In the past several weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has radically altered the way companies across the world are forced to operate. For business owners and employees alike, this means adapting to a new normality and the impact is being felt to different degrees across the entire business landscape. Amidst all of this, it can become a necessity for many businesses to put digital initiatives on hold in order to focus on business continuity and resilience. This is not the optimal approach. Instead, now is the time to accelerate digital transformation initiatives and to ensure your business is in a strong position when the current pandemic is over. Today we’re exploring why digital strategies can’t wait.
Creating A Case For Continued Digital Innovation
According to KPMG Research, it’s estimated that by 2022 80% of new revenue will be driven by successful implementation of digital initiatives and that business leaders must continue with their transformation plans. In order to continue to create a competitive edge once the pandemic has subsided, companies must balance the short-term interests of business continuity with a long-term focus on digital planning and execution. The underpinning focus needs to remain the same, whether it’s during a major pandemic or not. Leveraging the best technologies, people and processes should remain an absolute constant in order to create a competitive edge.
Ultimately, the focus will always lead back to digital transformation. It’s envisaged that once the coronavirus pandemic dissipates, there will be a massive backlog of digital initiatives that were shelved during the outbreak. This is likely to create a huge surge in spending on digital transformation and it’s essential that your organisation is well positioned to benefit from that increase in expenditure. It’s therefore essential that companies continue at pace with new and existing digital technology initiatives.
App Annie recently published data highlighting the crucial role of business apps and communication tools amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. On March 16th 2020, the communication app Zoom had become the #1 downloaded app across 35 different countries throughout the world. In addition, in the first two weeks of February there was a profound increase in the volume of apps being downloaded on Google Android, approximately 200% higher than the normal. Business related apps such as Huawei Cloud, WeLink, DingTalk & Zoom all experienced significant uplift as users quickly switch to remote working and experience the need for apps that enhance real-time communication and collaboration.
“Coronavirus has served to accelerate the proliferation of technological trends that were already occurring“
One of the key underpinning elements of any successful digital transformation initiative over the past decade, particularly for large organisations, has been the need to switch technology infrastructure to cloud based platforms. Cloud technologies by their very nature are perfectly suited for remote working and businesses who are already tooled up to support SaaS type infrastructure will already be experiencing the associated commercial and technical benefits.
Many of these cloud based tools and platforms are purposefully designed to cater for a remote workforce. This type of approach means that when unexpected situations do occur, business continuity and resilience are already baked into the culture and fabric of the entire organisation.
Enhancing Commercial Resilience Through Digital Transformation
In a remote working environment, this means enabling access to critical business systems, providing sufficient bandwidth and VPN access. These are the crucial types of activity that amidst a global pandemic, enable the organisation to keep moving forward and get things up and running in the short-term. The key thing is to control and limit commercial damage in the advent of one of these situations occurring and digital transformation has a pivotal role to play in terms of building additional resilience.
Digital Transformation To Boost Resilience
Here are some of the digital transformation initiatives your business can consider to maximise your chances of success in the future and bolster resilience:
Digital Services With Enriched Functionality:
Financial services apps are a fantastic example of how to gain a competitive advantage through digital transformation in uncertain times. The latest App Annie report highlighted the fact that financial services companies who are tooled up for digital already, are likely to emerge in a strong competitive situation once the Coronavirus pandemic is over. The report highlights that many financial services companies have experienced significant usage uplift throughout the duration of the coronavirus pandemic. For example, since the first week of March, usage levels in Japan have increased by 55%, South Korea up 35% and the USA and China are both up by 20%. The benefactors here have been the digitally enabled businesses.
The key market driver here is the need for consumers to continuously engage with digital financial services apps. In many instances, where businesses and individuals are reliant on retail ‘bricks and mortar’ banking outlets to perform core financial tasks, these users will now be forced to switch to digital fintech service offerings.
Develop Digital Self-Service Initiatives:
Digital self-service platforms can be helpful in a number of ways. They’re helpful for employees, customers and other company stakeholders such as suppliers and partners. They help to reduce the need for expensive human interaction and free skilled personnel to tackle higher value tasks within the business. These platforms are also essential in helping customers find what they need quickly.
The ongoing situation with Coronavirus is forcing large businesses to make fast and difficult decisions. Under such challenging circumstances, knowing what to do and the right approach to take can be extremely challenging. In a situation whereby all businesses are trying to adapt to a new version of normality, there is often a tendency for key digital initiatives to become less of a priority. The reality is that these types of digital transformation initiatives could take centre stage and enable forward thinking businesses and innovators to gain a competitive edge once the current pandemic starts to subside. From digital self-service, to leveraging remote mobile capability and focusing on core features with enriched functionality, there are a myriad of different approaches that can underpin wider transformative efforts to enable large businesses to navigate these challenging and uncertain times.