Posted on November 23, 2020
Estimated reading time 7 minutes
Under the directive to ‘work from home wherever possible’, the pandemic forced the acceleration of digital transformation. According to Gartner, 69% of boards have accelerated their digital business initiatives following COVID-19 disruption. Overnight, organisations had to enact new ways of working and enable a remote workforce.
However, digital transformation and digital business initiatives are about so much more than moving workloads to the public cloud or sending your workforce home with a laptop and a headset. We are in the middle of a radical re-shaping of our working life, dubbed the ‘new world of work’ by Microsoft.
Heading into the crisis, McKinsey said organisations had to walk a 5-step path towards the next normal:
- Resolve: determine the scale, pace, and depth of action required.
- Resilience: act on broader plans to balance economic and social sustainability.
- Return: return their business to effective production at pace and at scale.
- Reimagination: make decisions around operations and technology to boost productivity.
- Reform: implement big changes to modernise and build future resiliency.
With over two-thirds (68%) of businesses now in the process of reimagining their long-term plans, what should the focus be to survive, thrive and secure future success?
Cloud-centric transformation is the priority
Even before the pandemic hit, remote working was becoming a more accepted way of working. While accelerating its adoption, lockdown also gave many businesses time to reflect and realise that perhaps their old office environment wasn’t fit for the modern workplace. As a result, 48% of decision-makers anticipate a higher percentage of permanent remote workers as a result of COVID-19.
With remote working a key feature of the new world of work, it follows that any digital transformation efforts should centre on enabling cloud-first.
And Forrester agrees. It anticipates that next year, 30% of organisations will accelerate their spend on cloud security and risk, networks and mobility. But what’s really interesting is that rather than focussing on re-establishing business-as-usual, Forrester sees cloud as a way for ‘struggling firms’ to gain an edge over their competitors.
As a cloud managed service provider, we know the opportunities afforded to organisations that embrace a cloud-first strategy, because they inherently have the flexibility, agility and resilience to adapt when necessary.
When the pandemic hit and the Government enforced lockdown restrictions, organisations all over the country went into response mode, focused purely on how to enable their people to work from home to continue supporting their clients.
When the dust had started to settle, we had the space to recover, finally able to find our feet and evaluate what we needed to do to restore some sense of normality to our operations. And even though we have no certainty over what happens next, if we use cloud-based technologies to reimagine our businesses for the new world of work, we’re always ready to adapt and maintain productivity.
Keep pace with change
Right now, our world changes day-to-day. But even without a pandemic to contend with, there are future uncertainties that every business must face.
Shifting demographic of the workforce
Nearly a third (30%) of the UK’s workforce is currently aged over 50. This shift in demographic means that businesses need to commence their succession planning to consider the skills they’ll need to acquire – either through recruitment or training.
The rise of the modern workplace
The concept of the traditional 9-5 office job is dead as today’s workforce seek greater flexibility to achieve a good work/life balance. 99% of today’s modern workforce said they want to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers.
Evolving regulatory landscape
Over the next 12 months, regulatory and legal activity will double and overwhelm organisations. From Brexit negotiations impacting the EU GDPR, or court rulings invalidating the Safe Harbor framework and Privacy Shield, privacy will remain high on many Board agendas.
Plan for future success
Speaking to our clients, many have accelerated their digital transformation plans in recent months because they’re eager to minimise the impact of any future disruption.
Forrester supports this. It believes that;
So what does it take to transform your business into a ‘digitally savvy’ organisation?
Change for the role of the CIO
The role of CIO is becoming more aligned with the COO, where business objectives are driven by the technologies used. Assess where smarter decisions can be made – such as optimising licensing or cloud expenditure. Through our virtual CIO (vCIO) services, we’ve saved several clients hundreds of thousands of pounds – one client even realised 1638% ROI.
CIOs focused on the employee experience will have wide reaching influence across the organisation – including its company objectives and budgets. Focused on challenging traditional ways of working, they see the value in employees to success in the future of work, and seek to aggressively invest in developing that talent for competitive gain.
Invest in future technologies
Artificial intelligence, speech recognition, and virtual and augmented reality will become critical to enhancing both the employee and customer experience. But they will drive the requirement for neuromorphic computing, since these technologies demand substantial computing power. Gartner believes that by 2025, traditional technologies will ‘hit a digital wall’ as general processors become unsuitable for underpinning these transformational technologies.
However, it’s important to ensure that any new tools adopted by the business are more effective than the technologies they’re replacing. The reality for much of today’s workforce is that they’re frustrated at:
- Not having access to appropriate tools to their jobs.
- Disconnected processes that duplicate effort.
- Legacy technology, which saps their time with fault fixing.
The role of the CIO becomes crucial here because they’re able to fuse technical and business goals to enhance the company’s overall effectiveness. It’s why Gartner expects to see CIOs becoming increasingly accountable for an organisation’s digital performance.
And of course, you need to retain visibility over your cloud expenditure to optimise your IT budget. So often companies complete their cloud migration and realise instant savings. But then a few months down the line they’re no longer certain about what they’re paying for and question if their IT infrastructure is perhaps over-provisioned – in fact, executives estimate that up to one third of cloud spend is wasted. To avoid finding yourself in that situation you need complete transparency so you know how to continually optimise.
Prioritise the needs of society
During the pandemic we’ve witnessed the strengthening of community bonds – whether neighbours offering to help vulnerable residents with shopping, businesses offering pro bono work, or anyone assisting with home schooling – it’s been wonderful to watch those small acts of kindness in action.
But while supporting the community is the right thing to do, it makes good business sense too. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it’s that companies need to be more in tune to the people around them and the world they operate within.
In ‘The Future of Work’ report, it discovered that the 90% of top performing companies believed that increasing their environmental sustainability was important to the success of their business strategies.
While Gartner takes this a step further. It says,
“By 2024,“ 30% ” of major organisations will use a new ‘voice of society’ metric to act on societal issues and assess business impacts.
The value of a digital transformation partner
Agility is front and centre across all areas of the organisation, be it technical, operations or business. In other words, position yourself with the right innovation partner to reimagine your business.
Getting digital transformation right is hard – the reality is that 70% of digital transformation projects fail. Unless you want to become another statistic, you’re going to need a CIO with the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure your project is a success. But finding one person with that breadth and depth of knowledge is virtually impossible – advances in technology happen so fast that most IT professionals choose to specialise in one field. And the reality for many SMEs is that hiring into this position is a luxury they simply can’t afford.
It’s why we developed our vCIO services. Not only can we help you navigate out of a pending digital crisis, but we can support you in optimising both your budget and your performance with our consultative approach.
Appoint Atech as your vCIO and we’ll share our team’s combined skills, knowledge and experience to provide you with:
- A robust security strategy
- A clear technology roadmap
- A transparent budget
- Complete control of your data whether you have adopted a hybrid or all-remote working mode.
Our consultants are happy to talk to you about the options available for your organisation.