COVID-19 has taken the world by storm. Everyone is in a lockdown, unable to move out, or engage in regular economic activity. Almost every business has been severely hit – mostly due to lack of customers, while others are dealing with a lack of raw supplies to keep them going or shortage of workforce.
Irrespective of what the reason for the slowdown in your business is, do you think you would have been better placed if you had taken the high road to digitization before the pandemic hit?
Digital transformation helps you make use of technology in solving common problems. Done in the right manner, it empowers businesses to continuously tune their strategies and tactics, while they offer customers unprecedented value. With digitization, technology becomes a core part of every business process, from manufacturing, sales, service, and more. A lot of companies work in silos, with every department maintaining its own set of technology and data separate from other parts of the business. Digital transformation removes these barriers and creates a seamless workflow across the organization, both externally and internally.
Is COVID-19 Forcing Your Digital Transformation? Here are 12 steps to help you move faster towards your goal of digitization.
1. Effective Change Management
A lot of digital transformation efforts have failed because the change was not supported by all the stakeholders. Humans are bound to resist change and often struggle when they have to transform their habits, opinions, and culture, even when the potential benefits are clear.
If you want to move faster with your digital transformation, adopt the most effective change management strategies that align with the dynamicity of your business environment.
2. Increased Customer focus
Make customers focus on the core of everything you do. Let the thought sink in with all your employees, so you have their buy-in for the digital transformation. Not only will this shift from being product-focused to customer-centric be good for your bottom line, but it will also pave the way to faster digitization as everyone will be on the same page.
Businesses best prepared for digital transformation get the most excellent results when they understand their customers well enough to know their needs and preferences. This becomes even more critical when your patrons are faced with unique situations like the ones COVID-19 forces them into. Appreciating what works the best for the customer helps you shape your digitization process correctly and quickly.
3. Transparent Organization culture
A transparent organizational culture that is open to change is critical to the success of your digital transformation efforts. Unless you can break down the internal silos and get your leaders (top executives have to be onboard) buy-in for the new digital vision you are proposing, you are unlikely to make much progress in your digitization endeavors.
4. Timely Transformational leadership
If your staff is not feeling secure during the change, they are likely to revolt and not provide you with the cooperation you need to make digital transformation success. A strong frontrunner that can provide transformation leadership to your employees can get them to move into action and feel proud of being part of something big. This would need all your leaders and executives to play their role in championing the digital transformation.
5. Quick and Appropriate Technology decisions
Quick and appropriate technology decisions need to be made quickly to get your digital transformation to move faster, and this cannot be done in a vacuum. A lot of IT people will need to be part of important discussions with business leaders, and these quarters do not traditionally talk to each other a lot. Your leaders will need to rise to the occasion and represent their respective departments to meet the overall company goals with effective digitization mechanisms.
6. Integration with business
The biggest challenge in the digital transformation process is to be clear on the goals of the integration of digital solutions with the business processes. The bigger the organization is, the more complex the handling of data across business operations is. Unless you have a clear plan and streamlined strategy to handle the company data, you will keep coming back to the drawing board, and the re-spins will slow down your digital transformation.
7. Improved employee experience
No digital transformation can be successful unless it takes care of the internal customers first, the employees. After all, their experience decides the effectiveness and speed of the planning and adoption of the new technology solutions being put in place as part of the digital transformation. Get employee feedback at all steps of the process – they are the key to helping you provide the right technology in time. This will empower your staff to use digital solutions to provide your customers with an amazing experience during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 situation.
8. Improved Logistics and supply chain
Logistics and supply chain is probably the worst-hit areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your digital transformation fails to bring any substantial improvements in the reliability and speed with which your business is able to deliver the products or services to your customers, you have not really achieved the goal of digitization. The digital transformation exercise should improve the efficiency of logistics and supply chain and do it quickly.
9. Data security for you and your customers
The road to digital transformation is going to be full of people who will be afraid of the security vulnerabilities that it brings. Cyberattacks are increasing in frequency and sophistication, and hardly a day passes by without news of some company declaring a data breach. Customers get frequent emails from businesses informing them of compromised data, asking them to change their passwords. This makes them highly suspicious of digitization.
Encryption is the holy grail of keeping your data secure. Encrypt all the data stored in databases and file systems so that even if your assets were compromised, no one would be able to make sense of the information and use it for malicious purposes.
Installing an SSL certificate is one of the most effective and easiest ways of encrypting the data when it travels between the user’s browser and your web server. This ensures the user’s information cannot be stolen on the way to your servers, and they can confidently share personal and sensitive details with you. It will help you convert more customers and increase your profits.
Before installation, you need to understand the site’s requirement and after that, you need to buy ssl certificate according to it. There are many low-cost SSL certificates available in the SSL industry and you can choose among them as per the site’s necessities.
10. Modernization of processes, products, and services
You need to change the way you think about how you will deliver your products and services after the digital transformation of your business. Having a clear picture of not just how the delivery will work, but even the products and services may themselves evolve in the process will help you speed up the digitization process. It is crucial for everyone to appreciate that modern products have to be smarter, and their delivery will need innovative approaches (given that most of the traditional delivery mechanisms have been shut down by COVID-19).
11. Effective Digitization
Digitizing a brick and mortar store involves the creation of flawless integrations between the physical stores and their online counterparts. COVID-19 has forced the closure or makes it very difficult to operate physical stores. Moving online quickly and being able to manage the inventory, sales, shipping, and customer service seamlessly is critical to your survival in these testing times.
12. Personalized service
Just because they are locked down and not able to move as freely as they would like to do not mean they are not looking for outstanding customer experience. Remember, you are not the only one taking up digitization in a big way. Your competitors have also been forced into the digital transformation race by the COVID-19 pandemic. So, expect your customers to demand personalized service. Make the most efficient and effective use of digital solutions at your disposal to understand your customer behavior and preferences – provide them with recommendations and online experiences unique to their needs and desires.
You always knew that your business could not escape digital transformation for long. COVID-19 has just forced you to adopt digitization faster than you had otherwise planned. Not doing so in time can mean death for your company, as the world is not going back to normal for a long time even after we are out of the clutches of the virus. The ways we do business and customer behavior are going to be different in the post-COVID-19 era and transforming your organization digitally is critical to your success in the future.