The Coronavirus Pandemic Is Accelerating Digital Transformation – Will You Keep Up?
Before the coronavirus pandemic, only forward-thinking businesses owners were considering digital transformation, and what new technologies could do for their business. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not much of a choice – you need to adapt now, or you’ll be left behind.
Ever since the Internet was adopted worldwide, remote work has been a possibility. A reliable phone line, a well-maintained business email account, and remote access to business data mean that an employee could be anywhere with an Internet connection and still get their work done.
But, for most of the professional world, remote work hasn’t been seriously considered until now. The coronavirus pandemic has forced businesses to send their employees home and figure out how to keep them productive while they’re there. A side-effect of this global crisis is that many businesses are embracing digital transformation…
What Is Digital Transformation?
Digital transformation is the initiative to use technology for better business outcomes. It’s one of the biggest buzz phrases going around the business community these past few years, and for good reason.
Business leaders are realizing just how powerful new technology can be, especially as the coronavirus pandemic keeps their employees at home and forces them to adopt a remote work model.
However, undergoing digital transformation is easier said than done. There are two primary obstacles that commonly prevent businesses from embracing digital transformation:
- Lack Of Strategy: Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as just saying you want to “digitally transform” your business. It takes an understanding of available technologies and how they can be applied to your work, along with a clear vision of how this can help you achieve your business goals.
- Fear Of Potential Risks: Many are hesitant to adopt new technologies because of what it could mean for data security. Usually, this comes down to the nature of the cloud – whether it’s the Internet of Things, or enhanced mobile device use in the workplace, managers and owners worry about how greater access to work data will affect the security of that work data.
The important thing to understand is that both of these concerns can (and should) be addressed by your IT company. They should have the knowledge and capability to help you align new technologies with your business goals in a secure way.
What Will Digital Transformation Do For Your Business?
Embracing new technology and harnessing it for your business can give you access to a number of new tech-based advantages:
- Work Remotely: The continuation of the coronavirus pandemic has caused countless businesses to send their employees home to keep them healthy and prevent further transmission of the virus. These businesses are finding out how easy it can be to launch a remote working model – that is, if they have the right technologies in place. The most direct way to maintain business continuity is to deploy remote access. When needed (i.e., during a quarantine), users can access corporate data and applications via a secure VPN. Once logged in, the user can make use of the software, access and modify data, and more, all without having to be at the office.
- Encourage Mobility: Implement Mobile Device Management and Bring Your Own Device policies that allow employees to use their own devices in combination with the business’ – be sure to equally prioritize the convenience of access with security. And don’t limit yourself to desktops, laptops, and phones – there’s more out there for you to take advantage of. Have you considered what the Internet of Things and wearable devices can do for remote workplace efficiency? Now’s the time to get on board – up to 20.4 billion IoT devices will be online by the end of 2020.
- Harness The Cloud: Increase collaboration and simplify management by hosting your data and applications through the cloud – again, prioritizing security in line with the access given to staff members. It shouldn’t have to be said at this point, but just in case you’re still in the past – get rid of your on-site hardware. Before the cloud, onsite servers were a must for any business that wanted to succeed, but no longer. Today, you don’t need to purchase, install and maintain onsite servers- with the cloud, you outsource it all to a data center instead. By choosing a cloud solution instead of conventional infrastructure, you will enjoy all the benefits of an up to date and optimized IT infrastructure, without having to pay more than your monthly service fee.
- Use Data To Your Advantage: With the right information, each choice you make can have attainable and expected positive results for your business; without that information, you may as well be gambling with the future of your business.
Business intelligence is the collection and analysis of data collected such as department productivity, overall growth, sales trends, and customer behavior. Applications of this data can range from something as simple as Spreadsheets for the organization, and storage of data to Online Analytical Processing or Reporting and Querying software. Each has a specific use and offers various benefits to your small business. Reporting and querying software extracts, sorts, summarizes, and presents selected data. This data could range from sale reports of specific items to a measurement of the efficiency of marketing plans.
- Automate A Range Of Processes: Automation with machine learning plays an enormous role in optimizing workflows and predicting problems before they occur. With workflows based in the cloud, you can automate or semi-automate many processes:
- Use analytics to predict problems before they arise.
- Automate and monitor work and maintenance schedules.
- Track and optimize work-in-progress on sites using sensors that monitor downtime.
These are just a few of the potential benefits of embracing new technology. However, if your IT company can’t or won’t help you attain them, then you need to find a company that will – a company like 360 Smart Networks.
In the end, modernizing your business doesn’t have to be a massive restructuring of the way you do business. Step by step you can affect these changes, either by talking to your staff about mobile device use for work or consulting with 360 Smart Networks about how to harness newer technologies.
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Meet Our CEO Marius Nel
Marius has over 25 years of extensive technical and business managerial experience. After beginning his career in the R&D sector of mechanical engineering Marius made the switch to IT in 1996, first acting as a technical support engineer and later moving up to the departmental general manager of a large JSE-listed company. After immigrating to the U.S. in 2001, Marius began laying the foundation for what would eventually become 360 Smart Networks.