For many enterprises, whatever pre-COVID digitalisation strategy they had, it needs to be reimagined. The key word here is accelerated transformation.
Changes that will last beyond the pandemic
Before the term ‘coronavirus’ took over our conversations, ‘digital’ may have been the hottest topic for enterprises. Executives recognised that when ‘digital’ is applied to its full potential, the result is a data-driven, agile, customer-centric, future-proof enterprise, with people empowered and leaders capable to lead teams through volatile markets.
COVID-19 interrupted that dialogue, storming in with unprecedented threat and lockdown, pushing organisations and their leaders into waters that were unfamiliar, if not totally uncharted. Sudden decisions about digital solutions were forced, to facilitate a fully remote workforce, shift customer engagement from physical to online, and reduce operational costs in response to a decline in revenue.
Deloitte has drawn conclusions about the rapid acceleration that COVID-19 brought to digital transformation plans. On the positive side, organisations are showing incredible adaptability to meet customers’ and employees’ needs in a solely virtual reality, often blowing previous conceptions of feasibility out of the water. On the downside, the pandemic’s redefinition of the entire nature of work has revealed how underutilised digital technologies really are. The weaknesses were there all along, but now they’re washed up on the beach, painfully visible. For many enterprises therefore, whatever pre-COVID digitalisation strategy they had, it needs to be reimagined.
Deloitte predicts that successful companies will permanently shift their mindset and ways of working and avoid returning to normal. Now, they are acknowledging the COVID-19–accelerated changes taking place and looking forward, reacting with interventions that will last well beyond the pandemic. Consider the following observations we’ve been making.
- Many shifts in consumer behaviour that emerged overnight will prove to be permanent, justifying an accelerated shift to digital customer engagement.
- Actionable intelligence, based on real-time visibility into financial and operational data, was key during the crisis and will remain of strategic importance.
- Disruptions in global logistics demanded the ability to quickly reconfigure supply chains; forward-looking enterprises will retain this ability in preparation for future disruptions.
- Business continuity depended on digitalised processes when physical locations were not available.
- Enterprises that took a hit in revenue need to radically cut costs from their operations.
- Working from remote locations will continue, and offices will be used in different ways. This made the ‘future of work’ an imminent reality.
- The mix of high-in-demand skill sets, and jobs shifted overnight, changing what we consider as critical skill sets, and illustrating the impact on people and society in many ways.
Without a doubt COVID-19 has accelerated the need for digital transformation.