Creating Competitive Advantage with Digital
As the coronavirus pandemic paralyses businesses worldwide, it is tempting for enterprises to put the digital transformation strategy on the back burner amid business continuity and resilience efforts. However, it is imperative for enterprises to invest in digital today to build future ready business models that can create valuable competitive advantage on the other side of COVID-19.
The pandemic is therefore a tipping point for the digital transformation of business. According to a recent global study, 70% of businesses have increased or maintained digital transformation spend amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This increased focus on digital transformation is evident across industries and geographies. Looking to digitally transform their operations and processes is not really new for enterprises, however, what is new in the wake of the pandemic is that this is an opportunity for leaders to create significant competitive advantage. Forward-thinking leaders will now grab the opportunity to devise a digital strategy that aligns with the changing role of business. Leaders would be looking to create value through reorienting digital transformation initiatives to drive sustained value for the enterprise and using technology to respond to the needs of all the stakeholders including consumers, employees and partners.
The nature and agility of digital transformation will vary across enterprises, and will depend on size, industry, capabilities and digital maturity. Let us look at some of the universal dimensions that enterprises must look into while constructing digital roadmaps for creating competitive advantage.
Value Creation from Digital Transformation
Enterprises are looking beyond their value chains and industry boundaries to create significant value. Ultimately, the aim is to use digital technology to drive efficiency improvements, encourage collaboration and boost customer satisfaction.
Stronger Supply Chain
The contemporary threat of disruption requires enterprises to empower local supply chains with agility and resilience and faster turnaround to customers. Digitalization offers enhanced visibility into the supply chain and allows informed decisions based on real-time data to seamlessly shift operations when required.
Faster turnaround to supply and demand changes across different geographies, operating models and free from information silos is the need of the hour. Forward-looking organizations will be the ones that can quickly adapt to changes. Businesses of all scales having focused on ensuring business continuity are now likely to make their operations more resilient to ensure they are better placed in the future.
Data-Driven Business Decisions
The current global pandemic has facilitated enterprises to look closely at the data they are processing, and to obtain more data on their customers, employees and other key stakeholders. According to a recent survey, 63% of executives believe slow decision-making as a barrier to agility. Future decisions, therefore, will increasingly be made by front-line employees who are close to consumers, partners and automated systems.
Enterprises that implement digital transformation successfully create sustaining competitive advantage and some of the key technologies that promise to better enable enterprises in improving operations and reducing costs are as follows.
Robotic Process Automation
RPA has the capability to help enterprises integrate their existing systems, eliminating manual interventions at the interfaces between systems and process steps. Enterprises are planning their RPA initiatives carefully to focus on activities where automation will provide maximum benefits. There will be an increasing focus on process optimization that will enable the technology to deliver maximum returns.
Enterprises of all sizes can benefit from AI applications that optimize cloud processing, enable the deployment of faster computers, and boost operational efficiency. Private and public entities around the globe, particularly in the health care and governance sectors, are developing and deploying a range of artificial intelligence systems in emergency response to COVID-19.
The enterprises that are still contemplating migrating onto the cloud need to accelerate the action at this time. According to a recent survey, spending on cloud infrastructure is expected to overtake its non-cloud equivalent this year, forecasting cloud spends to comprise 54% of overall IT infrastructure outlay.
Machine Learning can deliver insights by observing patterns and inconsistencies, and in events such as COVID-19 that disrupt business continuity, these insights are imperative to help an enterprise adapt to the dynamic environment. Machine learning can guide employee actions and facilitate improved interactions to ensure efficient operations across the enterprise.
Healthcare Provider Accelerates Automation in Wake of COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has pushed the world into uncharted territory — and in some industries, that’s leading to an automation boom.
One of Israel’s largest healthcare providers installed a Robotic Process Automation system in place to automate downloads of COVID-19 test results straight from the Israeli ministry of health into the healthcare system. The previous system, in which dense, data-heavy excel files were sent to the healthcare provider two times a day and manually uploaded.
With RPA adoption, the leading healthcare provider is now able to automate this process, helping to efficiently and quickly improve care. The rapid uploading of critical and sensitive data is now highly accurate, eliminating the possibilities for human error that existed during manual upload. The process that would have taken the healthcare provider’s team 1-2 months to create without automation. The solution dramatically expedited the healthcare provider’s ability to handle COVID-19 testing.
In sum, digital transformation is no longer a luxury and it has quickly become a competitive necessity. As enterprises increasingly come to terms with this shift, the competitive advantage will be with organizations that take decisive and early steps to transform their businesses.