COVID-19 is a sense check and provides an opportunity for businesses to reimagine and start afresh on the journey of digital transformation
Dubai, UAE; July 01, 2020: Over 350 business leaders joined the virtual session on ‘Enterprise and Market Resilience during COVID-19', hosted by Protiviti Member Firm for the MENA Region. The theme was on the digital response to COVID-19, deliberating upon how automation, technology, cloud and analytics can help organizations overcome the crisis and equip them better post COVID.
At the forum, Jonathan Wyatt, Protiviti's Global Leader for Digital Transformation, highlighted: “The crisis has revealed the digital maturity of many organizations; the responses from digital thought leaders has been either taking the risk-averse course by pausing digital initiatives and technology investments all together or making a move to seize the opportunity and drive innovation and adopt emerging technologies to challenge the status quo.”
He further stated that the overwhelming global average as far as digital maturity is concerned, tends to be at a ‘beginner' level. However, the crisis also presents a unique opportunity for organizations to move towards higher levels on the maturity scale.
Amit Ray, Managing Director – Data & Digital at Protiviti Member Firm, said: “The pandemic has transformed many ‘brick and mortar' organizations to ‘brick and click' enterprises. For some, the transformation has been prompt, while the others are disoriented and could end up being left behind. For many companies, the challenge has been more about the mind-shift change as remote working and collaboration has become the rule of the day. Our panel of experts echoed that readiness during these times can only be attributed to sustained investment in technology, people, and processes.”
An audience poll during the forum showed that Intelligent Automation, Cloud Technologies, and Data and Analytics received the highest votes, as technologies that will see rapid adoption in the wake of the pandemic. The key themes that emerged suggested that technology investments are going to focus on the following - fixing the basics, strengthening the building block, and accelerating disruption. Data Orientation, Process Improvements, Information Security, Standardization and Consolidation are going to be crucial. Any technology that meets the need of these themes will see an uptake, viz. mobility, AI, RPA, cloud technologies, BI, and Big Data.
Amit Ray added, “One of the consensus that emerged during the discussion was that cloud adoption in the region remains relatively low, and the COVID impact will act as an accelerator. As long as organizations understand the security risks and the regulatory implications of adopting cloud platforms, they will see fewer disruptions in their business.”
The panelists highlighted that investments in technology could not be at the cost of investing in people and skillsets. Digital transformation, after all is not only about technology – people, process, and business model transformations are equally essential.
Finding the right talent to make digital transformation work will continue to remain challenging. Encouraging organizations workforce to adapt, upskill and create a foundation for themselves to be successful in their new role, can makes or break the success of digital investments.
Key takeaways from the forum:
• Digital leadership is about mindset and culture. Take advantage of the learnings during this pandemic and keep the spirit of innovation and collaboration intact as life resumes post crisis.
• Being ‘risk averse' and not being agile and flexible is the ‘high risk' path.
• There are no shortcuts to sustainable transformation – investing in digital, data and automation should be long term goals and not a knee-jerk reaction.
• Focus on people and process when thinking about digital – too often the focus is on the technology.
• Digital skeptics and beginners see a massive opportunity under the current circumstances to fast-track adoption and hasten the cultural shift.
• It is time for organizations to reflect on their preparedness and ensure the next crisis does not take them by surprise like the current one.
• Post COVID-19, it is likely that there will be an immediate surge in tech and digital investments. The key though needs to be on how thinking digital becomes the second nature, as businesses start operating in the new normal.