Our thoughts

The impact of COVID-19 on Technology: how digital transformation supports today’s businesses

17 July 2020 Matt Hammond 3 mins

Recent global events have accelerated digital transformation for many companies, creating an urgent need for technology that bridges the distance between people. For many, the home office has replaced the workplace, living rooms are classrooms and bedrooms are conference rooms. It’s easy to think that this is a temporary disruption – but in reality, this ‘new normal’ is likely to continue for some time. In this article we look at the impact of covid-19 on technology and how businesses of all sizes must digitally transform to survive.

Businesses that haven’t already implemented the technology and systems that they need to survive are more at risk than ever. Time is of the essence and organisations that wish to not only survive but also thrive must act now.

 

Businesses who dare, win

In recent report from McKinsey, the management consultancy notes that prioritising innovation is the key to unlocking post-COVID growth. 85% of technology executives expect the COVID-19 crisis to be one of the biggest opportunities for growth in their industry. However, fewer than 30 percent of the same executives believe that they are well enough prepared to address the changes they see on the horizon.

In past crises, organisations who invested in innovation delivered growth in the months and years post-crisis. McKinsey points to a study of the 2008 financial crises where companies who maintained focus on innovation emerged stronger, outperforming the market average by 30 percent and continued on a path of accelerated growth in the subsequent 3-5 years.

So, while the crisis presents a plethora of challenges for businesses, it also presents opportunities. But only if organisations have the resources and the mettle to pursue them.

 

The impact of covid-19 on technology and the challenges for businesses

What’s likely to follow now is a protracted period of hybrid lockdown, where workplaces begin to return but only with a skeleton team.

Businesses face several challenges in the post-COVID era. They must:

  • Protect staff
  • Mobilise their workforce
  • Maintain continuity
  • Assess costs
  • Mitigate supply chain disruptions
  • Model worst case scenarios
  • Accelerate digital transformation and solve gaps in IT infrastructure

 

Supporting the remote landscape with technology

Much of the discourse around enabling remote working has focused on VPNs and videoconferencing technology. But there’s more to enabling a remote society than simply setting up conference calls and chat rooms. Platforms like Microsoft Azure also have a lot to offer in the hybrid future that we’ll soon be entering. That’s because ensuring software can work remotely is just as important as ensuring people can.

One example of this is with our client, Explore Learning. They provide tuition for children across the country in learning centres, many of which are situated inside supermarkets.

To provide this tuition, Explore Learning relies on a piece of software known as SuccessMaker. Over the past few years, we’ve helped Explore Learning through a root and branch digital transformation, moving from their old on-premises software to a modern alternative hosted in Microsoft Azure.

One of the core requirements of the project was ensuring that SuccessMaker could be accessed remotely. Previously, it was only accessible at their dedicated learning centres. Now, users can log on and access their learning courses from anywhere in the world on their own devices.

 

Gaining business agility with the cloud

When we first embarked on this project with Explore Learning, the last thing we expected was for a global pandemic to shut down their 145 national learning centres. But having gone through this process, Explore Learning have been able to spin their business model at a moment’s notice and switch to an entirely remote style of learning. And it goes to show that keeping society running remotely isn’t just about getting the right videoconferencing technology.

 

Develop an agile business model

Previously, the technology that Explore Learning used constricted them to a particular business model. Regardless of the oncoming pandemic that none of us could have foreseen, that was a situation they wanted to get away from. Like many businesses, they looked to digital transformation to make them more agile, adaptable and competitive as the world changes fast. Having gone through that process, they have the flexibility to adapt to changes  out of their control, as well as those they planned themselves.

As the lockdown begins to ease, it’s situations like this that are going to decide whether businesses are able to open again. Some businesses, like the postal service or supermarkets must stay open regardless of the lockdown. Some, like cinemas and theatres, will be among the last to reopen. But most businesses sit somewhere between the two and their business continuity will be affected by how flexible and agile they can be in the coming weeks and months.

 

Building a digital foundation with Talk Think Do

For most companies, taking steps towards digital transformation—like Explore Learning successfully achieved—is critical to not only consolidating their workloads but also building a foundation for growth in the long term. Making quick, incremental improvements to their technology and processes allows the flexibility and agility they need to ensure business continuity. Whether that’s updating the company VPN or getting enterprise collaboration software to enable remote working, it all adds up. And if that business continuity plan involves a journey to Azure, then the experts at Talk Think Do are ready to help get you started.

If you want to learn more or get started with you cloud journey, get in touch with Talk Think Do today.