A recent global survey has revealed that in the post-pandemic world, digital strategy is now more important than ever before to most organisations. This is driven by the sudden massive expansion of remote working, but also the disruption to the running of day-to-day operations which the lockdown has caused in almost every sector.
The survey is reported by Consultancy UK. It found that 80% of organisations now think that digital transformation is currently a priority, and 50% have a ‘tactical roadmap for digital planning and prioritisation.’ However, nine out of ten organisations also said that they faced at least one barrier in their efforts to transform.
The top three digital roadblocks include data security concerns, outdated or legacy technology, and a lack of the right skills and training amongst current employees. Meanwhile, the three biggest tech priorities for greater investment included cybersecurity, cloud computing, and big data analytics.
The survey also revealed that the ultimate goals of businesses investing in their digital capabilities were to improve operational efficiency, to improve customer experiences, and to launch new products and services. This reflects the growing acceptance by consumers to use ecommerce sites and engage with automated customer service processes.
Another survey by consultancy firm McKinsey & Company found that the coronavirus pandemic had accelerated the digital transformation process so profoundly that seven years of progress was made in a matter of months. The fundamental reason for this is the rapid change in consumer behaviour, as all physical non-essential stores were forced to close.
As rates of digital customer interactions skyrocketed during lockdown, businesses spent more on digital investments than any other contingency measures, according to the survey. Many organisations also managed to achieve remote working operations in a matter of 11 days, whereas pre-pandemic the transition might have taken a year.
However, such enforced and rapid change may mean that ‘quick fixes’ will have to be replaced or refined in order to make them safe and permanent solutions. Nonetheless, it is predicted that many of the changes, such as increased use of cloud computing, increased spend on data security, and extensive homeworking are here to stay.
David Rogers, a digital transformation expert who has recently published a report into the attitude towards digitalisation by industry leaders, has noticed a marked levelling of approach. It is now a matter of “board level focus” in the majority of companies, rather than an issue parked for the future.
Mr Rogers comments: “Digital has been the big winner in the Covid-19 era. Our new reality has forced a pivot to digital operating models in industries as diverse as healthcare, retail, education, automotive, banking, and more.”
“But transforming any large and complex organisation for this era is an immense leadership challenge. It encompasses new strategy and business models, but also profound shifts in organisational process and culture.”
Mr Rogers also notes that that in order to keep up with today’s rapid pace of change, it is now essential to invest in the right technology and business architecture.
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