As 2020 forces businesses into survival mode, could digital transformation be the key to continuity?
The start of 2020 has put a spotlight on continuity for Australian businesses. Through natural disasters and managing COVID-19, leaders are challenged with forging a path through business as unusual to meet rapidly changing workforce and customer needs.
Tech tools have played an extraordinary role in keeping people and companies connected. But even though 87% of business leaders believe the right technology makes work life better, recent research shows about a third of Australian companies still don’t have a digital business environment or a plan for digital transformation. It’s those companies that will likely struggle now to create secure and productive connections that guarantee continuity for newly remote workforces.
To understand how business leaders and managers view digital transformation, Ricoh partnered with StollzNow Research to measure the 2020 Workplace Innovation Index. Now a new report, Everywhere Continuity, looks at opportunities for digital transformation, four key steps to continuity and identifying gaps, and the role of innovation.
Finding opportunity in change
About a third of Australian companies still don’t have a digital business environment. They thought they had time to push digital transformation down the list and prioritise improving operations and processes.
But disruption doesn’t always arrive on schedule — change can be forced on us by unprecedented events like COVID-19 — and the closest thing we have to a guidebook is information from trusted partners with proven track records. The global business environment provides an opportunity — and a meaningful justification — for a wholesale digital transformation. Making moves to shift to a digital environment now provides immediate benefits for workforce and customer continuity, and shores up your focus on long term productivity and profitability.
Businesses have a unique opportunity to put everything on the table. Put all tech, solutions and workflows are up for grabs — and reassess digital transformation planning to deliver business continuity everywhere.
4 steps to Everywhere Continuity
Shifting to a remote workforce with new ways of communicating is challenging. Here are four key steps to supporting your people through productive continuity:
- engage teams — put people first and empower them to interact and communicate everywhere
- do more with what you have — it’s a familiar imperative for most businesses, now with the added challenge of choosing the tools and tech to stay connected and competitive
- secure and seamless access — mobile access, printing and data sharing need an expert eye across security and compliance
- deliver real value — look for smarter choices with a proven partner. Let them manage increasingly complex and specialised IT, while your team generates revenue and leads.
A quick guide to finding continuity gaps
Through a digital transformation lens, look for continuity gaps to plug. Continuity means that in a crisis, your team and your customers can expect maximum uptime and connectivity. That continuity of service can also have impacts on your brand that are harder to measure — building customer experience and brand loyalty.
Could you answer these questions about your business continuity?
- How much does an hour of downtime cost you in productivity?
- What’s essential data for each business unit?
- If systems are down, what do your staff do?
- Do you have data backup and disaster recovery plans in place?
Data backup, disaster recovery plans, and data protection are all part of business continuity. But a plan dusted off and reviewed once a year won’t cut the mustard anymore. You must know your data priorities and build continuity into your everyday operations and your strategic planning.
Is innovation the key?
Moving fast and looking for ways to change and adapt are more important than ever.
The 2020 innovation index shows innovation budgets are stretched thin across operations, compliance and the costs of getting and keeping customers and talent. What was seen as key to innovation and growth — agility, technology skills and communication — have now become part of business survival.
Businesses that have the technologies and the digital culture in place to support change are best placed to innovate to survive and stay profitable in crowded local markets.
Continuity that’s more than keeping the lights on
Business continuity is in the spotlight as our mobile workforces do business from everywhere. The challenges of COVID-19 and the speed at which businesses are transforming — ready or not — means a higher awareness of everyday business continuity enabled by digital transformation. As 2020 continues, businesses that can keep their workforce and their customers consistently and seamlessly connected will have the advantage as people search for reassurance and consistency.