As we come out of the immediate phase of response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic many organisations will have clearly seen which parts of their business operations can benefit the most from digital transformation or intelligent automation. Industries that have had to quickly adapt their operating model have swiftly done things like enabling employees to work from home; or halted or reduced physical contact with clients and found new, digital ways to continue delivering service. The response to the disruption has been mammoth, and none more-so than the fast-tracking of digital product and service delivery. People around the globe should be proud of what they have been able to achieve.
But what comes next?
Is it enough to have quickly enabled your people to work remotely, or your customers to interact with you online? Now that the very immediate responses are done, it is time to a) pay attention to the areas of process and operation that were put under significant stress during this time b) take notice of the retrospectives and address any potential impacts on your security and compliance that may have been overlooked in the rush to keep the business running and c) harness the momentum and innovation that has been sparked during this time.
Where did you feel the most pain?
During the past 3-6 months as the pandemic unfolded around the globe, where did your business operations feel the most pain? Where in your processes did you find yourself saying, I wish we had a better way of doing this before now? In some ways, the forced change has been a gift, highlighting for many the areas where they should be focusing their future IT and digital transformation investments. A real-life stress test so to speak. Did the pandemic highlight areas where you are still too reliant on manual process? Did it highlight gaps in your data collection? Gaps in workflow or system integration? Areas where intelligent automation could have helped? Did you lack a holistic view of your data to aid you in making quick decisions with confidence? Did you have enough system agility to be able to keep up with your business innovations?
What did you compromise in the rush to change?
Quickly enabling remote working and cloud service delivery are some of the great outcomes of this time. But at what cost? Compliance? Security? Technical Debt? Just because you haven’t had a breach yet, doesn’t mean you won’t in the near future. Also, were some of your recent digital initiatives actually stop-gap measures, that if not finessed soon will simply add to the growing mountain of technical debt that is prevalent in organisations today. According to Gartner, technical debt in large legacy environments is the top challenge for infrastructure and operations leaders. It is imperative that we use this next phase to ensure we’ve done the due diligence in areas of compliance and governance; and that we take steps to reduce technical debt, not add to it.
Can you harness the innovation and momentum?
The pace which we have been able to move in the past few months should be a good indicator of what is possible in the future. Even better though, in this next phase you have the time and benefit of hindsight to be strategic and deliberate in your digital investments. This means not only identifying and addressing the areas of stress that came to the fore in the past few months, but also harnessing the newfound appetite in your organisation for experimenting with new approaches and allowing more digital advancement. The organisations who don’t simply revert back to business as usual, but instead encourage people to have new ideas and allow teams to take a risk on new ways of doing things are the ones most likely to thrive long term.
About the Author
Managing Director, Australia and Co-founder
Dan Cooke is the Managing Director of Procensol Australia and one of the founding members of Procensol UK. Dan is responsible for managing the operations of the Procensol Australia office, including delivery of high profile consulting projects. Under Dan’s leadership, Procensol Australia has successfully established a strong presence in the Australian market, most notably with the award-winning “Connect” project for the Queensland Government’s Department of Environment and heritage Protection. (A project that has attracted attention from government departments nationwide and from the global Appian business). With 15 years of IT and BPM experience, Dan has led many enterprise improvement and digital transformation projects in both the UK and Australia.
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