We are all aware that Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on businesses across the globe and has forced change as we strive to recover from the commercial and lifestyle effects of this pandemic. Some organisations will prosper, but others will fail as many legacy business models are deemed no longer fit for purpose.
There are so many new considerations for business owners, shareholders and employees to navigate, many of these issues were previously deemed not crucial in terms of growth and development. Covid-19 has flipped operating models, business processes and everyday interactions on their head, and we are all being forced into a sink or swim situation – professionally and personally.
Digital transformation is no longer a requirement for large organisations only, it’s affecting everybody, and we need to rethink how we leverage digital technologies, build out automation capabilities, and address customer experiences using more agile and lean methodologies.
“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”
The retail industry has certainly been struggling to cope, with some major Australian departments stores failing to pivot fast enough to operate online and offer customers a basic level of service. That said, it’s no surprise to hear that IBISWorld predicted e-Commerce will grow by 11% in 2020, while brick and mortar retail stores will remain under pressure with fixed costs and declining foot traffic.
To quote Sun Tzu, “in the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity”. Some retailers understood how to navigate successfully by being agile, leveraging digital technologies, and strategically redesigning their business strategy. The Accent Group, parent company of retailers including Platypus and The Athlete’s Foot, turned some of its retail locations into dark stores to help address the surge in demand it has experienced online throughout the pandemic. Kmart has also converted three of its locations into dark stores to help support its increasing online business. These are great examples of implementing digital transformation strategies to ensure their survival.
Another great, yet simple example is a building company that wanted to alleviate their staff from taking phone calls to address repetitive questions on a popular product line during normal office hours. This company developed a chatbot that was accessible 24/7 to answer customer questions related to product suitability, availability and usage. It may not be a company-wide transformation strategy, but the results were instantly identifiable and measurable:
- Improved employee satisfaction and productivity;
- Consistency of product related advice and information;
- The chatbot received a 94% approval rating from users.
“We went from being the Flintstones to the Jetsons in 9 months.”
— Dan Schulman, PayPal
Many businesses didn’t have the luxury of a 9 month window to digitally transform – the savvy ones managed to completely flip their business model within one week! But what next? How do we accelerate our recovery through digital transformation?
In a recent article by Chris Howard, Chief of Research at Gartner, he identifies the pandemic response as three overlapping phases:
- Respond – Take care of employees, stop the business haemorrhaging while maintaining vital business operations
- Recover – Focus on stability. Develop a plan to return to business as usual. Quantify resources and objectives
- Renew – Execution of renewed business plans and processes. Review the strategy again
None of the three phases should be considered in isolation. Before exiting from the ‘Respond’ phase, organisational leaders should be dynamically engaged in activities related to the subsequent ‘Recover and Renew’ phases. To survive in a digital world that is undergoing continual change, organisations should promote a flexible culture that encourages agile decision making, and a clear strategy that is embraced by all employees.
No organisation wants to be left behind. Agile organisations striving to become “The Jetsons” will continue to invest in disruptive technologies in order to prosper in a post Covid-19 world. Global commerce markets will experience U, V and W shaped economic rebounds, which are likely to be determined by the advent of localised, or widespread virus hotspots, and will vary by geography and industry. The most desired outcome would be V shaped, as business returns to more positive trading conditions via e-commerce platforms and the anticipation of a Covid-19 vaccine.
NashTech Australia and New Zealand have the expertise and capability to accelerate your business recovery through a clearly defined digital transformation strategy – positioning your organisation to achieve a V shaped economic rebound.
Since 2000, NashTech has provided IT services spanning software development, cloud services, managed services, and business process outsourcing. Our team of digital transformation professionals in Australia are providing our clients with complex digital solutions built on disruptive technologies. We balance strategic thinking with engineering expertise and experience, while implementing e-commerce, cloud migration, automation and mobile-first strategies – with advanced software development experience in designing chatbots and customised analytics platforms for all business needs. We combine Australian pre-sales and delivery expertise with our ‘Safe Haven’ Offshore Technology Development Centres in Vietnam to deliver critical projects efficiently and on time.
If you are interested in learning more about how NashTech can accelerate your digital transformation, there are a number of excellent resources available here or you can contact the team in Sydney directly.