24 Apr Is COVID 19 fast-tracking digital transformation in your business?
COVID 19 has forced people to rethink about how they go about their daily lives. Forced to stay at home because of travel bans, school closures and restrictions on gathering in large groups, people are turning to technology to keep in touch up-to-date with work, classes and entertainment to get a sense of normalcy.
In a way, technology has been instrumental in helping people stay in touch with the people they love, do their jobs, join their classes and, has to a great extent – in general, let people get on with everything they do – albeit a little differently.
COVID 19 presented real disruptive challenges for how businesses operate as well. Though 70% of companies already had a digital transformation strategy in place, most were not fully prepared for a crisis like COVID 19 that has forced them to fast-track their digital transformation to keep the business up.
Businesses that were resistant to the idea of employees working from home have been forced to let their employees work remotely to keep people safe while ensuring work gets done.
The ability to work from home is one that employees value, but most companies do not have the technology infrastructure in place to offer that capability without an impact on business-as-usual. Situations like the one we are in now make digital transformation an imperative for staying relevant in the market. And one cannot deny that businesses are now realizing the benefits of transforming their processes.
Eventually, when we’re past this crisis, most offices might go back to their regular rigid work-in-office model. But, many may realize their employees can do good work regardless of where they are and include remote working plans as part of their employee policies.
Schools and colleges have been forced to adopt virtual learning options.
With most campuses closed owing to the COVID 19 outbreak, many universities have decided to use virtual learning methods to complete portions for the remaining academic period. Though many universities have had experiences with virtual learning with tools like Harvard Business School Online, a vast majority of institutions are not really ready for this shift.
As for K-12 institutions, the transition to virtual education is certainly disruptive as it was not planned for.
But these experiences lay the groundwork for institutions to be better prepared for the future.
There has been significant progress in made in telemedicine even before the COVID 19 outbreak, and now health officials are pushing healthcare systems to expand their telemedicine through smartphones and other tools.
While several in-person conferences have been cancelled worldwide, some are going forward with them as virtual events.
Conferences are an important platform to exchange ideas and build professional relationships and some companies are leveraging platforms that combine video, networking, teamwork and other capabilities to bridge the gap between in-person events and virtual ones.
Most companies have had to quickly adopt tools to support their processes. The current scenario push has resulted in innovations for the future with how people meet and interact better virtually.
What would technology companies have done without the cloud?
Collaboration would have been impossible, real-time would not have been as easy, streaming would’ve been a problem, rapid data would be tough to get – these are just a few of the challenges.
The cloud has enabled instant communication from anywhere and has let businesses rapidly pivot their plans to meet the new demand. Companies that have migrated to the cloud have been able to continue collaborating on projects, save jobs, help slow the spread of the virus and allow businesses to maintain a level of normalcy amid a chaotic situation.
One step ahead in digital transformation
In response to the pandemic, many companies have taken a step ahead in digital transformation. They have rolled out tools that can support remote work for a short period by opting for trial versions of collaboration software for a low fee.
Technology companies like Google, Microsoft, Zoom, LogMeIn and Cisco are offering their video conferencing and collaboration tools for free to support business and let them collaborate on projects during this period. Businesses are making use of this opportunity to get started on digital transformation journeys.
So, is COVID 19 a main driver for digital transformation in your business?