The COVID-19 Impact on Businesses:

As companies were preparing to deal with a recession period in the economic cycle, the impact of an unexpected pandemic left many stranded and perplexed. COVID-19 has dealt a profound blow on the global economy and commercial activities. The negative implications have urged businesses to seek suitable solutions and help fix their business continuity concerns while balancing social distancing protocols. Given the sudden changes to the business environment, sectors and companies have had to adapt quickly enough to survive amid the escalating stress. 

Digital Transformation 2020 – for Dealing with Unexpected Disruptions:

Getting comfortable with the ‘new normal’ working conditions will be difficult. A considerable amount of workplace restrictions, social distancing, and other challenges will affect companies, albeit differently depending on their sector and potential for allowing employees to work from home. It is time to think about a Digital Transformation strategy to improve internal capabilities. It will also provide employees and management with the tools to function and compete in extreme market conditions.   

Naturally, organizations would prefer to equip themselves with calculated changes, leading to better sustainability and a brighter financial future. While ensuring that new intentions complement core business objectives, one thing remains essential in these conditions. That is being realistic about opportunities and threats in domestic and global markets. Vertical integration and acquisition strategies could provide the means for stability, but the purpose and significance of a Digital Transformation cannot be ignored in 2020.

Hiring an external team to facilitate the Digital Transformation process is a practical option that can be exercised by smaller businesses. It will also prove effective for companies that do not possess an internal IT team or ones without the necessary technological capabilities. Since it is a step-by-step process, starting from the evaluation of potential to creating value for businesses, attention to detail is paramount. It is not a one-size-fits-all concept, but the infusion of specific digital targets, such as increasing the capacity for automation, remodeling data analytics, or creating a new cloud strategy. 

So, what are the key expectations from Digital Transformation in 2020?

Managing a remote workforce efficiently:

Ideally, for managing a remote workforce, preparation should be prioritized. Since this does not merely equate to providing laptops and other equipment to employees, CTOs, research teams, HR, and other department heads will play a crucial role in evaluating requirements and delegating responsibilities going forward. It involves analyzing various factors that will impact employee output and profitability metrics.

According to a recent survey, lockdown restrictions and changed working conditions have severely affected employee productivity: Setting up collaboration tools and leave management systems will improve control, monitoring, and accountability. The productivity levels of each employee can be verified in a timely and systematic manner, additionally prompting adherence to determined schedules. Some employees may not be adept at using new technology features. Online training materials and helpdesks should be considered to emphasize the best cybersecurity practices and provide guidelines on the use of other crucial software. 

Embracing the Digital culture for Smooth Functioning and a Competitive Edge:

Despite the impact of COVID-19, businesses cannot neglect to maintain higher standards and operational efficiency. It is crucial to regard market competition and new opportunities for inorganic growth. Manufacturing and production units have faced numerous challenges due to the pandemic. One way to combat future constraints is the use of suitable digital implementations. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence technologies will help companies secure their future by running manufacturing plants with minimum supervision.  

Reducing the level of physical IT infrastructure and investing in cloud solutions is one way to induce the kind of cost-efficiency towards which companies aim. Anticipating and implementing long-term solutions will increase operational consistency. After COVID-19 has disrupted essential business functions, digital workplaces have become more popular to cope with problems such as process inconsistencies and project mismanagement.

Transforming the User Experience by Understanding Industry-specific Needs:

Developing seamless solutions to improve customer experiences has always been on the priority list of e-commerce companies and retail outlets. With the new limitations, it has become an absolute necessity to re-think digital preferences. Consumer demand trends have changed in the post-pandemic world. The importance of ‘staying home and staying safe’ has limited opportunities for physical stores. As customers look to order essential and luxury commodities from home, digital focus and digital investments will provide some much-needed momentum, reflecting positively on sales.

Banking and Financial companies also stand to benefit from a Digital Transformation in 2020. Traditional systems are changing to compete with new and digitized services, leaving behind legacy technologies and adopting newer tools that complement customer expectations. Data analysis and machine learning tools provide beneficial insights into user trends, providing actionable data for digital marketing. Here, we cannot stress enough on innovation, and companies should create unique features when creating online services and apps to engage customers.

Education is another sector that has been impacted by COVID-19. Digital transformation will lead to a conducive learning environment for kids and adults, making e-learning and digital classrooms a more familiar concept. Schools and universities have been using online as well as internal education platforms to complete their curriculum amid the disruption. EdTech companies, such as Udemy, Age of Learning, and Byju’s, have grown in demand. By offering customizable options, engaging tools, and comprehensive assessments, they have captured the attention of many.

Healthcare is also preparing for a more robust digital foundation that will enhance remote caregiving provisions and optimize patient record management. An initial investment in Digital Transformation will provide long-term functionality; through self-help and scheduling applications, telehealth services, and the use of AI and IoT for remote monitoring.

Here are some Valuable Measures to Enhance the Results Further:

Having a Profound Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place:

Post-pandemic, companies have come to realize the importance of a relevant Business Continuity Plan, which goes beyond the structure of a regular contingency or recovery setup. With BCP, testing is a continuous process to evaluate the readiness of systems and employees, gradually developing with newer insights and simulations. Some of the main advantages of a good BCP are:

1. Being able to resume customer service operations seamlessly

2. Prioritizing supply chain requirements

3. Employees being aware of remote working protocols 

4. Maintaining a competitive edge even under tough working conditions

5. Mitigating reputational and regulatory risks systematically

6. Effective data recovery, owing to scheduled backups

7. Dealing with client concerns on priority, enhancing retention numbers

Developing Strategies that will Stand the Test of Time:

When formulating a Digital Strategy, one of the main points to consider is the impact on the organization’s complete ecosystem. Among other factors, this will depend on the internal functions, management style, market activity, and client expectations. Digital opportunities and risks need to be classified and studied in detail to prevent cyber threats, compliance issues, and a potential overload on employees. 

A Hybrid Cloud Strategy, using both private and public services, is being highly regarded. In the aftermath of COVID-19, it allows companies to deal with varying workloads and data storage requirements, allowing flexibility, portability, and cost-efficiency.

In conclusion,

As we can see, COVID-19 has changed the business environment on a global level. Differences between the pre-pandemic and post-pandemic world have forced decision-makers to address the pros and cons of technological objectives. In 2020, the value-add derived through Digital Transformation should be considered without delay. It has become a vital process that will determine the success rate of companies in the future. Since cashless transactions, remote dealmaking, and virtual meetings and seminars will be favored more often and widely accepted, being prepared and proactive will help companies secure the desired market position.

Christina has been working as a freelance content writer for more than seven years, continuing enthusiastically to present insightful information in a creative manner. She is knowledgeable about various fields and has ample amount of experience creating original content. Her main focus is creating detail-oriented, well-researched and apt content as per key requirements. Most of her experience is associated with corporate business development, strategizing, proactive decision-driving tactics and topics related to trending market concepts, each specifically designed with the target audience in mind.

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