We're at the 6-month mark of this pandemic lifestyle and it's incredible to see the resiliency demonstrated by humans, governments, and businesses all over the globe. Hospitals were constructed in a matter of days. Systems to determine who can go outside on which days of the week were implemented, monitored, and enforced in entire countries. Companies adopted a remote-work lifestyle. Events went virtual and immersive environments were created. Schools created distant-learning curriculums. The drastic changes COVID-19 forced the world to take are both impressive and overwhelming - and with most of 2020 under our belt, it's imperative these changes maintain momentum in order for organizations to adapt and evolve - or in some cases, survive.
Digital journeys can take years to implement but for many, this journey was compressed in a matter of days. This 6-month mark is an important time to turn inward - is your compressed digital transition sustainable? Looking ahead to 2021, how does safety, sustainability, and transparency align with the standard efficiency, process, and growth measures you discuss every year?
Digital is no longer a "disruptor". We can't "disrupt our industry" with new digital solutions; digital IS the way the industry is operating. What was previously a disruptor is now the standard way of conducting operations. Organizations today require a radically different approach to digitalization and need to pivot their digital transformation efforts. Here are some of our recommendations:
Expect to shift your focus often
Today's environment is evolving at a rapid pace unlike anything we've ever seen before and your business improvements need to keep up. Customer needs and expectations are getting higher by the day. For example, perhaps you're in the process of creating a virtual event with all the bells and whistles - livestream, text chat, videos, web conferencing, etc. Meanwhile, your participants attended a virtual event from your competitor where they created a virtual city for them to explore. Your event is a good event but their experience evolved to expecting a virtual world. It's comparable to expecting a smartphone but getting a flip-phone instead. Both still accomplish the goal of a phone - to call people - but obviously there are different experiences and in today's world, we all know which one we'd prefer.
Your targets need to shift from static goals to dynamic, flexible dreams that focus on speed, sustainability, adaptability, and overall value for your users. An agile methodology is your best bet for accomplishing this. Shorter, more frequent bursts of feature releases allow you to keep pace with the rapid changes in our world right now.
Create support for remote workers
If all you need to do your job is a wifi connection, then you're likely working remotely. However, when everyone is remote and social distancing is enforced, your home environment quickly becomes your office, your children's school, your social activities, your gym, and much more. The 9am-5pm five-day work week was created in order to establish better working conditions for factory workers in the Industrial Revolution. It's been a long time since the Industrial Revolution but we haven't changed much in this regard. Progressive organizations are discovering that isn't as sustainable in this current age and are focusing on a task-focused workweek instead. Employees can work flexible hours as long as they accomplish their goals and meet deadlines. The 4-day workweek is trending and for good reason. Work-life balance is critical when we're all working from home (or are we living at work?). Establish more asynchronous methods of communication - instead of holding status meetings, consider using tools like Trello, Asana, or JIRA to see how progress is being made.
Protect yourself from cyber threats
If you're digital and your organization wasn't prepared to be, you're vulnerable to cyber threats. Even Zoom, now a household name, became susceptible to "Zoom bombs" where folks where crashing meetings that they shouldn't have had access to in the first place. It's time to regularly assess the cyber landscape and strengthen your digital security capabilities. Similarly, your employees may not realize when they encounter a cyber risk so education and training on the subject is also important to address.
Don't fear innovation
There are many companies who are paralyzed in their current state because they're afraid a change will disrupt the "survival mode" they've entered. Clinging to the past is not a way to thrive in the future. It's very important to learn from these difficult times, adapt, and move forward.
Though an end sight to COVID-19 is still hazy, it has irrevocably altered the digital landscape as we know it. With remote working, distance learning, virtual events, and social distancing measures being our everyday life, organizations need to embrace this digitalization in order to deliver a value that is comparable to what users now expect. For more information on how to transform your organization's digital landscape, contact us.