The COVID-19 pandemic is making us rethink our life choices. Normalcy has taken on a new meaning and we are yet to experience how it will manifest further. It is not just about our health and economy but more about the basic way of continuing our lives. It does seem like 100 years of evolution is certainly being challenged in the last 100 days.
The last century saw us address needs of life, businesses, and society through newer inventions, technology shifts, industrialisation and automation, and in recent times digitalisation. There is incremental progress made over the years in every sphere of life, but the disruption has been gradual and seamless.
However, with the COVID-19 situation, several businesses are struggling to stay viable, product lifespan is under question and the entire business lifecycle of marketing, sales and operations must be reimagined, redesigned, and calibrated to suit all scenarios.
Businesses drive economy and future innovations. Most enterprises will need to heavily rely on data and digital technologies to carry out analysis and build models/scenarios to help them plan during such crises. A classic case of Darwinism is at play – we will see a continued “struggle for existence” and “survival of the fittest”.
The big question is – will businesses pivot on knowledge or assumptions? Past knowledge might not be relevant, but assumptions supported by a bunch of hypotheses and validated through data (real or simulated), will take us places.
With data-fuelled assumptions, the operating model must engage, serve and support customers for a better flexible design. Education, healthcare, and workplaces are leveraging digital technologies to change how they operate.
From a brick-and-mortar structure to a massive surge in online shopping, app-based deliveries, telemedicine, and repurposed transport vehicles supporting digital infrastructure, we are seeing it all.
Some of these shifts are here to stay. COVID-19 is radically accelerating the digital future towards the following:
Data-driven digital transformation
Most of the times, businesses fail to ask good questions about data, governance, and agility. They are sitting on answers but are not breaking the barriers of departments. As businesses learn to harness and leverage more cross-departmental data, they will be able to build relevant and credible customer experiences.
Insights from streams of data will continuously improve business processes and machine learning will drive artificial intelligence into the mainstream.
Dynamic forecasting and supply chain
Improvement in real-time data availability enables risk prediction and management. With a rolling forecast, resources could be optimally allocated to brace against sudden business impacts.
A continuous scenario planning around finance, sales, supply chain and operations gives businesses the desired agility for a longer sustenance.
We cannot afford a perpetual denial of the need for a connected digital ecosystem anymore.
With exposed vulnerabilities of processes, systems, and people working in silos, there is now an increased demand for proactive listening and collaboration at every touchpoint, for a fail-proof digital experience.
Investments in future technology
The new normal will see rapid inventions, innovation areas, and nimble technologies aligned with future needs. There is already a multifold demand for cloud, SaaS and collaborative technologies and investments will skyrocket in these areas.
Consumption will also move to an a’ la carte model. It is highly cost effective for businesses to structure their solutions accordingly and drive efficiency, productivity and accessibility of their operations.
It is a mixture of automation technologies – from RPA to AI, that exist to augment and expand human capabilities. With increased insights, reduced risks and an educated workforce, businesses will be able to make informed decisions with better inter-operability between processes.
Digital and distributed workforce
The Fourth Industrial Revolution and digitalisation have already set in motion the wheels of change. As more collaborative digital technologies join the bandwagon of keeping businesses afloat, it not only provides cost saving tickets but also increased job productivity. By empowering employees to work how, where, and when they like, businesses can create a responsive work culture.
If the present scenario is anyway making consumers behave differently, then why not reimagine the way our businesses function. It is time to take steps forward to join this undeniable digital revolution, with numerous technologies and data already at our aid.
Amidst volatility, complexity, and uncertainty lie hidden opportunities of evolution, learning, and growth, fuelled by calculated assumptions of a digital future ahead.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)
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