Wednesday, 27th January 2021

COVID-ushered digital transformation makes companies adaptable and resilient

COVID has triggered a massive digital shift, encouraging more businesses to migrate their operations online to the cloud, and well away from legacy systems. Not only does the move toward digitalization streamline organizational processes, but it makes companies more resilient, more robust, and, most importantly, more adaptable to unforeseen events such as the coronavirus. By Emma Maslen, an executive coach and adviser to start-ups.

Going Digital

To say the shift to digitization was entirely due to COVID is somewhat disingenuous. There were, after all, plenty of innovative firms undergoing a tech-centric restructure before the pandemic. Now, however, companies that were previously lagging their contemporaries are leveling the playing field.

In light of coronavirus restrictions, and the need to protect employees and serve customers, C-level execs led the charge toward digitalization, implementing remote working conditions and instilling infrastructure to support digital access.

This was reflected by data from McKinsey, which shows that globalbusiness digital adoption leaped forward around five years in just eight weeks during the onset of the pandemic.

For example, the education sector found refuge online with learning courses and digital classroom technology skyrocketing in use. Brick and mortar shops followed a similar model, shifting their usual over-the-counter paradigm to online ordering and delivery. Health services likewise harnessed new telecommunication tech, providing online assessment and treatment. And manufacturers who were particularly impacted by supply chain disruptions are increasingly trying to forge their own connections with their customers.

This forced digital leap has left many enterprises struggling to keep up on security, customer experience, or privacy fronts.

This isn't just a passing fad either; this digital pivot is likely here to stay. With a second wave looking like a sure-fire bet and further lockdowns likely to follow, businesses are keeping new infrastructure close at hand.

For consumers, the appeal to stay digitized is even more apparent. During the original lockdowns,75% of people using digital channels for the first time, opted to maintain them once restrictions had ceased—providing additional impetus for companies looking to increase reliance on tech.

The obligation to go digital may have been coerced by the coronavirus, but the benefits shouldn't be underplayed. Engaging with new tech can transform a company entirely, making them more agile and malleable by removing inefficiencies. Moreover, there are many factors—competitor innovation, market shifts, new technology, or others—that can make it extremely beneficial for companies to be agile enough to out-maneuver their competition and stay ahead of market trends.

Identity: The Foundation of Enterprise Agility

How can enterprises attain such agility? There is a common thread in privacy, security, and customer experiences. If that foundation is there, you can quickly shift the digital innovations built on top of it. That common thread is pretty simple: You have to know who your users are. That is the entire premise of identity and access management (IAM).

While embracing identity and knowing who your digital customers and employees are seems like a no-brainer, it’s imperative that your organization sees the value in such an investment.

If the concept of identity isn’t advocated throughout your enterprise, its impact on your organizational agility can be overlooked. With any digital transformation initiative there are three core things to consider:

  1. Are our users (customers and employees) and the data they have access to secure?
  2. Are we maintaining extraordinary experiences?
  3. Are we in compliance with privacy regulations?

There is plenty of software out there to address each of these three areas, but identity is the fabric that ties it all together. Identity can ensure that customers and employees are instantly recognized and remove the friction associated with sign-ons and registrations. It can also make the process secure and protect customer data, and ensure that employees who have access to that data are securely authenticated. It can also enforce consent to protect privacy and control the way customer data is shared.

With a comprehensive identity solution in place, enterprises can instantly pivot to react to any market trend thrown at them. And they can do so without sacrificing security, privacy, or user experiences.

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