In a recent article, we defined accelerated digital transformation as a “…shift to a digital-first way of working at an unprecedented speed, demanding transitions to distributed, agile and digital operating models,” quoting The World Economic Forum. So, if you choose such a transition for your business, the usual method of grouping employees together in a physical location is out. Remotely managing widespread networks of human and material resources is in.
But why is digital transformation important, and how exactly does it manifest for your business? Let’s take a look.
Why It’s Important
The most obvious reason for accelerating your digital transformation is to be ready for future repeats of the current social situation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Not preparing could prove fatal to your company.
Numbers compiled by business-review platform Yelp indicate that around 60 percent of the companies shut down by the virus will not return. That’s terrible news, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity.
As entrepreneur Rishi Khanna wrote in an article for Forbes, “In order to do (sic) take advantage of this time, you need to get your mindset out of the swamp and start building a culture of continuous innovation.” That may sound hard, but it’s worth it, because going digital can save you tons of money. According to Global Workplace Analytics President Kate Lister, “A typical employer can save about $11,000/year for every person who works remotely half of the time.”
Savings like that are just one reason experts are predicting many companies will replace the digital duct tape they applied during the pandemic with a more permanent transformation once it’s over:
- According to a study by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, “40 percent of firms thought that 40 percent of more of their workers that switched to remote work during the COVID-19 crisis would continue working remotely after the crisis ends.”
- Facebook is projecting that half of its employees will be fully remote within the next decade. The company currently employs around 45,000 workers, per Statista.
So, the way things are shaping up you’ll need to accelerate your digital transformation just to stay relevant.
What It Looks like
Generally speaking, there are two ways your business could digitally transform. You can either go fully remote, or you can trim the fat in your physical space by creating an agile environment:
- Fully remote digital transformation involves moving out of your office space and into the wide-open freedom of working from anywhere. With high-quality webcams (click here to see one of the best) and a platform like Zoom or Teams, you can create an interactive virtual office that’s way more efficient than your high-priced office ever was.
- Agile environments were trending before the pandemic, and they should dominate the future of in-office work. These hybrid workspaces feature flexibility, allowing employees to work remote part time and break free from cubicles with techniques like hot desking. Webcams and conferencing platforms are essential, as well as huddle room/remote meeting room equipment like video soundbars and other USB cameras. And the entire team should be ready to go fully remote overnight if the need to do so arises.
Businesses that configured a way to get through COVID-19 with webcams and Skype calls can’t simply stagger back out into the bright sunlight of the pandemic aftermath and expect a return to the way things were. The best minds in your industry are already planning to take the digital experience they were forced into by the crisis and build on it for the long term.
There’s really no way around it; to stay competitive going forward, you must go digital, ASAP.