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Blog | 05.29.2020

Optimizing Your COVID-19 Digital Transformation

We are experiencing a clearly defined before-and-after moment in business history. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic forced the acceleration of some slow-moving business trends, including the adoption of digital transformation. Within a few short weeks, the attitude of many enterprises went from “It’ll be nice to have one day” to “We must achieve some level of digital transformation today or this business could die tomorrow.”

The headlong rush of activity that followed has resulted in varying levels of success across industries and enterprises. If your company is now in the position of evaluating your new digital transformation processes, the following topics support the “new normal” of responding to real-time disruption and building the resilience to survive.

 

Ensure Data Security

No matter how fast innovation happens, one absolutely non-negotiable standard is unassailable data security. Security Magazine has reported that phishing attacks have seen a 350% increase since the beginning of 2020. IT teams have been particularly challenged to provide employees with the tech tools they need to work from home while still ensuring the security of company assets. Survival tactics include

  • Revising compliance and security policies to cover new threats as well as new workforce realities
  • Ensuring up-to-date firewalls
  • Deploying patches immediately upon availability
  • Intensifying threat reporting and activity monitoring
  • Creating or updating training programs to keep employees aware of security-based behaviors, password hygiene, etc.
  • Deploying systems such as multi-factor authentication

 

Maximize Use of Proprietary Data

Today’s business climate calls for rejecting previous norms around innovation. It’s no longer feasible to slow-walk improvements that will support flexibility and resilience; the immediate future of business requires practicality and realism focused on achieving profitable growth.

Successful digital transformation, therefore, includes a data transformation focused on your customers and business ecosystems. The most resilient businesses will excel at extracting, integrating and mining their own data to inspire and implement innovation. Monetizing and extracting the value of company data is equally essential to revenue streams.

 

Streamline Collaboration and Communication

Siloes shouldn’t survive the current workplace. With remote and flexible workforces, strong collaboration between departments is now key to business continuity – and with all this collaboration comes an increased emphasis on support. Survival tactics include

  • Rather than emphasizing expertise, working toward a more informal, interactive coaching model.
  • Being pragmatic in your choice of support tools. Anything from FAQs to chatbots to real-time interaction with support personnel could be useful.
  • Whatever tools you select, updating your implementation procedures to enhance quantity and speed. If “technically perfect” has been your support standard, it’s likely time to establish what “good enough to work” looks like.
  • While efficiency is still important, include the user experience in any collaborative redesigns.

With collaboration, it’s impossible to overstate the importance of open communication between teams and team members, as well as between management and employees. As business strategies change, keep employees fully informed about next steps and make the effort to keep morale high. We’ve outlined 10 easy tips for increasing communication among your team, no matter where they are.

 

Manage the Newly Flexible Workforce

A March survey found that, before COVID-19, 49% of workers reported they had never worked from home. However, by mid-April, Gallup Panel data found that 62% of U.S. workers were already working from home due to concern about the coronavirus. Since then, many companies are noting the benefits of a flexible workforce and responding by keeping at least some part of their workforce at home or on flexible office schedules.

Businesses now must figure out how to integrate the best of the remote and office experiences, and the key survival tactic is to develop complete transparency and accountability no matter where your employees sit. Sapience Vue works from their end-point devices to document time, effort and work processes. This objective data provides the complete transparency that encourages employees and management to create and maintain data-based accountability standards.

 

Mind the Gaps (and Conflicts)

Any audit your company is doing of recent digital transformations is likely turning up evidence of redundant or conflicting systems, if not real gaps in system coverage. Survival tactics include

Collecting clean and complete data on all such issues

Analyzing the efficiency of each system involved: Should each be replaced? Phased out? Made primary while other systems go by the wayside? Are any extra “bells and whistles” cost-effective for their purpose, considering user data?

Giving primacy to systems that are digital, scalable, and user-friendly. This means that many companies are adopting cloud-based systems.

While many of these conflicts are based in technology or software, keep in mind that your audits may also turn up issues with redundancies, conflicts and gaps in your third-party contracts. Data collected by Sapience solutions can be key to developing transparency and quantifying value in outsourcing governance.

 

Meet the On-Demand Economy

The on-demand economy has always been an important part of digital transformation, and it’s only grown in importance as the pandemic has created heightened demand for digital-first services. In the retail sector, we are already seeing a massive shift toward online ordering and curbside delivery. It seems reasonable to assume that, from this point on, everything that can be sold online should be and will be. Survival tactics include

  • Eliminating any siloes inside the customer experience so that all forms of interaction are seamless
  • Making the supply chain digital to reflect availability of goods in any channel
  • Getting back to the basics of customer needs and pain points, willingness-to-pay, pricing power, etc.
  • Pursing only those product offerings best suited to meet company goals as well as customer needs.

 

The “New Normal” Needs Agility

The “new normal” forces us to admit that we don’t know what we don’t know, so your overall goals for digital transformation should focus on gathering the information that supports flexibility, agility and resilience. Take a realistic look at what is happening inside your enterprise and modify your strategies to meet these goals. Engage with the teams you see driving positive changes and create a platform where their ideas can be shared. Identify and celebrate the better ways of working that are emerging. And finally, collect and analyze the data you need to determine the effectiveness of your transformation to make fact-based decisions going forward.