Article

COVID-19 as a Catalyst for Digital Transformation

May 20, 2020
Recover, Regroup, Renew diagram
As COVID-19 continues to upend BAU we need to balance longer-term strategic responses with keeping the lights on in the immediate term.

It is without a doubt COVID-19 is drastically reshaping how we live and work. As a result of the immediate and long-term adjustments being made in response to the virus’ effect on health systems, the economy and working patters we are entering a ‘new normal’ that will look significantly different from where we are today.

Whether they know it or not all organisations are now undertaking a Digital Transformation journey, however not by choice. Mandatory instructions to work from home where possible, now in force in many countries across the globe, are stress testing organisations digital maturity and ability to maintain core business operations with either a full or partially remote workforce.

Up until now, firms have been working hard to set up crisis management teams and procedures so to get a handle on the immediate impact, but it is the medium and long-term responses that will have a lasting effect on an organisation’s culture, stability and ultimately longevity. In this vein, firms should seek to re-frame these unusual times as an opportunity to seek alternative and perhaps non-traditional ways to deliver value to customers as new social norms, behaviours and preferences start to take root. What is clear thus far is that the pace at which businesses can react and adapt to new customer behaviours will be one of the key determinants for surviving this turbulence.

Managing multiple time frames in approaching crisis response

Outlined below is a three-part approach that can help business leaders to delicately balance the pressing needs of today while also keeping an eye on the future.

The three lenses cover; Recover, Regroup, Renew

  • Recover – keep the lights on during immediate crisis response
  • Regroup – refresh your Digital culture and pivot customer propositions
  • Renew – seek out new opportunities as we prepare for life in the ‘new normal’

Most organisations will progress through the three phases in a linear fashion, however, this will largely be influenced by the following factors: industry, size of the organisation, financial liquidity, geographic footprint, to name a few.

Once initial financial and operational stability has been achieved in the ‘Recover’ phase this will free up capacity to consider the two subsequent phases. At this point, we advocate taking a balanced approach to managing for the mid to long-term future as a way to drive future growth.

Move quickly and make things

This crisis is causing firms across the globe to reset and rethink many parts of their business, all at the same time. Most organisations have not, and most likely will not face another catalyst for change of this magnitude or scale again. The 3R model above introduces a multi-disciplined and structured approach for how organisations can navigate the turbulence in the short-term while also seeking to find new opportunities on horizons that lie further ahead. Our lens on reality is changing on a regular basis as the outbreak spreads across the globe and as new information comes to light. Our path to recovery is uncertain but we believe those firms that pair a creative problem-solving approach with the ability to diagnose and course-correct at pace will be triumphant as this climate favours those that have a bias towards action and speed rather than perfection.

Get in touch

If you’d like to hear more about how we can help you, including how you can adapt your own business to this remote working world, please get in touch.

Employee presenting ideas

Written by:

Rajiv Lewis

Head of Strategy