As a business professional, it’s pretty easy to rationalize putting your digital transformation into play today. Not only does it allow better productivity and cost-saving, but it’s also an essential strategy in the face of the current COVID-19 crisis and the resulting forced work/buy-from-home setups. However, making this shift is more than just setting up network security or ditching your printer. Your entire organization has to support the change, help everybody develop the new capabilities they’ll need, and understand the impact on the business’s culture or structure. And in this sense, successful digital transformation is 100 percent about people.
A catalyst for digital adoption
Before the pandemic, leaders understood that digital transformation is inevitable, and they made definite plans for the shift. But those plans weren’t one-size-fits-all. Each business set its budget and pace based on industry and company specifics, and in a lot of cases, the strategy was a gradual progression to new tools and ways of operating.
Then came COVID-19. Things had to shift. With lockdowns and general social distancing measures from local and state governments, the physical office wasn’t doable for thousands of businesses anymore. Many companies had to pivot to a remote environment in just a matter of days.
There’s no doubt this was stressful for everybody involved. But out of necessity, people responded. They figured out what would work, at least temporarily, and they started to realize that their digital shifts didn’t have to be so gradual or wait. In this way, although companies worked with employees, partners, and stakeholders to increase digital adoption long before the virus hit, the pandemic served as a positive catalyst that helped make the shift to remote work much more rapid. With no other choice but to serve clients through a near 100 percent digital experience, they had to adapt quickly — and they did.
Strategies to sustain the momentumCOVID-19 gave companies a massive push toward digital transformation. But now that we have had this initial push, it’s critical to keep moving forward. We must understand the gap between our companies’ current performance and capabilities and where they need to be in the market to stay competitive.