Imran Zaman The founder of CALLTHEPM.COM Blog. He works as a Digital Transformation Consultant for FTSE 500 companies. Writer on themes such as Project Management, Technology and Innovation.

Digital Transformation and Covid-19

4 min read

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The coronavirus pandemic has made businesses worldwide aware of the importance of embracing digital transformation. Industry experts say that the coronavirus outbreak will accelerate the digital transformation that was gaining a stronger foothold in businesses across multiple industries. The swiftness with which the coronavirus spread and the crippling effect it has had has made it abundantly clear – to thrive in an uncertain future, businesses must embrace digital transformation.

Preventing Economic Shutdown

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The rapid spread of the coronavirus has led to an almost total economic shutdown. Only businesses using digital technology have been able to continue trading. Embracing digital transformation has given these businesses an economic advantage. While others were forced to shut their businesses down and furlough their workers, businesses that had already gone through digital transformation have been able to allow their staff to work remotely, communicate with and serve their customers, as well as accept digital payments, despite the coronavirus outbreak.

A Rude Awakening

A Rude Awakening

The coronavirus lockdown has been a rude awakening for many businesses. It has shown the importance, versatility and viability of digital transformation. This rude awakening has accelerated digital transformation for a growing number of businesses; they are now scrambling to obtain the digital technology they need for their staff to work remotely and, in turn, avoid bankruptcy between now and when their staff can return to the workplace. Many businesses haven’t responded well to the coronavirus lockdown because they hadn’t focused on completing their digital transformation prior to the pandemic; some were even forced to permanently close their businesses.

Taking Immediate Action

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Businesses able to survive the initial onslaught of the coronavirus pandemic while still using their current business model must take immediate action to complete their digital transformation. Experts predict that the coronavirus outbreak is going to force people to continue to use social distancing for between 18 and 24 months to prevent its spread. Businesses that don’t take immediate action to migrate from on-premise analogue based applications, systems and infrastructure to cloud technologies will be forgotten by consumers.

New Collaborative Methods of Working

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Innovative and cutting-edge digital technologies, pressed into service by the coronavirus pandemic, have revealed improved collaborative work methods. This has led to increased productivity, greater customer satisfaction and growing profits. Businesses in a vast array of industries have now begun to accelerate their digital transformation at warp-speed in order to survive. The coronavirus outbreak has created a brutal economic reality; without digital technologies to support remote working and digital sales and payments, businesses will quickly be forgotten.

A Coherent Approach to Digital Transformation

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Businesses now realise that digital technology must be at the core of any intelligent approach to remote working, supply chain management, off-site manufacturing and data risk detection and mitigation. They are working feverishly to install digital technologies to create clear communication channels, effective governance frameworks, faster and better product and service delivery and safe, secure and timely digital payment methods. Quickly identifying and implementing best practices for digital technology development and application is a key component to any coherent approach to digital transformation.

Revving-up Digital Business Strategies

Revving-up Digital Business Strategies

One way that businesses have been positioning themselves for rapid and sustainable growth once the coronavirus pandemic subsides is by revving up their digital business strategies and doubling down on their digital transformation. This will enhance long-term business resiliency and continuity efforts. Accelerating digital transformation efforts now will prevent future disruptions from stymying digital strategies. A pro-investment approach to digital technology and transformation will position businesses to seize opportunities as the global economy rebounds with billions in pent-up demand.

Digital Transformation and Revenue Growth

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Experts predict that any investments made now in digital innovation and transformation, will enable businesses to harness the potential for 80% revenue growth – growth that hinges on lucrative digital offerings and operations that will be available by 2022. To be more competitive as the world emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, IT leaders must push for continued investment in digital transformation. They must create a digital transformation strategy that balances short-term efforts to acquire new digital technology with the lucrative long-term benefit it will provide.

The Best People, Technologies and Processes

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Today’s faster, more effective and efficient digital transformation strategy has motivated businesses with savvy, visionary leadership to quickly invest in the best people, digital technologies and processes. This has enabled many forward-thinking, decisive businesses to take advantage of the service gaps created by the shutdown of other businesses that had not yet made the digital transformation. Adopting the concept of digital transformation early-on, before the coronavirus pandemic, has made incorporating the best people, technologies and processes to speed up their continued transformation easier.

However, there is a hidden danger which could derail all the best of efforts of executive leadership; and that is some middle management team members may not share the same digital outlook and instead reassign critical local funding and resources to other short-term, easy to win projects for self-promotion or internal political shenanigans. It is therefore critical executive leadership teams roll up their sleeves and visit the shop floor regularly to find out first-hand how their strategic digital transformation is taking shape.

Virtual Tech Bars, Productivity-Monitoring Dashboards and Code Check-Ins

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A growing number of businesses are acquiring digital technology to support their remote working staff by creating global, always-available virtual tech bars and productivity monitoring dashboards which can be used to track everything from employee messages to code check-ins committed – even questions and tips for serving and better communicating with customers. The coronavirus pandemic has facilitated the creation of this virtual water cooler and other technical innovations that digitally transformed businesses are using.

Linchpins of Digital Business

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The coronavirus crisis has led many businesses to adopting a ‘cloud-first’ strategy and gravitate towards the use of Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) and internet-based technologies, enabling them to complete more virtual tasks. These linchpins of digital business have quickly become popular for providing support to their remote workforce. They can also use flexible, secure and affordable virtual desktops that provide a great user experience. The coronavirus pandemic has hastened the widespread use of these digital technologies.

Built-In Business Continuity

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The widespread use of virtual desktops, cloud resources and infrastructure on IaaS and SaaS for providing remote workers with the support they need anywhere at any time, allows for vital built-in business continuity. No matter what unique situations and events businesses face, these digital tools and resources help them to continue doing business. The rapid digital transformation of many as they respond to the coronavirus outbreak also boosts business resiliency. Aligning corporate objectives with improved business resiliency should form part of any business’ digital transformation.

Preparing for Future Challenges and Changes

Preparing for Future Challenges and Changes

The rapid rate of digital transformation that businesses have undertaken will make them better prepared for future challenges and changes. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated this process. Business executives and senior managers now understand how important digital technology can be in enabling them to handle critical activities in the face of natural disasters, cyber-attacks and pandemics. The coronavirus pandemic has caused many businesses to quickly increase bandwidth, VPN access and other resources, boost process automation, while optimising service delivery and reducing vulnerabilities and threats through digital transformation.

Imran Zaman The founder of CALLTHEPM.COM Blog. He works as a Digital Transformation Consultant for FTSE 500 companies. Writer on themes such as Project Management, Technology and Innovation.