ASL Advisory blog post – publication date 3 August 2020:
Join the digital disruption game
Were you one of the few that have beaten digital disruption at its own game and reacted ahead of the pack? Or were you forced to react quickly by implementing new measures to keep afloat in answer to the unforeseen disruption brought along by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Businesses have been forced to go digital as some had to adopt a work-from-home policy. Others had to lock-up their shops and find other ways to generate income. On-demand data, teleworking and project management are some of the most common challenges that cause disruption.
Irrespective of how the pandemic has influenced your business, it is also known that the way in which we are doing business will most probably never be the same again. That is the nature of business disruptors.
In a recent study performed by IBM, as many as 54% of respondents have indicated that they would like to continue working remotely in the future even after they are allowed to return to work, while 75% would like to work remotely at least occasionally.
Digital disruptors for the win
Digitalisation is the process of starting to use digital technologies in order to change a business model, while digitisation is the process to put information into a digital format, so that it can be used by computers and other electronic equipment.
Digitisation is driven by efficiency so that the business can keep on doing what it is good at, but more efficiently. Fortunately, the development in modern technology eased us into the digital age, making most of the data readily available in digital format.
So again, coming back to the definition, digitalisation is to ‘change’ or ‘add’ to the current business activities, by utilising technology and generating value for the business. This is heavily driven right now by remote working needs.
Businesses are different and wherever they find themselves on the digital trajectory and however they have been impacted by the recent Covid-19 pandemic, your business might be forced to digitalise by going back to the drawing board in order to stay relevant. Or you would need to digitise in order to keep on doing what you are doing right, but more efficiently.
Here are some pointers on how your business could be responding to these digital disruptions right now:
Safe and remote access to data
It’s vital that you and your employees can access company data from anywhere at any time to ensure that employees can do business as usual. Remote access to data can be obtained by adopting cloud-based software technology.
There is a substantial amount of cloud-based apps available at your fingertips to keep track of inventory or projects, point-of-sale systems and payment services specific to different industries such as trade and construction, professional services, retail or hospitality. The integration possibilities between these apps are endless and can also seamlessly integrate with cloud accounting software such as Xero. Ensure that data is mobile friendly, so that employees can perform their duties on-the-go.
Employees must be reachable and equipped with updated devices to perform their daily tasks. It is vital that employees should have access to a good internet connection to keep them connected and utilising the collaboration tools and on-demand data.
It’s important to decide which collaboration tools will be the most effective for you company. These tools may include phone calls, instant messaging or virtual meetings, all accessible in the office, while on the road or when working from home.
There is an array of virtual meeting tools available, such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet to keep the team connected, creative and collaborative. Instant messaging tools like Skype, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts can minimise the email backlog between employees, to ensure that important tasks are top priority.
We are all familiar with those small admin-related tasks that take up valuable time. Project management tools such as Asana and Microsoft To-Do, will enable the business to keep track of all tasks and deadlines in a virtual space. You will know exactly who is working on what, and will eliminate important task falling through the cracks.
Another way to enable the team to work more productively is to make use of file-sharing technology, like Box, Sharepoint or Dropbox. Employees do not need to waste time anymore waiting for other colleagues to share document or keeping track of which version is the latest. Everyone can work off the same document at the same time from different locations. It is also easy to track the history of changes on documents or recover a previous version.
Reaching new markets
The COVID-19 crisis has become the single biggest catalyst for digital transformation. It has moved digital solutions from a niche market into mass adoption overnight. During the past few months accelerated initiatives around e-health and e-education have surged. One could make the prediction that because of the necessitated adoption of digital classrooms, the education system may have been revolutionised forever. When used to the fullest, mobile technology strategies deployed in South Africa have the potential to open up previously unreached customers.
The digital disruption game will certainly ensure that your business stays relevant and uses the technology available to its utmost advantage. Irrespective of whether you are digitising or digitalising, turn to expert business advisors to help you get ahead and thrive. It will enable your employees to focus on the job you hired them to do while you are working ON your business.