• Jamie Read

Beyond Zoom: Digital Transformation Needs to Run Deeper

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

Great! Your organization is working remotely. What's next?

There are plenty of articles circulating at the moment that discuss digital transformation in organizations and how this is being accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic. These articles focus mainly on the shift to remote workforces and how companies have adopted technologies like Zoom as part of a trial-by-fire into modernization. However, this is a very simplistic view of what digital transformation truly entails. To be successful in a post-coronavirus world, companies need to consider how to leverage this cultural shift and continue to adopt data and digital technologies to become truly prepared for the future. 

According to Salesforce, digital transformation is 'the process of using digital technologies to create new — or modify existing — business processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet changing business and market requirements.

What is important to understand about this definition is that digital transformation is not just about technology, but about how technology is applied and how employees and leaders build a culture that is data-driven and adaptable to the modern challenges we now face.

As the great Wayne Gretzky said, "I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

Because it is rooted in much more than remote working, we've reached out to our BriteBirch Collective members from around the world to get their diverse perspectives on technology, business strategy and change management as it pertains to true digital transformation.

Ross Dawson, Futurist and Keynote Speaker based in Australia

Long before coronavirus forced a shift to remote work, high-performance organizations have designed themselves around themes such as location independence, fluid work roles, efficient peer communication, and a culture of participation. Those that already understood these have adapted with relative ease to the dramatically different work context of today. The journey to becoming a high-performance organization that can succeed in a highly unpredictable world will, of course, be supported by digital tools but must be primarily centred on designing and implementing work structures that are flexible, adaptable, and truly enable effective collaboration between talented people.

Ihtisham Qureshi, Founder if iQonsulting based in Canada

For healthcare organizations, many have used the current situation with COVID-19 as an opportunity to thrust forward with digital applications and ideas they have been trying to implement for the last decade. But they continue to be cognizant of key challenges in the industry, such as culture and security, as well as the integration of legacy systems with new technology, especially when peoples' lives are at stake. It's a different reality but it is happening, albeit at a slower pace than other industries.

An area many may not have given much thought to in our ‘new norm’ is related to how we carry out large scale procurements in a healthcare setting…especially when operational resources (people and spaces) are hard to come by. With the right planning and acceptance, many efficiencies can be found. Some examples include:

  1. Moving to pre-recorded sessions – allows for flexible evaluation by critical resources/evaluators

  2. Moving to virtual demonstrations – allows for breaking free from schedules being impacted by scarcely available meeting rooms

Maha Abu-Ghoush, Change Management Consultant based in Lebanon

Digital transformation and digital workspaces are the future. The dependence on the physical office as the place where work actually happens is now a thing of the past, and unlike the COVID-19 pandemic, which will eventually pass, remote work is a new reality and is here to stay. This is especially true with the exponential growth of mobile and BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and cloud computing. Organizations need to understand this and should adapt their current processes and governance structures accordingly, and most importantly, prepare their people for this cultural shift.

Oscar Smith, Business Transformation Expert, Founder of METTA WERKS based in Mexico

We're entering a time of Technological Convergence as predicted by Peter Diamandis in his most recent book The Future is Faster Than You Think! This convergence will result in an exponential acceleration in the speed, rate, scale and impact of change, around the world. For companies exploring the application of digital technology to their business, the recommendation is not to focus in resolving the problems of today, but to establish a prospective vision and long-term investment in addressing the challenges we will face in 5 years, and to begin preparing, designing and developing the solutions that will be needed.

This will result in a few trends that companies can start preparing for today. One is the application of blockchain technology to improve transparency across organizations, with the eventual transition into Distributed Autonomous Organizations (DOAs). The shift towards purpose-led, rather than a profit-led business is another trend that can be addressed through new organizational models brought on by technology adoption. Lastly, one thing COVID-19 has done is to remind us to slow down and reprioritize and reconnect with what is essential and important. Artificial Intelligence in its various forms will allow us to automate the burdensome aspects of our work, freeing us up for what we deem most important.

Most enterprises are concentrated on surviving and being relevant to the present. Instead of seeding the foundations of how to be formidable in the future. As the great Wayne Gretzky said,

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

Jamie Read, Founder, BriteBirch Collective, Toronto

Digital transformation goes well beyond setting up Zoom meetings. Before the pandemic, most digital transformations failed because of cultural barriers within organizations. But companies now have a chance to build momentum from the forced switch to remote working and use it as a stepping stone to begin true digital transformation. How can they better leverage the cloud? Improve network security? Adopt automation and human-machine collaboration? Leverage data to optimize processes?

But beyond technology, companies should consider what organizational and psychological barriers exist for rolling out these changes. The current coronavirus pandemic offers some insights into how employees have adopted technologies like video conferencing and remote working software. Now it is up to HR and IT to work together with leadership and ease additional technology into the business with a clear understanding of the future and a vision for the type of company you hope to become.

The BriteBirch Collective is a global network of creative consultants that together operate like an integrated agency. If you are in need of guidance on your company's brand or business in these trying times, contact us for a free consultation today.

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