A quotation by Dr. Koenig, CEO of German’s Allianz Health has been often used to stress the importance of transformative initiatives for businesses. She said:
“It’s never over. There is always change and always more to do.”
Digital transformation is nothing new. Depending on your definition, it can go back as far as the middle of the twentieth century. Even by the most conservative interpretations, leading enterprises have been on the digitalization path for a couple of decades. Over the last two years, however, digital transformation has taken on a new urgency. As organizations have weathered the upheavals instigated by the pandemic, digitization has become integral to their responses and also their plans. Looking ahead to the next year, it’s clear that digital technologies will continue to play a seminal role in enterprise strategy and success.
However, certain aspects of digital transformation are likely to increase in importance while others will diminish. Following are some of the trends IT leaders can expect to become more prevalent in 2022 – and others that are more likely to fade.
Digital transformation has been the big technology story of the 2020s. Businesses that have embraced this ongoing movement have improved their customer journeys, strengthened their security, and even opened up data analysis to multiple facets of their business. Reflecting the widespread interest, companies like IKEA, DHL, and Nike have undergone successful digital transformations.
The world is watching as the rules of the markets change drastically in the COVID-19 era. Businesses are making an extra effort to adapt to the “new normal” to stay competitive. Today, it’s not only the rules but the entire battleground that is undergoing massive changes! What does digital transformation mean in this situation? New and transformative technologies were rapidly entering the workplace even before the pandemic, enabling businesses to innovate and thrive in an increasingly digital world. But then 2020 happened, and what was supposed to take years had to happen in only a few months or less. Digital transformation has been key in responding to the disruption of work and business ecosystems, and most businesses ramped up their efforts to meet this sudden change. Eight in ten organizations fast-tracked their digital transformation programs in 2020, according to Dell’s Digital Transformation Index 2020, which surveyed over 4000 business leaders globally. In addition, 89% said the pandemic highlighted the need for a more agile and scalable IT environment.
It’s evident that in this new world, technology is not a choice, but a fundamental business strategy that must be interwoven into every part of an organization. Transformation can enable better collaboration within and between organizations, more personalized ways of customer engagement, higher employee innovation and productivity, and more accurate insights from data, all of which help a business grow and give it a better chance of thriving post-pandemic.
What does Digital Transformation mean in the “new normal”?
In the past, companies have always had to deal with changes in customers’ demands. But, amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis, the way that modern society functioned has changed – and the changes will likely be last far beyond the COVID-19 wave. While some aspects of our lives (like strict lockdowns) may end with a vaccine becoming available, other aspects such as our usage of digital technologies will endure. The need of the hour is to re-develop an organization’s digital landscape. Companies will have to reinvent their operations through the entire lifecycle, starting from customer acquisition and operations to post-sales service and customer service.
In the current scenario, if an organization does not transform itself digitally to meet the demands of the business landscape, its survival could be at stake. Adapting rapidly to the current situation is also necessary for the successful delivery of products and services to customers, keeping in mind the safety concerns during the pandemic. There are many hurdles for the traditional global supply chains due to lockdown conditions in various geographies. An agile response to transforming business processes hit by the pandemic is crucial. We must first acknowledge that the new normal of the post-pandemic era is not going to be the same as the old normal.
Ultimately, 2022 will be an interesting year for all kinds of businesses. Enterprises have an opportunity to advance their operations with leading-edge technologies, and service providers have the chance to improve customer experience and win more business by offering comprehensive solutions to customers.
Whether it’s cloud, SD-WAN, automation, AI, 5G, or security, the coming year will allow more organizations to hone what is needed to enable continual transformation, and in turn, reach new levels of success in the long term. Digital transformation is a massive undertaking, especially for larger, established companies. When done right, it will produce a business that is more aligned with customer demands and resilient in the fast-moving digital future.