Digital Transformation in the Post COVID-19 World
Digital Transformation has long been on the to-do list of many organisations, but the global pandemic of Covid-19 has starkly highlighted the benefits of successful digital transformation and the importance of tech-enabled business.
The global pandemic has been a proving ground where the most agile and dynamic businesses have reacted fastest to the ‘new normal’ of the lockdown economy; restrictions on travel, the shutdown of physical stores, home working etc. Against this backdrop, the question is no longer should organisations digitise, but, rather, how can they deliver a transformation that best prepares them to handle uncertain times and create opportunity from crisis.
Expecting the unexpected
Businesses face many challenges due to Coronavirus - cybersecurity, transitioning to working from home, safeguarding field workers exposed to infection - but not every story is one of struggle. It’s arguable whether the pandemic is a true Black Swan event, but disruptive events of such magnitude are virtually impossible for any organisation to predict, let alone plan for, so why have some companies proven to be better prepared than others?
Many of the organisations coping best or even thriving in the current crisis share a common attribute; they were already building a flexible digital platform for the future, embracing agile methodologies and building development teams with detailed domain knowledge who could be flexible and fast enough to move in response to unprecedented events.
The foundations of successful digital transformation - a long-term investment in the right technology, and a long-term investment in the right technology partner created the agility necessary to operate normally in a world that is anything but.
The Keyholding Company
For a real-world example, look no further than The Keyholding Company, which has shown how rapid adaptation to such events are not only possible, but can be made to look routine.
Alongside alarm response, one of the primary operational processes for The Keyholding Company is the management of secure locking and unlocking of clients’ buildings. However, with the majority of high street businesses shutting up shop, this service is no longer required. With the overnight disappearance of a key revenue channel, The Keyholding Company faced a challenging time during the coronavirus shutdown, unless alternative revenue streams were found.
The standard approach to cope with such a critical situation would be to plan for new products or services to replace lost revenue, but planning and executing these solutions takes weeks if not months in a traditional business, by which point it could be too little, too late.
The Keyholding Company is not, however, a traditional company; having worked with Haulmont since 2013, together we built ‘Chase’, a highly flexible, enterprise system that has been the foundation of successful digital transformation. Alongside this ongoing investment in technology, The Keyholding Company has also built an expert internal tech team, supported by a dedicated Haulmont developmental team with detailed knowledge of the business domain and critical system processes.
As a result of this ongoing relationship, when Covid-19 hit, The Keyholding Company was able to flex its existing client portal and job processes and reconfigure them to support an entirely new product and process. Over the space of a weekend, new products were developed and implemented to offer customers scheduled external patrols to reduce the amount of potential crime in unstaffed buildings/shops. Instead of unlocking the premises for workers, mobile security workers now focus upon protecting the estates of the clients, which in turn eases pressure on the police service.
Alongside this speed of response to build out new product offerings, the cutting edge tech stack of Chase, which is cloud-hosted and browser accessible regardless of location, allowed The Keyholding Company’s head office staff to seamlessly transition to working from home with minimal disruption.
The Keyholding Company’s ongoing digital transformation project has enabled the business to function as close to normal as possible and even thrive in the new normal of the Covid-19 world. Thanks to this ability to retain key clients and even to add new business during the lockdown, Keyholding’s staff are able to work safely in the knowledge that their jobs are secure, their day-to-day work unaffected and morale high.
The argument for a digital transformation has never been stronger or more relevant. As business recovers from the lockdown, the aftermath of the current global pandemic will shift priorities, making a digital transformation a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’.
Digital transformation won’t help a business to predict the next Coronavirus, but it does provide the best chance to ensure a business has the flexibility and agility to deal with it. Whatever the future holds, the winners will be those companies that react fastest and smartest to respond to the next big challenge, based on good technology, smart staff and software developers who truly understand the industry they are building for.