COVID-19: A time for digital transformation and thinking for the future

The Covid-19 situation presents many challenges for businesses across all industries. Focus has had to shift from activities around business growth and branding to steps needed to ensure business continuity and resilience.

While this shift in focus was inevitable, the opportunity now is to not only focus on business continuity but in parallel – work on what the future business model needs to look like to ensure competitiveness on the other side of COVID-19.

With the Covid 19 situation, implementing a digital and contactless system for business transactions between individuals or companies or government or cross-border trade/remittances (B2B, B2C, B2 G, G2 G, etc.) is a forced transition for people/society. In the new digital paradigm post-Covid-19, the countries which adopt this approach are more likely to succeed. With the exception of physical goods to be transferred between parties, all other underlying workflows will be digitized while human to human interactions will be reduced. For the physical products to be moved, robots, drones can be sent for finishing the conveyance. For huge hardware conveyance, contactless methods utilizing enormous transporters can be used. Human intervention will be reduced and except where skilled and analytical intelligence is required where a machine with AI/ML is unable to execute. Trade between nations will initiate and thrive just when the essentials of digital transformation are followed.

7 Prinicples of Digital Transformation

  1. Client-Centricity: One of the main drivers and benefits of digital transformation is the ability to meet the new world of customer expectations and needs. Customers want access to information and the ability to take action and interact anytime, anyplace, from any device. The new Digital Experience maps to the customer lifecycle, journey, or buying flow, and data is collected at every point of interaction to feed personalization, targeting, and marketing.
  2. Business Driven: This may sound obvious but all digital initiatives need to have a business reasoning and business sponsor. Technology can be a game-changer but very often, the digital channel needs to be part of an omnichannel approach.
  3. Data is King: Having enterprise information available in a digital format with a single source for the truth is the absolute foundation of a digital transformation. Without “Good data” the effect of garbage in, garbage out will produce inconsistent results and systems people can’t trust.
  4. Actionable Analytics: Many organizations invested heavily in Business Intelligence and use decision support systems to run analysis and produce reports. The expanding scope of data capture and processing now allows analytics to serve as actionable triggers for real-time decisions and other systems.
  5. Agility in Technology and Process: Agility is at the heart of our approach and without it you would go through a transformation every few years. It is broader than just IT and impacts many business and operational processes. Few key concepts of planning for agility:
    • De-coupling. A large part of what makes changes hard, is the intertwined nature of most IT environments. Proprietary databases, older applications without outside interfaces, hard coded database calls in code, heavily customized but dated applications, etc. The solution is to de-couple the elements and create a modular, service oriented architecture. Data should be separated from logic, services, and user interaction allowing each tier to grow and evolve without requiring complete system re-write. For example, the biggest driver of transformation in the last few years has been the user experience and the need to support users in various mobile devices. A de-coupled architecture would allow UX overhaul using the same services and backend.
    • Agile / Rapid application development. Application development needs to be able to create prototypes and test ideas on a regular basis. For that to happen, the process of definition, design, implementation and testing software has to be more responsive to business needs. Whether following Agile Methodology principles or just a more iterative version of traditional models, application development has to be able to quickly show business users what they would get, and adopt a minimal viable product approach to releasing software. An emerging model of continuous delivery allows faster, automated deployment of software when it is ready.
    • Cloud and Infrastructure agility. The emergence of cloud services is making agile environments so much easier to implement. From an infrastructure perspective, you no longer need to invest in hardware resources for your worst-case load scenario. The ability to get just as much computing resources as needed on demand and scale as needed in a matter of minutes makes platforms like AWS and Azure very appealing. Many applications now offer only cloud-based versions and even the large players like Microsoft and Oracle are now pressuring all customers to get on the cloud versions of their applications. The ability easily to plug a cloud application into the environment is the ideal of agility. With a common security and authentication layer, the modern corporate application landscape is comprised of many different cloud applications being available to each user based on their role and integrated to a degree that makes the user experience as seamless as possible.
    • In addition to the environment, software, and infrastructure, organizational processes have to be more flexible too. Change management needs to become a process that enables change, not one the stops it.
  6. Process Automation: with the new landscape comprised of so many different and independent application, process automation and leverages the open interfaces of application is becoming critical. Traditional Business Process Management application is now morphing into cloud orchestration and an ability to allow processes to be created across multiple applications and managed/updated by business users without IT involvement.
  7. Security. Last but not least, the open, flexible nature of the future landscape we were describing here, requires new levels of security that should be an integral part of all facets of the environment. Data security and encryption. Services security, security in application design, all layers and components have to consider the rising threat of hacking, stealing data and denial of service that are more prevalent than ever. 

Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach more and more newer areas. The world is thinking about implementing ‘ways and means to minimize the disruption caused to the humanity. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it. This of course will lead to a ‘lesser direct human interactive’ society

Ibrahim Isaac
CEO – Frontdreams Web Solutions Limited

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Covid 19- A Booster for Digital Transformation!!