Even though the surroundings of COVID-19 indicate trouble, and the implications of its existence have far-reaching results for both the global economy and smaller businesses, there is still a hopeful part that you will only see when you are willing to see the positive side.
There are many enterprises that have missed their financial targets by a long shot due to dampened customer demand and disruptions in the supply chain, and you might wonder what sort of hopeful scenarios I am talking about in the midst of the negativity. If there is one thing that we can take away from the pandemic we currently face, it is that digital transformation is necessary in the workplace.
Perhaps you may have thought about doing a digital overhaul of your business and moving its operation online, but have never had the chance or time to do so. One blessing of the social distancing – you get plenty of time to create a well-made website, get your products online, and market them easier – in fact, a recent study showed that about 70% of companies were working on a digital transformation, and they were accelerating the process due to the guidelines currently in place.
Many people feel and believe that digitization is the need of hour and we should take it as an advantage to enhance our businesses. Pravin Shah, one of the Indian entrepreneurs has also mentioned how this pandemic has changed our life in terms of digitization. If you are not used to the idea of digital transformation, the pandemic of COVID-19 may be a reason for your accelerated conversion; the good news is that it is not a bad thing. However, it is also important to remember that these transformations are not all good for your job or business, with some of them leading to wastage of your potential.
Where are these changes taking place in businesses?
There are certain areas in businesses that are going through drastic changes in the digital space, as a result of the pandemic and resulting changes. They are cloud management, on-demand services and products, telecommuting, and virtual events.
I will attempt to cover these four in greater detail, and hopefully give you some insight on this interesting phenomenon.
The truth is that the cloud has made management of files and sharing of documents very easy – without it, it would be very hard for companies to co-edit documents and share them confidentially, as well as access analytics. It is challenging when sending data over short physical distances, unless you use cloud management to bridge the gap.
Some of these challenges include streaming data, problems of real-time streaming, rapid sharing of data, and so on.
On-demand services and products
Delivery of goods is now the new normal for many people, including myself; and I am sure you might not have thought that it would happen. We are now finding ourselves buying goods online and having them delivered to our doorsteps, including groceries.
One such area that has been affected by this is the unlikeliest of places: insurance delivery. There are many insurance companies that have made it quite difficult for their patients to access remote services or tele-health, and these companies are now forced to adopt this form of service for their clients. This just goes to show a vital lesson: if you own a business and cannot adapt to the new ways of delivering goods and services to your customers, your business is bound to fail eventually.
There are numerous people, probably including yourself, that are now forced to work from home due to government regulations. Ranging from people in the service industries such as teachers, engineers and bankers, to people in businesses like entrepreneurs, everyone’s work life has changed significantly from where we were just a few months ago when the epidemic had not spread.
Other than that, we are now telecommuting to our families and friends, holding meetings online through applications like Zoom and Skype, and doing video calls in order to avoid complete isolation.
The airline and hospitality business has taken a nosedive since the spread of COVID-19, and there are now almost no flights going to various destination. Thanks to the lack of flights and increasing prohibition of mass gatherings, the events industry has taken a big hit – especially because spring and summer months are a huge deal when it comes to gatherings.
However, there are plenty of companies that have changed their tactic in this area, and shifted to digital content or events. Time will eventually tell if the latter part of the year will be a busy time for event organizers and the hospitality industry, or whether companies will prefer to host online gatherings rather than in-person ones. With that said, there are many who are enjoying this new networking style, and it is bound to not go away any time soon.
What is the goal of these transformations then?
The major aim is to solve your problems through the use of technology, which means you will integrate technological progress in all areas of your work. The key is not just doing it, but doing it correctly – and this will give your job immense value and increase the validity of the business you have.
A true transformation in the digital space is to renew your state of mind and allow your job to evolve over time, while adapting new solutions externally and internally. It requires understanding that your work has a great role to play in digital changes, and you will make lasting changes that focus on growing the business with a focus on the future.
While this might sound overwhelming, it does not need to be. It is always important to remember something, an important lesson I have learnt in the years of managing my work: digital changes should be a mindset that you have and gradually adopt, in order to change the experiences and culture of your organization. This change of mindset will spur a more meaningful transformation that will help you go through the storms.
The process of transforming a business digitally is not a one-time event; it is an ongoing process. Many changes can seem painful and difficult for businesses, but the good news is that the benefits make it worthwhile. The main thing to keep in mind is that these changes, even though they are forced on you, can be very productive in the long term.
Pravin Shah is a founder of pravinshah.in and BigBrandTheory, a Global Branding Consultancy that specializes in architecting 21st Century Brands. He is a certified Change & Innovation Leader from the Indian School of Business(ISB) and possesses 18 years of business acumen. His core is visionary thinking, consumer behavior, branding, new media, technology, leadership and change, and entrepreneurship which made him a growth catalyst for more than 100 brands.