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COVID-19 sparking the journey to Digital transformation.

In normal times, we all rise up early and go through the morning traffic in order to be at our desks before 8am or 8:30 for others. There are days when you literally do not have meetings or any client engagements that require you to be on desk,but you have to be there because that’s the only way they will notice that you are working.

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We were just so fond of this routine and honestly nobody ever predicted a time when there will be need to work from home. Is work from home even possible? Can you an employer pay employees that didn’t surface to office??? Well with COVID-19 the answer is YES! The pandemic has opened our eyes and highlighted the need for businesses to act with alacrity and prepare for long haul-and to do so with cyber security in mind.

The pandemic has opened the eyes of many CEOs to a journey of digital transformation in their businesses. This is the use of new, fast and frequently changing technologies to solve and address problems. So we are right to say that COVID-19 had led the digital transformation journey of many companies. The technology industry abounds with buzzwords and phrases, with digital transformation being one such term that many companies have taken on and others aspire to undertake. But when faced with reality, it can be difficult to implement while conducting business as usual. There are, however, impressive examples where companies have changed course and transformed their business by integrating technology to fundamentally change how they operate and how they deliver value to customers. For companies like PR and advertising agencies, media houses, financial institutions to mention but a few, digital transformation is relatable and will be easy to implement.

Allowing the workforce to be flexible is one part of digital transformation, but it carries with it the need to ensure that services are implemented securely. Devices need to be protected from any risks including theft and interference. Using full disk encryption, enabling strong multi-factor authentication, and using VPN technology to access data are some security considerations. Applications and tools to enable remote productivity need to be vetted and configured to protect both consumer data and sensitive company material.

“I recently delivered a presentation virtually, and I’ve currently signed on board that client for business.” Companies world wide have adapted their workforces during the pandemic by embracing technology especially video conferencing, collaboration tools and cloud services. One of the most commonly used video conferencing application is Zoom.
Covid -19 has seen zoom’s daily active user base grow by 67 per cent in the first three months of this year and the company now has a market value of $42bn. In recent weeks, the app has been downloaded more than 50 million times from Google store alone. It has now expanded far beyond its existing business base. The app has allowed isolated people keep in touch with their families. A few weeks back, I was able to do a virtual party with my three friends one is in China, the other Dubai and another in South Africa. At around this time last year, I could never imagine this.

In such a rapidly evolving situation, it’s almost impossible to balance what’s best for your company, while protecting your employees and still deliver great experience to customers.
It’s unlikely that things will get back to normal after the pandemic hence business owners need to start accelerating their digital transformation journey now. Someone once said that “A meeting without food should be an email” but in this case, all meetings should be emails or video calls. Though it is extremely important to improve communication and collaboration across the organization, businesses cannot afford to have employees missing out on important information such as urgent company updates or the latest changes made to projects they are working on. That’s why improving their internal communication is the most important digital transformation project.

Digital transformation does not happen quickly. According to my research,the percentage of successfully implemented digital transformation and change management efforts is pretty low, it is a complex process that involves several steps;
from planning to preparation, implementation, training, and evaluation of the success and it involves several teams that need to align and coordinate their efforts.

This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now, and over the long term.

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Written by: Ateenyi Victoria