Life was moving just fine until Jan 2020 when a virus brought a complete overhaul of the way we live. No country, no government, no organization was spared and overnight, everyone was forced to rethink ways to transform and sustain. In response, businesses and schools alike began to look for ways to continue their operations remotely, all due to the internet. They turned to various collaboration platforms and video conferencing capacities to remain engaged with their colleagues, clients, and students while working from home offices.
In the last decade, there has been an upward trend of businesses adapting technology in their workplaces. Manual accounting processes are getting replaced with accounting automation software, employee management is being shifted to workflow automation, salesforce automation and CRM solutions are overpowering door to door sales and that’s just a few regular processes that have gone digital. Businesses have been continuously involving technology as a means of engagement with customers, allowing some workplace flexibility, and for a way to introduce automation and faster processes.
This shift towards digital operations took over both a customer-facing and a behind-the-scenes role within many businesses. The lack of ability to gather in groups required many professional organizations and schools to find new ways for people to communicate, collaborate, and complete work or school projects while working remotely from one another. At the same time, customers have expressed their interest in receiving services with little to no contact with people, calling for remote or at least contact-limited operations from a customer-facing direction as well.
The COVID pandemic really hammered on the idea of adapting to a digital-first mindset from customer reach to employee working. Even after lockdown restrictions are lifted, the entire world population is vaccinated, people will continue to use digital services primarily.
Where should the focus be in the post pandemic world?
- Increase in use of automation to improve the customer experience and build virtual services
From food delivery to virtual home tours, almost all the industries have had to adapt to automation in order to improve efficiency. With AI and automation today, complex queries that require human intervention can be made easy eliminating the need to dig through disparate sources. Many companies are looking to create complete, end to end business development solutions with AI, from improvements in loyalty and brand reputation to new revenue streams. The pathway to real-time access of valuable data and AI assistance in business processes brings huge opportunities to forward-thinking businesses.
- Viewing technology not as an expense but as a means to innovate and grow
What do you think of when you hear the word “technology”? Do you imagine smartphones, fast processing laptops, high powered surveillance systems? The biggest hindrance in the path of many companies from transforming digitally is the definition of technology. Technology for them is defined in terms of “expensive hardware” that needs to be constantly upgraded and hence, considered as a huge expense.
Companies have to change their mindset towards technology and not look at it as an expense but an enabler of growth and innovation. Consider Google Maps app, it’s a navigation app that helps an employee move from place A to B. However, how many of us really think of maps app as productivity enhancer because if we are getting places faster, then it saves time to have more meetings, finish more work, do more networking and create more value for the company. The real value of technology is not just the product but the way the technology revolutionizes our work and lives.
- Plan investment in security to protect IP theft
IP or Intellectual Property is a company’s most valuable assets and yet it is extremely vulnerable to theft and hacking, particularly since most of the data is stored digitally these days.
IP is not just limited to financial records but it includes everything from employees database, operating processes, research, creative work, strategies, etc. Imagine if any of your main hard disks crashes that has all your important client files, it would be a disaster especially if you didn’t have backup. Hence, protecting intellectual property has to be top priority for any company today that has information stored electronically. Solutions like autobackup, cloud storage, data disaster management should be planned and implemented asap. It’s your intellectual property that gives you a distinct competitive edge and should be protected from being stolen from your competitors.
Culture change is the hardest part of digital transformation, but if we can survive the pandemic then surely we can teach an elephant to dance.