A Digital Recovery Is in The Making for Companies Post-COVID

This is the time when the majority of the C-suite executives have digitized certain areas of their companies in order to keep their employees safe, while still serving customers during the pandemic crisis. Recently, one of the CEOs of a famous tech company mentioned that these times will be in the pages of history books where digital access and remote work has become the new normal across all domains.

According to recent data from McKinsey, we have jumped half a decade ahead when it comes to business and consumer digital adoption in just eight weeks during the pandemic. Every sector has adopted the digital way of doing things. Banks have shifted to remote sales and service teams, while launching digital outreach for customers so that there are flexible payment arrangements when it comes to mortgages and loans. Moreover, grocery stores have transitioned to online ordering plus delivery and have made that their primary business. In several locations, schools have completely shifted to the digital side by integrating digital classrooms and online learning into their systems. When it comes to hospitals, doctors now deliver telemedicine whenever needed, which has been supported by more flexible regulation. There are manufacturers that have actively developed plans for different ‘lights out’ factories and also supply chains. All this is just the start.

Furthermore, businesses are starting to figure out how they can return to some sort of normalcy as certain regions have started reopening once again. They will be reopening in an environment that is still unstable where lockdowns will be a constant thing every now and then. In order to do so, these businesses will have to think about three main structural changes that will be playing out.

Firstly, the way people now interact and customer behavior has drastically changed. Even though these changes will continue to shift, the usage of digital services will continue to be a part of the world on a global scale to some extent. Secondly, the economy will slowly try to repair itself, hence demand recovery is going to be unpredictable. Its unevenness will spread across all sectors, geographies, customer segments, and product categories, which will take a lot longer to return back to precrisis levels. Lastly, numerous organizations transitioned to remote-working models pretty much overnight. Through a remote-first setup, companies can instantly mobilize global expertise, quickly organize a project review, whether it is with 20 people or 200, and reply back to customer inquiries much more quickly by helping them with information like sales, product information, after-sales support, and so on. All this can be done digitally.

Thus, for a successful recovery, addressing these changes will be a critical matter for almost all businesses. There is no doubt that digital will play an extremely important role in everything. Hence, a 90-day plan will help in realigning the digital agenda and accelerate the recovery period.

How A Digital Agenda Will Help with Recovery
Customers have already shifted to digital in numerous companies. The employees in these companies are working remotely fulltime and are staying active to some degree. Moreover, companies have already started artificial-intelligence (AI) and analytics initiatives within their operations. Their IT teams are delivering at a much faster pace as compared to before. However, for certain companies, these recent changes only represent the initial phase of the necessary changes that took place.

Use New Digital Efforts to Change Customer Expectations
Numerous companies are quickly shifting towards digital-first models. For example, a European variety-store chain created an e-commerce business that’s fully functioning in a span of only three months. This online business was active and interconnected with every single function, like merchandising, warehousing, customer support, marketing, and so on. Thus, the business improved its basket size by three times as compared to the physical stores, which also includes delivering almost 3% like-for-like revenue growth within its main market.

Enhance Business Operations by Using AI and New Data
When it comes to operational decisions, numerous of them are made on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. Moreover, modern businesses come with several forecasting and planning models that help with these operational decisions. Different organizations are required to validate these models. Similar to how several companies rebuilt their risk and financial models which failed during the financial collapse in 2008, models will be required to be replaced due to the major economic and structural changes that were caused by this pandemic. Models that use oil-price, time-series, or unemployment data, for example, will be built entirely again. Plus, the data will need to be reevaluated too.

Modernize Technology Capabilities in A Selective Manner
In order to successfully implement the described agenda, there is a requirement of development velocity and investment capacity. CIOs will be able to rightsize the IT cost structure towards newer demand levels and reinvent the resources into critical decision-support systems and customer-facing digital solutions, essentially. Furthermore, companies can offer some of their savings towards modernizing selective technology stack, including software-development tooling.

Improving the Organizational Drumbeat
Due to this pandemic, organizations had to adapt to new realities in a quick manner, which eventually made everyone realize newer and quicker ways through which one can work with customers, colleagues, and suppliers. Numerous CEOs started to think about how they can maintain this quickened organizational drumbeat. Furthermore, companies that have adopted more agile organizational models showed great improvements in areas like productivity and execution pace. Hence, this remained to be true during this pandemic, since there is a direct connection between pre-COVID agile maturity and the time it took companies to launch their first-ever crisis-related product/service.

In order for business owners to see success in the digital-led recovery phase, they need to reevaluate their digital agendas so that they can maintain their decision-support systems, meet the new needs of their customers, and adjust their organizational models, including their tech stacks, so that they work at the highest and most effective speed. This means that C-level executives need to aim their digital firepower towards the right targets in order to execute against them quickly. It is important to set these targets towards the beginning and measure the progress regularly. Succeeding across digital channels to stay ahead of the revenue race, recreating the most essential decision-support models, and increasing development velocity are all achievable goals. Through the 90-day plan, many organizations can meet all of these goals.

The full report that was used as the reference source for this article can be found by clicking here.