As the modern economy continues to digitize, strategic digital adoption is becoming more and more necessary for organizations in every industry.
Digital technology, after all, is transforming the way we live, interact, and do business.
Yet as we’ll discover in this article, these digitally-powered changes are being vastly accelerated by COVID-19.
Businesses that want to keep up, stay competitive, and profit in the post-COVID world, therefore, will need to invest strategically in digital technology.
Before allocating resources and designing digital adoption strategies, however, it is important to understand exactly how COVID-19 is affecting the business landscape.
The Lasting Impacts of COVID-19 on Business
In fact, McKinsey has suggested that, for many companies, accelerated digital transformation is the only option.
The reason for this urgency is unsurprising, given the scope, depth, and breadth of this crisis. Many industries, for instance, have been all but broken by the pandemic and its ensuing financial downturn.
The only route out, therefore, is to prepare for a post-COVID world that looks very different from the pre-2020 era.
Here are a few ways that analysts expect the post-COVID era to differ from the pre-COVID era:
- The gap between digital leaders and digital laggards will significantly widen
- The COVID-19 crisis will permanently shift customers’ attitudes and mindsets, which will cause permanent shifts to customers’ expectations and behaviors
- The workforce has been dramatically disrupted, which means businesses will need to reinvent tomorrow’s workplace and make it safer, more virtual, and more digital
- Business continuity has become a major focal point in the face of the pandemic-driven disruption, so resilience should be a priority moving forward
Changes such as these will redefine the business landscape and the global economy, and we have already seen the critical role that digital technology can play in maintaining continuous business operations. To survive in 2020, for instance, remote working became a necessity, and the only way to successfully implement telecommuting programs was through the adoption of certain software platforms.
Digital adoption will therefore become a strategic imperative going forward.
Strategic Digital Adoption: A Necessity for the Post-COVID World
Digital adoption, like all business functions, has a strategic component.
Organizational leaders, for instance, must:
- Integrate technology into business strategy and using digital tools to gain competitive advantages
- Be able to adopt digital tools at scale, while simultaneously mitigating risk and reducing operational challenges
- Ensure that the workforce can stay agile and implement new tools quickly and cost-efficiently
- Redesign business models and operations to meet the needs of the new economy, the new workplace, changed customer needs, and, in general, the next normal
In terms of digital adoption, business leaders must be able to design and lead adoption programs at scale. The ability to do that will not only provide a competitive advantage in the marketplace, it may very well become a survival trait.
How Business Leaders Can Design Digital Adoption Strategies
The more that digital technology becomes a core part of the modern organization, the more necessary it is to incorporate digital adoption into the organization’s strategy. As McKinsey has said, the time to act is now.
Here are a few points to keep in mind when developing a digital adoption strategy for the post-COVID era:
Learn from the experts. Industry leaders offer training and certification in digital adoption, which can provide a significant advantage in the field of digital adoption. This type of training can be essential and it can have a major impact on the outcomes of digital adoption programs. After all, although digital adoption is a relatively new field, it is growing rapidly and becoming more and more critical in the modern enterprise.
Rethink the employee experience and talent strategies. Employee agility, organizational agility, and generalized adaptability are crucial in the post-COVID era. Many analysts suggest, after all, that volatility and economic uncertainty will continue for some time to come. This means that employees must be digitally savvy, pro-learning, and willing to implement change – all of which can be fueled by a robust digital adoption function.
Don’t just be digitally competent, be digital-first. Digital-first businesses understand how powerful and disruptive technology is. Those businesses, as a consequence, do more than just “keep up” with prevailing technology trends, they put technology, innovation, and disruption at the top of their agenda. It should go without saying, therefore, that the ability to successfully and fully adopt new technology is a prerequisite for becoming a digital-first company.
Turn challenge into change. The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed structural weaknesses at every level of the economy, from global supply chains to individual business processes. Digital technology has proven itself to be a shield against these challenges. And, despite the difficulties all businesses are facing, the crisis itself represents an opportunity. Those businesses who can adopt new digital tools successfully, after all, will emerge at the forefront in the post-COVID world.
Adhering to digital adoption strategies such as these can vastly improve a company’s chances of success after COVID-19. Companies that wait too long, however, may suffer significant setbacks in the post-COVID digital world.