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Maintain transformation momentum post COVID-19 to stay competitive

By 16 January 2022May 17th, 2022No Comments

The global pandemic changed the way organisations do business, and there is no sign of going back to the methods of the past. 

With such a rapid shift toward digital tactics, companies’ digital teams began to pick up speed regarding strategy, priorities and software implementation. The results of this shift pushed digital transformation, and organisations must maintain this momentum to keep pace.  

Understanding the impact

The impact of COVID-19 was felt worldwide. Rapid change overtook the world, denying direct engagement between organisations and their customers, and businesses had to react quickly to ensure they weren’t left behind.  

According to a new report by Forrester, in order to gauge COVID-19’s effects on the digital landscape, ‘18 heads of digital across industries and markets, at firms with varying levels of digital maturity’ were interviewed. Their findings?  

The lessons learned throughout the pandemic will affect digital transformation strategies now and well into the future.  

The before

Of the 18 leaders surveyed, only two ranked their digital maturity highly. The other 16 leaders said their companies were presented with challenges that were slowing their transformation journeys.  

A digital roadmap with a narrow scope. Companies were executing a digital roadmap that was designed more to defer costs than as a way to enhance growth.  

A lack of cohesion. Larger firms in particular were implementing digital transformation piecemeal, with no overall vision or cohesive, targeted strategy. Instead, they were attempting to update processes and implement automation in different areas, at different stages of digital transformation. This resulted in superfluous effort and expense, reduced efficiency and slower implementation overall.  

Sticking to the status quo. Staff resisting change kept many of these firms behind the curve. Accelerating pace in digital transformation requires a strong vision backed by team-wide support. According to Forrester, within many companies ambitions were high, but execution was faltering. 

In Forrester’s words, ‘The outlook for digital transformation was grim, but digital is now the organisation’s beating heart.’

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The shift 

These challenges were hampering organisations’ digital transformation, causing frustration, delay and missed opportunities. The abrupt, enforced shift to the digital model brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic has focused efforts, and Forrester now finds that more organisations are accelerating digital transformation, leveraging its advantage in a changed ecosystem. 

The now

When the world was sent into lockdown, firms had to act quickly, with some shifting to a remote working model almost literally overnight. In Forrester’s report, Richard Berta, head of digital experience and support at Sydney Water, noted that: ‘Pre-COVID, digital was often perceived as a “dark art” among staff who didn’t really understand its value to the organisation or our customers.’  

That paradigm has changed. The sudden shift to remote work has increased: 

Appreciation and understanding of digital tech. Employees who may have been sceptical about digital transformation quickly learned its value. Moving to digital at such a rapid pace gave employees and customers alike a new appreciation of self-service, automation and other digital capabilities.

The digital team’s role. The shift in consumer behaviour from offline to online channels amplified digital operation across organisations. Firms began to recognise, and trust, digital teams and their strategies, further understanding that digital is not a threat, but rather a tool for success. 

Alignment and engagement. Firms noticed a ‘dramatic shift toward earlier engagement between the digital and business functions,’ says Forrester. Companies began aligning their strategies, creating a seamless business cycle. This led to further collaboration across teams, driving a sense of common purpose in which employees actively sought opportunities to contribute virtually. 

Focus on maintaining momentum

It’s no longer ‘business as usual’. Leaders are now channeling their focus and working toward organisation-wide digitalisation. With COVID-19 creating a new urgency in the shift to digital, companies’ digital transformation was non-negotiable. Therefore, teams were forced into adopting digital methods, leading them to understand their value. 

‘The biggest opportunity now is that everything is on the table to enable the business. COIVD-19 has focused us to think outside the box.’  

The primary focus for organisations from now and into the future is leveraging the benefits of digital transformation to their fullest potential. This includes improving customer self-service, reallocating staff to roles where they can better support digital initiatives, and adopting the newest tech as it reaches the market, where it will be beneficial. 

Forrester concludes that, with data an increasingly important asset to an organisation, the insights taken from it are a powerful driver of change. And an insight-driven firm is a successful firm, as customers are more trusting of agile, transparent and digitally proficient companies. This is only possible within a digitally mature organisation.   

Forrester’s recommendation from their research is unequivocal: it’s time to change your organisation’s behaviour to embed digital progress. 

With our over 15 years of experience in digital consulting and transformation strategies, at redk we’re ready to help your team maintain the momentum kick-started by COVID-19. Get in touch today.

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Hideki Hashimura

Lead Consultant
CRM Transformation Practice at redk

Hideki applies over 15 years of experience in the field of CRM and Customer Experience to overcome business challenges in the customer cycle.

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