The next normal is just around the corner. Contrary to what others would have you think, growing enterprises don’t need to fear the post-COVID-19 era.
With the right strategies in place, you can have a smooth transition for what’s to come, allowing you to continue business as usual, or even increase your chances of business success this year.
Understanding the next normal
Coined by McKinsey, the term “The next normal” refers to the post-COVID-19 era.
With the next normal comes necessary transformations to digital solutions and processes for your business to survive the new landscape.
The idea calls for the reinvention of your business strategies and focusing on rebuilding your operations, restructuring your organization, recovering revenue, and speeding up digital solutions adoption.
Doing so can help your business adapt to the next normal, sustain operations, remain competitive, and grow.
Emerging digital themes
Digitizing your business to flourish under the next normal requires understanding digital technologies’ value to your processes, initiatives, and products.
This helps ensure your digital solutions and initiatives should help your enterprise move beyond stagnant growth.
Start by learning the four themes that are expected to fuel digitalization in the next normal and determine how to align them with your business strategies and processes.
- Digitally-enabled labor force. Augmented and virtual reality will be key to ensure connected mobility and real-time tracking for remote and centralized workers.
This means you’ll need to adopt technologies and develop initiatives to keep workers connected and function effectively in remote operating centers.
- Cutting-edge analytics and decision support. Data processing to extract insights for real-time decision support and future projections will rely heavily on artificial intelligence and algorithms.
This would call for initiatives such as simulation modeling, advanced analytics processes and tools, and AI technology.
- Robotics, automation, and operational hardware. Adopting automation will streamline business processes and improve manual operations, increasing efficiency and productivity.
Key initiatives that should be in your scope include robotic processes, automation tools, hardware such as 3D printers to increase production, and more.
- Integrated platforms, enterprise, and ecosystems. Linking operations, device systems, and IT layers will become necessary to keep up with productivity demands and competition.
Your key initiatives should include operational technology and IT integration, integrated sourcing, asset cybersecurity, cloud migration, and more.
Strategies to overcome the fear of the new reality
Consider these steps to help you make strategic decisions and successfully transition your enterprise to the next normal.
Assess existing and potential problems
Identify and understand the negative impacts of COVID-19 to your business, including the additional damages you will likely incur short term and long term.
This can range from slow customer deliveries and a lack of manufacturing materials to selected operations shutdowns caused by lack of maintenance or proper repairs during lockdowns.
Assign dollar amounts to each issue to help you prioritize and identify which problems hurt your business most. Then use the information to assess where you should begin with transforming your strategies.
Identify general targets
Determine your desired results from the digitization process and share it throughout your company.
Identify each unit’s priorities, including new and digital products, plus processes and functions that can be strengthened by digitization, such as in indirect productions and sales.
This gives direction to your transformation process and helps you establish the right strategies to achieve your targeted outcomes.
Review your existing initiatives and set out a clear agenda for the transformation and prioritize the top initiatives to accelerate results.
By identifying your general targets, you’ll discover where digitization yields the best value for your enterprise and establish a balance of process and product initiatives.
Determine the right solutions that affect short-term and long-term operations
A large part of digitization is migrating some of your assets to cloud solutions to allow quick and remote access and operations.
Start your cloud migration with on-premise systems that managed to survive the health crisis’ effects, such as your data, applications, etc.
Include quick fixes as well to remove vulnerabilities identified during the crisis that is still occurring.
However, ensure you catch new issues that might arise during the migration that might affect your long-term operations.
Avoid moving too fast and choosing a cloud service without proper consideration.
It’s better to invest time and research than waste your resources putting out small fires in the future when your cloud solution doesn’t live up to your standards or hinders your processes’ efficiency.
Expect the cloud migration process to take a few times before you achieve success to help you plan your strategies accordingly and ensure it doesn’t negatively impact your operations.
Assess operation changes
An excellent way to achieve enterprise success is to operationalize changes, whether they are short-term or long-term.
When you operationalize rapid shifts in the business landscape, such as the impact of COVID-19 on enterprises, you’ll strengthen your disaster recovery and business continuity plans.
Adopting digital technologies and solutions helps you rethink and refine your operational plan to address these changes and implement contingencies.
Here are some additional tips to help you achieve successful digital transformation.
- Explore outside your current business. Connect to external value chain factors and players, such as new areas with suppliers, buyers, or value-added products and activities to expand your potential resources (among others).
- Build new partnerships and strengthen your existing ones. Improve your open and active partnerships to lay out the foundations of stronger local stakeholders integration, top-rated digitalization, and new business models of ownership and operation.
- Align your operations and strategies towards innovative initiatives. Develop a focused strategy incorporating digital tech and solutions.
Then align it with your business processes, model, and organization to encourage digital experimentation and usage within your enterprise.
- Engage and train your digital labor force. Promote cultural change to prepare your workforce for the technology and innovation necessary for your business’ digital transformation.
- Improve data relevance and access. Focus on obtaining applicable and real data insights and share them effectively with the right levels in your company.
- Invest in both jobs and alternative benefits. Find other ways and invest in these methods of working with and compensating local stakeholders for your use of their resources.
The road toward the next normal will not be easy for most companies, regardless of how prepared every enterprise was before the COVID-19 crisis.
Success and business continuity are still possible with positive planning, process digitalization, implementing new digital software systems and capabilities, and adapting to the next normal landscape for enterprises.
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