especially outsourcing tasks and entire projects. Staffing services can also work well, provided you take on the mentality shift to work with expanded teams who can secure that talent.
This is a challenge that businesses reliant on physical stores are noticing the most, but that doesn’t mean other companies are free from their influence. The pandemic has accelerated emerging customer trends and fostered new ones, which forces businesses to respond to these new demands with the help of digital solutions.
Your digital transformation journey needs to take new customer demands into account to offer a proper experience. This is more than simply integrating an e-commerce section on your site. It also involves revamping your customer support to deliver quality attention over different channels, redefining your product distribution schemes, and adapting your offering to what customers expect today. This involves contactless deliveries and payments, consistent brand experience across different channels, and rapid adaptation to market changes.
Communication and collaboration
Many people will continue to work from home in the post-pandemic world. For a digital transformation, this implies that you’ll need more emphasis on communication and collaboration tools to bridge the gaps between your in-house and remote teams. Even though pre-pandemic digital transformations already had to deal with this challenge, the extent of remote work wasn’t even close to what we’ll see after the COVID-19 pandemic recedes.
New digital transformations will have to go beyond traditional integration tools like Zoom, Slack, and Discord to meet increasingly complex needs. This means embracing hybrid clouds, developing custom software, or adding new mobile solutions to a digital environment that must uphold the new work culture.
How to deal with the new digital transformations
Apart from the challenges mentioned above, there are other ones that you’ll find in your digital transformation. There’ll also be the typical challenges associated with the process such as changes to corporate culture, redefinition of the entire workflow, and task automation. The process will be more intricate in the post-pandemic world so you must understand how to tackle it without feeling frustrated. To do this, you can follow these three suggestions:
Have a crystal-clear motivation for your digital transformation
You need to be entirely sold on the idea of your digital transformation and have a clear understanding of it for it to succeed. Go beyond universal motivators like ‘having a competitive advantage’ or ‘being flexible’ and seek to uncover a more meaningful purpose. Seek to renew your sector through more sustainable practices or ensure innovation through an increase in diversified talent.
Track your progress
As obvious as this may seem, many businesses drop their digital transformation process midway because they don’t know what’s happening with it. It’s essential to track your transformation to see how it’s going, which must be visible to everyone on your team. The post-pandemic world will bring about a lot of changes so all your employees must know that you’re adapting to these changes in a continuous journey. Define relevant metrics for your primary motivator and keep an eye on them.
Spread the excitement about the transformation
Most people prefer to stick with what they know instead of embracing new things. This is especially true during a time of uncertainty. So you must get everyone in your team excited about and involved in the digital transformation. Since these processes always disrupt traditional workflows, it’s essential for your team to feel like they’re a part of the work that will reshape how they do things.