A lot has changed in our everyday life and even more in the way we do business. The first challenge the Allchemist team had to face was a complete transition to home office work. We knew this would put some organizational strain on management and customer-facing relations. The transition, however, was seamless and we continue to perform at our best without any meaningful issues.
But we are aware that not everyone was so lucky or successful in adapting to this new reality of how they do business as we were. That was of course not a direct result of management decisions or willingness of managers to drive the business forward. They were in major part due to technology that is not always up to date with the current demands of society. Of course, you would have to plan for this kind of pandemic, which was just yesterday unimaginable, to be completely ready.
Nevertheless, one quote comes to mind that really sums up most of our current struggles: “If we have learned anything from the speed at which our lives have changed, it is that we cannot allow our ability to respond to be limited by our ability to execute due to outdated technology.”
But we are not in a moment when we can shrug our shoulders and accept reality.
We are in a moment where actions matter most for us to be successful as a business when we exit this reality.
Adapting to a new reality
Recent McKinsey article discusses ways that COVID-19 pandemic will affect business and changes that we will need to go through in order to successfully combat the changes of the business environment that COVID-19 will inevitably leave behind.
Going forward we will observe three stages of adaptations:
- managers will have to provide stability and continuity of business throughout the crisis,
- then institutionalize new ways of working
- and finally using learning from this crisis to prioritize tech transformation for resilience.
Three waves of change resonate especially now that we are detached from our everyday work environment.
We realize that even though we have been preparing for remote access, digital world, IoT, we all haven’t quite imagined what it will mean to detach completely from old ways of doing things.
Being away from all our resources such as research data, technical support information, product information and even something as basic as face to face sales visits is something that will make us rethink our ways going forward.
The first step, however, is stabilizing the business and making sure that there will be a tomorrow that we can build towards.
Now is the time to move forward
In any stressful situation however, we try to revert to the old ways, do the business the way we know it works. But those who best keep the focus on future projects and customer-centric approaches will, in the end, have the edge.
So, change to some extent is inevitable if we want to be successful.
Dropping all the projects that seem redundant strain on cash flow and doing just business, as usual, could mean that not very far down the line we will be missing a lot of momentum.
The crisis is also a time when we have an opportunity to review new disruptive formats and new channels to determine long term channels that will fuel the business. Prioritizing this tech transformation for resilience is one of the key efforts for every company and planning adoption within an organization is one of the harder tasks.
That’s why the change we face today is not just cultural, it’s also technological so one of the most important roles in this process is CIO, your Chief Information Officer. Aligning expectations and driving the process forward will take a lot of onboarding and strong support from top management. But once decisions are made to adopt new ways to better suit new reality, CIO will be at the core of these efforts, translating business processes to the business path to success. Yet keeping the right pace with changing organizational needs and still striving to be proactive on security will be a challenge. That’s why onboarding everyone in this process is one of the key efforts at the start of every transformation. Get buy-in then move forward. It’s easier to push progress forward when you don’t have to push people too.
Be among those that adapt
It’s not necessary to be the first at something new but it helps. Jeff Bezos has this to say about technology adoption: “I believe you have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate”.
Fortunately [or unfortunately] we have been pushed into innovation by a spread of a virus that swept across the globe just in a couple of weeks. But this does not mean we’re out of solutions.
Solutions are everywhere, we just have to make a decision to be among those that will adopt new ways of doing business that has inevitably become a part of our lives.
We can start by reviewing our processes, thinking of ways of doing things more efficiently. Then start looking for solutions that seamlessly integrate into our business but change us just enough so we can be effective in this new environment. That’s why surrounding yourself with people that understand the importance of change management and all along maintaining the security, is very important. And during this process keeping in mind that discussing openly any obstacles we face or expect to face will make any adoption much easier.
Correct planning of this entire process is vital but not more important than taking the right steps. So first steady the ship but don’t put off the adaptation to a new reality for too long. Look for partners that can make you better and more efficient in every situation. Technology is just a tool, people that understand how to manage what we’re all going through, are the asset.