Digital Transformation Amidst Coronavirus Crises
Amid the coronavirus crises that has cast a veil of uncertainty over the future of businesses, one thing is crystal clear: driving digital transformation is not a luxury but an absolute necessity for survival. Enterprises that once mapped digital initiatives in the timeline of one- to three-years are now scaling their initiatives in a matter of days or weeks. According to a recent survey over 83% of the respondents said their enterprise had become more focused on digital during COVID-19. The same survey also found out that more than 83% of respondents also believed their organization would continue to accelerate their digital transformation post-COVID. This speeding up of digital transformation initiatives is evident already across industries and geographies.
Organizations have previously faced obstacles in adopting new technologies due to bureaucracy and reluctance to disrupt existing ways of working. Since enterprises have had to adapt to remote working, teams have become more adaptable and are replacing the ‘how things have always been’ mentality with a ‘let’s try it and see if it works’ approach.
The current pandemic showcases a future trend where digital will become central to every interaction, compelling both individuals and enterprises to further their digital adoption. Digital channels will become the primary customer-engagement model, and the primary driver of productivity and cost reductions would be automated processes.
Key principles for digital transformation
Although the success of digital transformation initiatives will depend on enterprise specific challenges and requirements, it needs to be done with some key underlying principles.
Rapid automation – Small and medium enterprises rely on manual processes and tasks that are repetitive and mundane. Automation of high volume, repeatable tasks can provide process agility, cost reductions and also allow the workforce to engage in other value-added tasks.
Cloud provides a more secure platform and removes the physical data centres dependency for enterprises and solves for challenges in accessibility.
Agile operating models – Future ready, sustainable organisations will be the ones that can quickly adapt to changes in services, channels, and geographies among others. Businesses of all scales have found their IT durability tested and having focused in ensuring business continuity, it is now likely that enterprises will look to make their operations more resilient to ensure they are better placed in the future.
Let us look at some of the good practices for digital transformation amid this global pandemic.
- Building Operational Resilience
- Diversification of supply chain
- Becoming More Data-Driven
The current unprecedented situation has brought forth the pressing need for technology to facilitate operational resilience. Some industries have successfully enabled employees to continue working seamlessly with remote working tools.
Well run organizations are therefore more likely to build increased resilience with their digital transformation initiatives. Enterprises that use this time to accelerate this transition will surely be ahead of the race soon. This might mean investing in digital transformation technologies to ensure business continuity in the event of future unforeseeable events.
More than 90% of the Fortune 1000 enterprises have suffered supply chain disruption at some level. Any digital transformation initiative will need to have a focused view on reducing supply chain risk to an acceptable level. A sound approach to risk management will consider diversification of the supply chain that braces digital transformation. A more diverse supply chain may see increased adoption of new technologies and automation and ensure greatest possible choice of goods and services for the organization.
The current global pandemic has facilitated enterprises to look closely at the data they are processing, and to procure more and diverse of data on their customers, employees and other key stakeholders. Data is already the pivot for many digital transformation initiatives and is likely that the pandemic will accelerate this trend. This of course gives rise to challenges and risks associated with data security and compliances that need to guide digital transformation.
Enterprises that implement digital transformation successfully grow faster than their competitors and some of the key technologies that promise to better enable enterprises in improving operations and reducing costs are as follows.
Even during a global pandemic, customers will still want to interact with businesses and enterprises using self-service tools such as chatbots see much higher customer satisfaction and retention rates than the competition who do not use any self-service tools. Chatbots can help prevent churn for both customers as well as employees.
Robotic Process Automation
RPA speeds up process cycle times by automating repetitive tasks and freeing up employees to engage in other value-added tasks. RPA has the capability to help enterprises integrate their existing systems, eliminating manual interventions at the interfaces between systems and process steps. Industries such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, public sector and essential retail are finding huge RPA applications.
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.
Machine Learning can deliver insights by observing patterns and inconsistencies, and in events such as COVID-19 that disrupts 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.
Business Continuity with Touchless Invoice Processing
Enterprises across the globe are facing challenges in adapting to the dynamic business landscape and implementing new digital solutions to minimize business disruption. Majority of AP function is comprehending ways to continue their operations seamlessly while also ensuring standard operating procedures. Since Accounts Payable is a function that is paper intensive and involves high volumes of manual data entry, invoice processing is especially challenging as majority of the workforce continue to work from home. Invoice processing automation solutions enable enterprises remote access for authorized users to log in from anywhere and continue to process incoming supplier invoices according to specific business rules. This allows business continuity and maximizes AP function efficiency.
In these times of crises, enterprises need to review their short-term and long-term strategies. Enterprises adopting a digital mindset will enable themselves in meeting changing customer expectations and stay ahead of the competition and preserve through these uncertain times.