How digital agility is transforming business during COVID-19 and beyond.
For over a year, the COVID-19 pandemic has challenged and disrupted organisations across the globe, with many businesses unable to pivot in a way valuable to growth. For some businesses, the pandemic has allowed many businesses to implement permanent change across many channels – value proposition, leadership, talent, and acceleration of digitisation. A recent study conducted by McKinsey has shown that “highly successful agile transformations typically delivered around 30 percent gains in efficiency, customer satisfaction, employee engagement, and operational performance; made the organization five to ten times faster; and turbocharged innovation”. A shift in spending for digital and technology initiatives can be seen (below) highlighting the importance of the transformation as compared to other business initiatives.
The transformational structure for change
Digital transformation across the business chain does not come easy, it requires calculated risk, collaboration, and customer centricity. There are multiple ways in which a business can start the transformation process, whether that be an entire company shift or purely department based. Mckinsey’s research has suggested that one of the first point of change is ‘reinforcing new behaviours and ways of working through formal mechanisms’, proving as an action that supports long term organisational change.
“The pandemic has dramatically increased the speed at which digital is fundamentally changing business”
One example is establishing new ways of working such as open work environments, continuous learning environments and offering the opportunity for employees to suggest implementation of specific digitisation platforms and processes. It was found that when employees are given the opportunity to generate (and implement) their ideas, those employees and their teams were more likely to report on success. Another important factor for ensuring productivity was also the reinforcement and empowerment of senior leaders, ensuring the engagement and challenges across the team are experimental enough to continue to learn from their mistakes.
Digitalisation in the workplace
Van Veldhoven has suggested that ‘creating digital products or services requires a thorough digital backbone consisting of connected digital business processes. On the society side, this changes people’s communication with businesses and usage of their products and services. As such, digitalization can be understood as the evolution towards the middle of the framework where there is more integration between digital technologies, products and services, and customer usage.’
“Digitalization describes the sociotechnical phenomenon in which digital technologies are increasingly adopted in individuals, companies, and societal contexts, thereby often turning existing products and services into digital variants (Parviainen et al., 2017). “
Before, during and after the transformation occurs, businesses also need to critically analyse the ways in which digitisation could affect their business, with a roadmap to ensure the skills they require will help them build longevity. Success across the digitisation process requires a digital savvy workforce and leaders to drive change, ensuring that the organisations ‘hard wiring’ is upgraded during the transformation process. All employees must be equipped with the right tools for working differently through a nimble organisational model that encompasses ethics and governance frameworks. Communication is crucial through these transformational stages, as the tools and channels change – so does the requirements for different forms of communication and legalities. Moving away from traditional channels that support one way communication to a more agile and instant messaging system can transform efficiency through open dialogues. Specific, to the point instant messages may enable teams to tailor growth towards a speedier mind set.
“The greatest challenge isn’t in the rapid development of these technologies – it’s having the right ethical framework and governance systems to handle them responsibly.” Associate Professor Kelly - The University of Queensland
Both technology and digital transformation across this changing landscape has triggered faster adoption rates with new and improved ways of doing business. The time is now for companies to make bold investments in technology and capabilities that will equip their businesses to outperform others.