A digital audit conducted for the Institute of Directors Scotland (IoD Scotland) has highlighted how pandemic-minded business leaders must “expedite and expand” IT transformation initiatives to underpin economic revival.
The advice comes as directors across a range of industries explore ways to weather the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic
The audit follows an extremely challenging several months across all sectors, where traditional business calendar landmarks have all but fallen by the wayside.
Institute Fellow Scott McGlinchey says organisations have responded well to pressures caused by the coronavirus lockdown and it is doubtful the office, as we have come to know it, will ever be quite the same again.
Especially with the rapid shift to homeworking backed up by video conferencing fast becoming the commercial norm.
The audit highlighted reports:
- An IDG survey reveals an overwhelming 92% of respondents report their IT environment now relies on the cloud. A figure expected to rise to 95% by end 2021/early 2022.
- A McKinsey & Company pandemic briefing note highlights how models are being incorporated increasingly using analytics/spreadsheets, central to an enterprise-wide ability to absorb such uncertainty.
- A Gartner analysts’ report emphasises IT leaders must ensure business client costs are reduced by developing cost-optimised IT frameworks.
McGlinchey, CEO of Scotland’s leading indigenous IT solutions firm Exception, adds that with all of this in mind it is those companies who engage with cloud technologies – in harness with remote working – that are instrumental in moving Scotland a big step closer to a truly digital economy.
The audit highlights how sectors are reacting differently in ways no one could have predicted.
“Take the financial services industry: the sector now has far greater practical experience of which services can be operated remotely and those requiring people to remain on-site,” it stated.
Such a “hybrid quality” enables financial services organisations to continue servicing customer requests “albeit, the majority have no doubt experienced considerable challenges, trying to meet greatly increased customer demand”.
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A very different example is the airline industry, “which, regardless of how advanced the technology used, is faced with a situation where nothing other than government permitting people to move freely again will get that business flying”.
The marketplace is reminded that we are all navigating our way through a situation which may change the face of business forever. Organisations, wherever they are based, should plan for similar events occurring again and that it requires new and enhanced solutions.
Expect to see organisations expedite and enhance their digital transformation initiatives by investing in solutions that not only support remote working but also those providing capabilities, to seamlessly support customers across an increased range of digital services.
The following sixfold digital plan is suggested within the context that business priorities continue to shift requiring increased focus over the short-to-medium term:
- Concentrate on digital services that deliver the best value for your customers.
- Cloud technology is key. Whether it is your staff digital workplace or customer engagement processes, make sure you have a clear forward path.
- Review existing digital strategies building a clear and robust cloud-first approach ensuring your business is ready for the next phase of disruption.
- Automation, remote working, cybersecurity, and robotics are priorities as they remove labour-intensive processes and reduce cost, safely.
- The digital workplace is not just an add-on or “nice to have”. It is a strategic technological environment. Also, remember it is more than solely products.
- Ensure your supply chain is sustainably intact and that they too can deliver for you in the “new world”. Lessening cross border dependency may also be wise.
The audit concludes: “Failure to embrace such a cloud-driven route will result in outdated, clunky, expensive and inefficient legacy systems.
“One thing is certain in an uncertain world: failure to adapt will leave a company being left way behind. Or worse still, not surviving.”
Bottom line? invest in your organisation’s digital footprint, be led by cloud-based systems that are readily accessible remotely, to significantly enhance your ability to respond swiftly to change and continue to support clients and staff.
Above all approach such change with a positive mindset and belief. The latter is extremely important as we all attempt to come out of the worst pandemic in one hundred years with some new and dynamic digital ways of working to cover the rest of the century.