The current global Covid-19 crisis will change our lives forever. Thirty top global experts, from technology executives, to venture capitalists and analysts, weighed in on the pandemic’s lasting impact on how we live, work, and think, as reported by Fast Company.
One prognostication which everyone agrees with is that working from home is becoming the new normal. Employees will continue virtually to connecting with co-workers, colleagues, customers, and employers beyond the fallout of the pandemic.
Another is the accelerated migration of people, organizations, and companies to digital applications and platforms. “What organizations resisted for a decade is now core to survival and innovation”, said Michael Hendrix, partner at Ideo when interviewed by Fast Company, referring to digitization. Video conferencing tools, learning management systems, cloud computing, ecommerce platforms, and others are being adopted by organizations all over.
Lastly, two traditional industries, healthcare and education, are being forced to adapt. “I expect that we will see an increase in blended learning environments that include learning in both the physical classroom setting and online”, said Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill to Fast Company. On the other hand, the adoption of digital health tools—from assessment services to telemedicine—has rapidly accelerated, as healthcare industry players are looking to digital solutions to adapt to the current crisis.
All these point to one common theme – digital transformation will accelerate faster than eve across industries on a global scale. Organization and companies, from small to large enterprises, will adopt strategies to accelerate business processes, competencies, and business models to fully leverage on the changes brought about by the crisis and opportunities of digital technologies and their impact in a prioritized way.
In our digital transformation consulting work, we identified four groups of activities and processes in an organization – business model and operations, product/service configuration, customer engagement, and culture and employee engagement.
Because of digitization, business models will transform to non-traditional ones such as subscription, microtransaction, of freemium (offering free basic services). Operation will likewise transform, where companies will digitize their logistics and automate processes to gain cost efficiencies.
As with product and service offerings, organizations will innovate these through product platforms. Banks locally have sped up their digital banking offering to keep their customers, and improve service delivery.
Customer engagement activities are likewise being transformed. Customer service agents work from home to answer customer queries using advanced digital tools. Organizations are also adopting chatbots and artificial intelligence to automate certain customer-facing activities.
Lastly, culture and employee engagement are also being transformed. Apart from the digital work-from-home tools that ensure collaboration across the organization, learning management systems and employee engagement tools are being adopted to make sure that employees continually reskill and upskill to better adapt to the changing times.
But like what we always say in our consulting work, culture is the hardest to transform as it involves changing mindsets and behaviors of employees. What’s more challenging to CEOs now is how to survive the crisis, while transforming for the future, and all of these happening in the midst of anxiety and worry among the employees; and not all employees will be able to adapt to the fast changing environment.
The business environment will be difficult in the coming years. In order to survive and business leaders need to adopt digital transformation strategies while balancing with culture transformation, exercising good judgement and compassion for the employees.
Originally published in Manila Bulletin, May 18, 2020.
The author is CEO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm. He is the Country Representative of the Institute of Change and Transformation Professionals Asia (ICTPA) and Fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation. He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University. The author may be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reynaldo Lugtu Jr is Co-Founder and CEO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm. And has engaged with several companies and organizations on digital transformation and innovation.
He is a digital and culture transformation thought & action leader, a sought-after public speaker, and an accomplished educator, author, business columnist, and innovation coach. And is a business columnist and writer for Manila Times, Manila Bulletin, and Business World.
Ray is the Country Representative of the Institute of Change and Transformation Professionals Asia (ICTPA). He is also Professorial Lecturer in the MBA program of De La Salle University and Lecturer on Digital Transformation, Leadership and Management in the Benilde – School of Professional and Continuing Education.