In the last couple of months, the world has changed. This change has been dramatic and has had huge repercussions on the way we live and work. If you thought you weren’t ready for digital transformation before, you may no longer have a choice.
The recent disruptions have forced businesses all over the world to change the way they operate. Lockdown policies in many countries mean that non-essential businesses have had to close their offices and business premises and transition their operations to a digital model.
Millions of people are now working from home. Meetings and events are being held virtually via video conferencing software. Businesses have had to choose between operating almost 100 percent online or shutting up shop – potentially for good.
Previous research by McKinsey has shown that less than a third of companies are successful in digital transformation. But now those same companies may now have no choice. “Innovate or die” has never been a truer statement for businesses in the coronavirus era.
Chances are, your business has had to make some adjustments during these challenging times. But have you dived headfirst into these challenges and embraced the opportunity to evolve? Or are you just doing the bare minimum to get by and waiting for the day when everything can return to normal?
If you’re in the second group, your business is missing out on a huge opportunity. And you may be in for a reality check if you think everything will return to normal once restrictions are lifted.
Change is often uncomfortable, and it’s natural to resist it. But just because something is hard doesn’t mean it’s not worthwhile.
If you’re struggling, here’s our rough guide to how digital transformation can help your business to not only survive but also thrive in the face of extreme challenges.
Digital transformation is about a lot more than just the software you use, but getting it right is essential.
With many businesses needing to move to a telecommuting model on short notice, there may not have been time to fully assess and review the options.
But if you feel you chose an option in haste that isn’t really working out for your company, it’s certainly not too late to change.
Don’t consider technology for remote communication and collaboration a temporary fix until you can get back into the office again. Instead, look for ways you can continue to use these technologies to improve productivity and provide more flexible working opportunities.
Consider this time your test period for experimentation. Take note of what’s working and what isn’t working. Try out a few different ways of communicating online and find out what seems to flow best for your company.
Some different types of technology you may be using or considering using right now include:
While many businesses operating on a mostly digital model were affected only superficially by the pandemic, others have had to make significant changes in order to keep money coming in.
Restaurants have switched to taking online order and making deliveries, gyms are offering live online fitness classes over Zoom, and some bakeries have even started to offer bake-at-home bread kits to both meet the growing need for a therapeutic pastime and overcome the shortage of flour and yeast in many grocery stores.
Now is the time to look for ways that the internet and digital technologies can help you to pivot and expand your business.
Many people dream of the opportunity to work from home, but reality rarely matches what they imagined, particularly at this point in time.
Your employees are being forced to adapt to a completely new way of working, many in less than ideal circumstances.
Outdated hardware, unreliable internet connections, and balancing home and work life when nobody can actually leave that home are all common issues that individuals are dealing with at the moment.
Productivity is important, of course, but so is the well-being of your employees. And it may not be realistic to expect your employees to stick to the same work hours and tasks as they would do on a normal working day.
Offer plenty of flexibility and seek regular feedback from your employees so you can adjust to their needs and offer any necessary support.
Small businesses serving customers face-to-face in their local area are the ones who have suffered most from lockdowns.
This is an excellent time to think big and expand beyond the limits of your local area.
Digital technologies make it possible for even the smallest companies to have a global reach. It may be time to start taking advantage of these opportunities and looking to market to a wider audience.
But this also means building trust. An independent coffee shop in a small town builds trust by providing great service and friendly faces to its loyal customers, but this is not possible when switching to a business model that involves shipping bags of coffee nationally.
Instead, businesses operating online must build trust online through brand stories, thought leadership, content marketing and social media. If nobody knows who you are, your job is to help them get to know and trust you by communicating regularly, developing a strong brand presence, and publishing useful and entertaining content that will grow your authority and reputation.
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