Digital transformation has been the hot topic on everyone’s lips as of late. And in the current climate, it’s now more relevant and essential than ever before.
Companies everywhere are now finding out just how strong their digital solutions and processes are – and how prepared they are for flexible working. Now with the situation we’re all in, the question is, how well can your teams access the information they need and work together while working from home?
In case you missed it over the past few weeks, the team over at The Drum has been hosting the Digital Transformation Festival – and due to all the social distancing, this festival was indeed fully digital.
If you haven’t had a chance to watch any of the discussions yourself, I’m bringing you my top 5 take away sessions from the Digital Transformation Festival. Take a read and explore what’s happening with digital transformation now and moving into the future – with considerations of how this will impact the way your organisation operates.
1. Digital Transformation: No longer a buzzword
Credit: The Drum
Digital transformation has been around for some time. But recently, there’s been a real change in mindset with companies ready to leverage the best technology to find smarter ways of working.
But the question becomes, how do you actually do this? There’s two parts; what the customer can see of the organisation, and also what’s going on behind-the-scenes, which is also important as this works to enable the high-quality customer experiences.
Audience expectations are changing, and consumers now expect more from the experiences they have with companies. This can be broken down into three key areas of what consumers want from brand experiences:
- Utility: Is the experience useful at this particular point in their customer journey?
- Memorable: Are you setting yourselves apart by putting emotions into the experience?
- Connected: Where does this experience fit into the customer’s wider journey?
Your data, technology, and platforms can power a lot of these experiences people expect from your company. This is also supported by the ways of working within your organisation – are you able to be flexible, take onboard insight to innovate and pivot based on trends and changing needs? It’s vital to create an environment where all your teams work openly and can collaborate well with other departments.
Are you also placing enough value in the younger generations? These younger generations are key to digital transformation in the future. They only know a digital world, which means they have a lot to offer in terms of enhancing and changing our way of thinking. Bringing together teams filled with people of diverse thoughts, backgrounds, and knowledge sets can really open the doors and help you push the boundaries of what’s possible with digital going forward.
2. Is technology making us more creative?
Credit: The Drum
Technology has been part of many of our lives for as long as we can remember. While technology is always evolving and advancing, it can be hard to keep up – no matter how digitally savvy you may be. But does tech feed or restrict our creativity and thought processes?
It seems perhaps best to think of technology as an enabler, rather than the answer itself. It provides a platform that removes friction by streamlining processes and letting creative thinkers access the information they need more easily.
All too often people talk about ‘thinking outside the box’ but don’t always think about what exactly that ‘box’ is. What is the problem you’re trying to solve? How do you even define what the problem is? Will technology be the best way to solve it? And if so, how can a certain tech solution address your needs to provide the right answer?
One thing technology does provide is stronger sharing of information. It can create ideal solutions for great thinkers to work – no matter where they are or when they are at their most productive.
With the challenges society is currently facing, people are now realising the potential technology has in creating a flexible and collaborative working environment. No longer are strong tech solutions just a ‘nice-to-have’ – it’s now been proven to be a real ‘need-to-have’ instead.
Will this change remain after the current COVID-19 crisis passes? One thing is for sure – people are embracing this new way of working and are seeing that there can be benefits to the flexibility it brings.
Working in your own space – and time – means you have the opportunity for independent thought that isn’t influenced by the team, clients, or other people’s timelines. You have the chance to think about what you’re working on and why you are doing this; to dig down into what the problem is you’re trying to solve. This allows everyone to have their own thoughts and input where they can look at the problem in isolation to find the right channels and solution for it – which is a better way of working for organisations, clients, and customers.
3. Coronavirus is changing the world. Are we ready?
Credit: The Drum
It’s no secret that how we live – and how we work – has been drastically changed at the moment, and for the foreseeable future. With such a sudden change that’s set to last for an unknown amount of time, can many organisations honestly say they were ready for this?
Flexible and remote working hasn’t always been favoured, but we’re now seeing it’s so important to have the ability to still ensure business continuity – along with strong communication and collaboration – wherever we’re working from.
There’s no doubt some organisations have been more prepared than others. But what’s really needed in order to adapt so quickly? The panic caused by COVID-19 has created an attitude of ‘what can we do’. Everyone wants to be online and connected, but that can feel easier said than done. Though webinars, video calls, and online meetings in things like Microsoft Teams or Zoom are suddenly now more popular than ever.
While it could be easy to think about just quick fixes to tide you over, now is the time to consider Investing in long-term initiatives that can improve business processes to keep your organisation running smoothly while enabling flexible working.
The way we work and interact is changing, and it may be changing for good. It’s important to be proactive in getting your teams on the right track to communicating well and staying connected.
The companies who embrace being a connected organisation will see more success in the current climate through a good use of technology and strong leadership that lets them reach people wherever they are. No longer being able to micromanage teams means there’s an added element of trust; we’re all in this together. Using this trust and feeling of personal responsibility lets people work together and be creative in building a culture of open communication and collaboration.
4. Future of work: Are homes the office of the future?
Credit: The Drum
While there are plenty of companies who have embraced the digital workplace, there are many organisations who have been more resistant to tech and digital – and now are finding themselves forced to transform the ways they work.
With all the change happening and businesses trying to adapt to flexible and remote working, what impact is this going to have on working hours and creative output? But really, the focus must be on the people working, rather than worrying so much about the place where it’s done.
Are you having to quickly find new ways to work and for how your teams can work together? Many are trying out different platforms to see which ones will work for their needs, but one thing’s for sure – a centralised platform that everyone can access from wherever they are is essential.
Once this quarantine period is over, will things go back to normal? Or will there be a new normal? It seems naive to think that things will simply go back to how they always were before.
Organisations are now being forced to look at better ways of working. The traditional expectation of clocking in and having bums on seats is quickly becoming outdated. Physical offices will always be important as there’s a need (and want) for human interaction, but many organisations and workers will see a greater need for flexible working options too. With many businesses feeling financial strains due to the pandemic, flexible working can also provide a way to cut down on expensive office space costs.
This flexible approach lets you also take into consideration how individual people work and what specific projects require. Some people may work better in a structured environment or within an office, others may find their productivity levels are higher when they’re given more free-reign over how to schedule their day. It’s time to start thinking about people and spaces in a more fluid way.
Trusting your teams to decide the ways in which they do their best work can see a sharp rise in productivity and a reduction of staff turnover. So as long as you’re basing decisions on behaviours and outputs, what’s stopping you from bringing flexible working into your workplace?
5. How do you drive sustainability digitally?
Credit: The Drum
Consumers are becoming more aware and influenced by companies’ sustainability credentials. They are paying more attention to the impact they have on the world around them as individuals, and this translates into the expectations they have of the brands they consume too.
While the world may be in turmoil right now, one thing it’s reminded us all of is how much we rely on each other in society – and how important it is to think about others and the impact our actions have on them. When we come out the other side of this situation, it’s hopefully likely to be as a kinder and more socially aware society. The world is not likely to go back to how things were a month or so ago. We’re all going to be changed; and hopefully for the good. This means people will be thinking even more about the impact of everything they do, the brands they consume, the way they consume, and the volumes they consume.
Digital transformation offers the opportunity for brands to become more sustainable and create a sustainable future that consumers demand. 70% of consumers (and particularly younger consumers) are influenced by a brand’s sustainability. So it’s important to consider the environmental impact and the positive social impact your brand has. But even more so, consumers want to see evidence of this impact too.
Sustainability also makes good business sense and can help your organisation see more money in the long run. The UN estimates there’s a $12 trillion opportunity for businesses by achieving sustainable development goals – which can lead to bigger markets and more attractive brands for consumers.
One really positive element that digital transformation brings with it is transparency. It provides access to logs, records, and data, which means brands are held accountable and are expected to back up their words with action. This may not sound ideal on the surface – but it will help you build stronger consumer relationships in the long-run, as they will feel more able to trust what you’re saying is true.
All this means it’s vital we start getting used to using technology in the way we do business, how we communicate, how we achieve the impact we want, and the way we connect to people. We’re now living in a world where we’re almost being forced to connect with people more – and communication is becoming central in everyone’s lives – which means, if we can connect with people frequently and openly, we can start seeing a real change in how consumers perceive our brands.
So what can you take away from these key sessions at the Digital Transformation Festival?
Whether you were already bought into digital transformation or not quite there yet – the current climate has shown there’s truly no time to waste on getting on-board the digital transformation train.
While it can be easy to think of just ‘quick fixes’ to keep your organisation ticking over while everyone is having to work from home. Is that really the best investment? Now is the time to be thinking about how digital transformation can benefit your organisation in the long-term. Whatever technology solutions you implement now, should be ones that are sustainable in the long run and can really improve the way all your teams work.
The good news? There are plenty of good solutions ready for you to start implementing across your company. And the best part is this is the right time to get employees wanting to change and adopt a new way of working. They need easy access to all their documents, as well as simple ways to communicate and collaborate with colleagues. So you can give them these solutions and implement a smarter way of working that can carry over once everything goes back to whatever the ‘new normal’ may be.
Our recommendations if you’re unsure where to start with your digital transformation is to look at Microsoft Teams and Microsoft SharePoint. These are both great tools that work together – as part of your Office 365 package – to help your teams communicate and collaborate more effectively wherever they are.
You can enable your teams to communicate with each other through chat, video and voice calls, online meetings and more. All your documents can also be securely stored and managed – meaning the right people have access to the right information when they need it, no matter where they’re working from.
At Pi Digital, we’re here to help support you during this challenging time. When you have to adapt how you work quickly, it can be stressful knowing what’s the right solution for your organisation. We can work with you to understand your business goals, challenges and needs, to create a bespoke solution that makes sense for your company – not just right now, but in the future too – so once everything starts returning to normal – you still have a smarter way of working in place.
Get in touch with our team here at Pi Digital today to see how we can help your organisation run well with high-levels of productivity while your teams are working from home – and when they’re back in the office.