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Comment | Digital Transformation in a Post-Covid Era

Malcolm Smith

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digital transformation

Malcolm Smith, Chief Sales Officer at Brightsolid explores how businesses can embrace digital change in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

It might be tough to consider a world without Covid right now. It has consumed our lives for nine months and shows no signs of departing, although we have been granted a little light on the horizon with news of a vaccine.

While the pandemic has a far-reaching impact on each of us personally and professionally, it’s vital that none of us stand still. Sure, restrictions to our daily lives will continue for some time to come, but when it comes to the business world, pausing operations could have dire consequences. Where possible, we must continue to innovate, to transform.

The pandemic has also intensified our reliance on technology, with the rise in home working and as businesses have increased their digital footprint – but what steps can organisations take to continue this digital transformation and ensure they continue to push forward?

As we move into 2021, there are five steps that businesses in Scotland must consider as they embark on a digital transformation journey.

What comes first?

When it comes to starting your digital transformation journey, it can often feel like a chicken and egg scenario. What comes first, the digital transformation programme or the business plan?

In truth, they must go hand in hand. Both must be given equal credence – especially as the impact of an organisation’s digital transformation will have far reaching benefits.

Organisations’ IT teams must therefore take the time to review internal processes and infrastructure to identify what they need to transform. This must be clearly fed into the wider organisation and in turn the long-term business plan.

As we come to the end of the financial year for many (or enter the final quarter for others), there is no better time for such analysis to take place. While plans will be viewed through a Covid lens for the time being given the current market environment, this should not be a restrictive factor – think big, but also think smart.

Always Agile

If 2020 and the pandemic have taught us nothing else, they’ve shown the importance of building flex into processes – we should expect the unexpected. Situations can and will change with the flick of a switch, and client needs will evolve as quickly as the external environment does.

When progressing a digital transformation programme, all parties involved need to be ready to adapt and change up plans and processes in response to various events in real time. However, it is important not to get lost in this process – any aspects that evolve must always link back to the wider business case and ultimately benefit of the business; anything else is a simple waste of time and resource.

The Physical Has Been Tainted

There’s no denying that Covid has done more to advance the onset of digital transformation in the last 10 months than the tech industry has managed over the last 10 years. While it will bruise the ego of many a sales exec, we can’t deny that we now live in a digital-first world (indeed this might be one of the very few positives to emerge from the pandemic).

When it comes to physical infrastructures, we may well see fewer deployments as many favour the virtual – such as the cloud. As companies have shifted online, so too have their infrastructures, with data from Centrify estimating that half of UK business leaders noting that their shift to a cloud business model has saved their company from collapse during the Covid pandemic.

Related

The agility and speed of the cloud has clearly been recognised and as we move beyond the pandemic, the cloud will continue to significantly contribute to an organisation’s success – don’t lose steam now.

Go Public to Drive Engagement

When it comes to deciding on the correct cloud for your business, to increase sales opportunities, the public cloud should feature as part of your digital transformation journey. As cloud use has evolved, so too have other organisations’ expectations, with some public sector organisations not entertaining working with companies if they don’t have a public cloud offering.

As such, rather than considering your own needs during any digital transformation projects, it is also worthwhile keeping your eye on who you will interact and do business with. As we emerge into a post-Covid world and the recovery it will hopefully bring for many, the opportunity to engage with more external organisations will benefit you in the long run.

Adapt & Pivot

As with being prepared to be agile, when dealing with any type of project – digital transformation included – we may need to be ready to change course. The quickly changing external environment may move even faster during a project.

This will have an impact on the direction of travel for a digital transformation project, or even mean that other areas of the business need to be included in the activity.

For example, you might already have seen changes in your sales pipeline as a direct result of Covid – but that’s not to say these changes will last forever.

The digital transformation programme may allow you to reach new audiences and by making some slight adjustments to the activity open you up to new customers. We must use the new world post-Covid to evolve and grow.

No matter how 2021 plays out, organisations must prepare to adapt to the constantly changing world by being alert and ready to pivot their approach to technology to ensure their long-term survival.

Malcolm Smith

Chief Sales Officer, Brightsolid

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