Why the COVID-19 Outbreak Will Expedite Digital Transformation in Organizations
Will the COVID-19 crisis be an opportunity for organizations to change the way they operate for the better? Can companies really embrace change and enter the digital domain even for processes that have traditionally remained offline?
The times they are a-changin’
Digital transformation is a process that many organizations have already started. It’s a buzz word for upgrading procedures and systems that take advantage of relativity new technologies to improve their daily workflow.
Using cloud services for working remotely as well as switching from a F2F customer relationship to online is a great example of this change.
Think about the way people used to learn and consume information, we used to take courses in a class with a teacher, and we had to go to a specific place to do it, at a specific time.
Today, we all know that people learn all the time, anytime they want and from anywhere they choose people are watching short clips online or listen to podcasts, doing online exams and get certificates. This last outbreak painfully illustrates to any education institute that doesn’t have a digital format for learning, that it’s much more vulnerable than institutes that use digital platforms.
We used to think that there are some products you simply couldn’t sell online and that people will always want to have an in-store buying experience. Today we all know that everything can be bought online, even jewelry.
The barriers for shifting to digital formats
Until today, the traditional barrier for adopting new technologies has been people (of course) but that’s not the only barrier. Additional barriers include:
- Proof of capability
- Conservative approach of large organization
- Budget constraints
However, these barriers mainly revolve around management and decision making, rather than technology. If a manger wants to invest in a new digital avenue or a digital transformation, they will need to first convince senior executives and to take a lot of personal risk, while trying to bypass the “if it works don’t fix it” mentality.
Why this crisis will expedite adopting digital formats
This outbreak will remove the core of these barriers, as organization will come to understand that they must move to digital formats (like online services) and that all or most of their operation systems would need to be hosted on the cloud, d-commerce and others.
The sooner this happens the better. This crisis provides companies with the evidence of the advantages of adopting digital formats and moving to digital workflows, which will actually reduce their risks (as opposed to the previous misconception that shifting to digital will increase risks) and make them more resistant to future crises, such as the COVID-19 situation.
How do organizations start their journey toward digital transformation?
There are many aspects to the transition to the digital way of working. It starts with employees, their mindset and their capability and willingness to work in this way, followed by the readiness of the infrastructure and facilities, company structure and other organizational factors.
As my colleague Aviram Shotten, Chief Knowledge and Innovation Officer at Qualitest, described it well in his article “Covid-19 and Digitalization – 5 to do’s for a long-term win”, there are certain things organizations should do today in order to remain relevant tomorrow.
At Qualitest, when we help our customers to go through this process of moving to a digital workflow and format, we usually ask them to embrace the basic foundation of their business and almost ignore the way they do things today. That usually eliminates mindset barriers and let them really analyze the assets of their business clearly and adopt a visionary way of thinking that allows them to understand what they need to do to truly enter the digital era and then bring their organization there. It seems that this global event is now making people go through the same mind exercise.