Digitalization, transformation, and agility are among the most relevant and important topics in today’s business world, yet they will become even more pertinent in the post-COVID era.
The world, after all, has become highly volatile and unstable as a result of the pandemic, and that volatility is unlikely to end any time soon.
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The recovery, as many analysts have pointed out, will likely take years – and the economy that we do recover to will almost certainly be different than the pre-2020 economy.
Analysts such as McKinsey have called this post-COVID era the “next normal.” Accenture has called it the “Never Normal.” Many others simply call it the “new normal.”
Regardless of the term, business leaders and managers must understand that the post-COVID era will be different in many ways.
Below, we’ll learn what businesses must do to prepare for the post-COVID world.
What Will the Post-COVID Next Normal Look Like?
Opinions differ on exactly how the post-COVID era will play out.
What most research firms agree on, however, is that we will not be returning to the same world that existed before 2020.
According to experts such as McKinsey, Accenture, and Deloitte, among others, the new post-COVID paradigm will be characterized by changes such as the following:
Customer sentiment and behavior will shift. A number of factors will fuel changes in customer sentiment, such as economic factors and health concerns. For instance, as discretionary spending drops, certain industries, such as travel, will experience a downturn. Other industries, such as health-related products and services, will likely receive more interest in the years ahead.
The world will become far more digital. Digital transformation has been occurring for years and it will continue to change the economy for the foreseeable future. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a major economic crisis, digital technology has actually seen increased investment. Many companies, in fact, have accelerated digital transformation efforts, since improvements in digital technology improve resilience, agility, and the ability to operate in a remote business world, among other things.
The workplace will become more remote. Remote working became the standard in the early part of 2020. Though offices will return after the pandemic, research suggests that remote working will become more prevalent. Businesses, therefore, should continue to invest in and optimize the virtual workplace.
Consumers will demand more virtual products, services, and interactions. As with the other trends mentioned here, the virtual economy will be driven by a number of factors. Convenience, price, health concerns, and the stay-at-home mindset, for instance, will all fuel the desire for more virtual products and services.
Change will become the new constant. Even with the distribution of a vaccine, business leaders should expect change to continue for some time. As we progress along the road to recovery, the economy will almost certainly stabilize, but that may take years. In the meantime, it is crucial to adapt operating models, management approaches, and business strategies for this uncertainty.
While it is naturally impossible to predict the future with 100% accuracy, we can look at today’s most prominent trends and make confident forecasts about their trajectories.
Digital transformation and volatility, for instance, will undoubtedly continue for some time to come.
Business leaders, therefore, should invest and prepare now for a world that is more digital and less certain.
Why Invest in Digitalization, Transformation, and Agility?
In an ever-changing digital landscape, it pays to invest in areas such as:
Digitalization and digital transformation. Digital transformation refers to the use of digital technology to improve business processes, operations, and strategies. As mentioned, since the economy itself is becoming more digital by the day, every business must become a digital-first organization. Those that do will stand a better chance of surviving, thriving, and even leading. Those that can’t, on the other hand, will fall behind.
Digital adoption. Digital adoption means achieving a state where users leverage technology for its intended purpose and to its fullest extent. Adoption is a core process in digitalization and digital transformation, which is why every business must ensure that employees are digitally savvy and well-trained.
Agility. Agility and adaptability require new operating models and procedures that are user-centered, data-driven, and responsive to real-time events. In an uncertain and volatile world, agility is not an option, it is a necessity. Agile is a principle that should be applied to every level of the organization, from high-level business decisions to frontline employee workflows.
Refocusing business priorities on these areas can result in improvements to organizational performance, business resilience, speed, and efficiency, among other things.
In normal times, such improvements can offer a competitive advantage. In the post-COVID era, however, when digital change is the norm, investments such as these are more than beneficial, they are practically mandatory for survival.
To learn more about digital adoption and digital transformation, be sure to visit our digital adoption blog.