During the pandemic, we have often been asked by clients what the post-COVID world of business will look like. What kind of world are their organisations going to emerge into?
It will be different. But how different is likely to depend on the extent to which technology drove your business before the virus, and to what extent you let it drive your business going forward.
Bridging the digital divide
In many developed markets, there are significant gaps in technology adoption, especially among small and medium-sized enterprises. Studies show wide adoption of the most basic digital technology, such as internet access, social media and cloud computing. However, where performance is weak is in the integration of digital technology in core business processes that increase operational effectiveness and improve customer outcomes, such as enterprise resource planning, supply chain management and advanced digital technologies like Internet of Things, robotics and artificial intelligence. This will have to change.
Post crisis, firms risk falling behind if they fail to continuously focus on what’s most important for customers– building and delivering experiences that measure up to the expectations set by other innovators in the market. What’s more, the ensuing recession will only accelerate the pace of change even further as firms fight to differentiate themselves with customers to secure existing revenues and find new ones.
Digital and agile have become table stakes
Businesses looking to future-proof themselves for the post-lockdown world, where digital and agile technologies are the norm, must seize the moment.
The coronavirus has created the right conditions to force the pace of digital innovation. Now businesses have a better idea of what they can and cannot do, and how to adapt to new conditions. And where they have to do more with less, it’s easier to find better, faster simpler, cheaper ways of doing things.
It’s no longer enough to simply to bolt-on digital products and services to established business models to make them more agile. It’s time for businesses to become more adaptive by anticipating and fulfilling the evolving needs of customers in the new normal environment; by using emerging technologies to transform the very core and model of the business.
Take your lead from the leaders
A good example of adopting a new, adaptive approach to meet customer need is Microsoft’s change of business model under Satya Nadella. The business had come under pressure when the market started moving away from a monolithic model where all services came from one vendor, to one where IT subscribe to cloud services and choose the best of breed. This was also happening against a backdrop of consumerisation in IT where power was shifting from large administrative departments to users and teams.
So rather than trying to compel customers to buy an all-Microsoft, all-the-time kind of approach, Nadella recognized that customer needs must come first, and as a business Microsoft had to adapt, and offer greater accessibility through partnership and more open technology. Hence the adoption of the subscription model.
Adaptive businesses can weather a global recession
Now is the time for businesses to become more adaptive, to use technology to dramatically rethink and reconfigure their core offering and meet the changing needs and expectations of customers in the new business world.
It’s our desire to help our clients make decisions now that will lead to a burst of innovation and drive greater productivity and resilience. In doing so, they can survive and thrive during the coming recession, and will be better placed to capitalise on the boom times, whenever they should return.