Coronavirus (COVID-19) has changed our experiences as customers, employees, humans, and citizens. Now, it is changing the buying habits of consumers and also speeding up the changes in the consumer goods industry. With these new habits and behaviors, organizations have an excellent opportunity to shift their traditional commerce to digital commerce by expanding existing services and offers for consumers.
This global pandemic has not only impacted people’s health but also has a significant impact on businesses and the economy. Even before this virus outbreak, many IT industries were facing considerable challenges. Now, it is pushing those organizations to rapidly adopt new technologies and operate in smarter ways. For building businesses fit for the future, leaders are facing rapid advancements in technology, consumer expectations, and society itself. The need of the hour is to reshape their plans and strategies and restructure their businesses to deliver better and long-lasting services to their customers. Leaders are turning their focus to a period of unpredictable and possibly muted economic recovery with new threats and opportunities, and quite possibly a decade of fast-changing shifts in cultural norms, societal values, and behavior.
What Experts Say?
In the long-term, we will see huge shifts in industries and working dynamics. According to Gartner’s recent Tech CEO Research Circle survey “COVID-19: Recession”, almost 45% of tech CEOs are worried about their revenue growth due to recession.
Here are some key takeaways from that survey:
- More than 54% of participating organizations predicted that an economic downfall due to COVID-19 will inhibit revenue growth because it reduced the demand for products and services.
- Most Tech CEOs believe that revenue growth will impact the most (86%) from a global economic recession and half also expect that their organization’s profit margins and long term plans are going to be affected.
- Participants are anticipating a downturn in sales growth (48%) as a short term impact of COVID-19.
These figures are alarming and terrifying and constantly raising questions on your preparations for an economic downturn.
Coronavirus sets the new standard for Industries
Coronavirus has challenged all businesses to digitally transform and in some cases, businesses have to make the hardest decision to close their doors. The losses that have occurred so far can be recovered if the leaders adopt the right structure for their organizations. They need to digitally innovate further. We know digital transformation is going to be very critical for all- businesses, brands, and enterprises due to COVID-19.
For decades, research has shown that less than 30% of companies succeed in digital transformation. Businesses that failed in transforming are still recovering and now this pandemic has caused us to run out of choices. In a nutshell, we can say that companies now have only one option left i.e. “Digital Transformation” to deal with this financial crisis.
By now most executives have digitized some parts of their organizations to retain their customers and employees and recent data shows that we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around 8 weeks. Grocery stores have started taking online orders, schools have shifted their classrooms to digital classrooms, doctors have begun delivering prescription through a digital medium, banks have adopted the concept of remote sales, and launched digital outreach to customers to make easy payments for loans and the list goes on. So if you also want to grab this opportunity and want to beat your competitors in this ruthless world this is the golden time for you. In this age of digital transformation, your little endeavors towards this transformation will create a huge difference shortly. To keep you in this game for the long run, we are sharing an unbeatable plan that will boost your confidence to the next level.
Three months plan to relaunch your business immediately
This 3-months plan has four pillars to master. The first one is to refocus your digital efforts to meet customer expectations. The leaders need to accelerate their organization’s shift towards the digital environment. They should align the organization with new digital priorities but also consider customers’ expectations to accelerate the shift to digital channels and provide all the safety measures to their customers. For example, airlines are constantly trying to reinvent passenger experience with contactless journeys so that they feel safe to travel again. In the next phase bring digital channels to parity and try to make them better. At last launch new digital offerings. In the next 3 three months, CEOs Should assess the changes in need and behavior of their most important customers and set the most urgent priorities. By setting up a weekly forum for senior executives, the chiefs can measure digital channel performance that will help them to drive the agenda at full pace.
The second one is to utilize the power of AI (Artificial Intelligence) to improve business operations. Modern businesses have several forecasting and planning models to guide operational decisions. These models need to be validated to avoid further replacement due to other crises. The analyst team must bring new data sets to determine the accuracy and use of enhanced modeling techniques to forecast demands successfully. The more accurate your model is, the more accurate your decisions will. As a first step, analytics officers should focus on inventory core models that support all the business decisions and work with business leaders to prioritize them based on their impact on key operations. This process is essential and should be done as soon as possible to define a program of quick fixes that will help the data and analytics team to develop the next generation models that leverage new data sets and modeling techniques better suited for fast-changing environments. More advanced companies have already developed analytics models using advanced machine learning algorithms.
The third one is to modernize the company’s technology. In the first thirty days, develop the plan to rightsize the IT cost structure and reinvest the freed-up resources into the digital agenda. In the next thirty days, choose your technology stack. CIO’s should carefully pass the contractual structures offered by technology providers and also put internal efforts to train the team for new technologies. To double the development speed CIO’s should emphasize setting up the cloud-based platform and equipping agile teams with automated software delivery. In the last month, focus on hiring digital talent, accelerate digital upskilling of the entire organization, and pay attention to cybersecurity.
The last one is to increase the organizational drumbeat. The current scenario has forced industries to adopt new realities and fully agile organizational model. One leading residential solar service provider has recently observed record sales using a remote sales model. Let’s see how you can use this model in your organization. During the first thirty days identify the areas where digital execution is necessary and where the remote work model can unleash the productivity benefits. In parallel, create plans for digital factories to support them. By doing this, we can find out the target changes for operating models. In the next month, develop new models that include staffing level, expertise mix, governance, and operating procedures. In the final month, execute and operationalize the new designs. We have seen so many examples such as banks, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies that have shifted their entire field forces to a remote model in three months. Leaders who want to survive this phase need to quickly reset their digital agendas to fulfill customer’s needs and adopt new tech stack to operate at the highest effective pace.
There is no doubt that this pandemic will change the way of how businesses operate. For some companies that were already digitally agile, there will be small efforts in areas that are not digitized yet and for others, it will be a complete transformation of business plans, strategies, methodologies, models and, the structure of the organization. Keep in mind, that digital transformation can be difficult for some industries but with the right approach, communication, tools, and leadership, you can take your first step in digital transformation today.
- The COVID-19 recovery will be digital: A plan for the first 90 days, McKinsey 2020
- COVID-19: Tech CEOs Prepare for Impact on Revenue Growth in Light of an Emerging Recession, Gartner 2020