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PHOTO: Johannes Hofmann

The past few months have started to shed some real clarity on our digital processes. I keep reading about organizations using the current time to assess their digital transformation needs in order to move forward.

Reality check: you should have started already. Now is the time for course corrections.

If you aren’t already transforming your organization, the current challenges are simply showing how behind you are. However, if you are already moving down this road, this is a great opportunity to see if you are heading in the right direction. Most importantly, you can use this time to shift to address the needs upon which 2020 is shining a spotlight.

Foundational Pieces of any Digital Transformation

People just starting their digital journey often don’t realize they need certain important foundational pieces in place before they can begin.

  • How are you storing your critical information?
  • Are the proper relationships defined?
  • Is there a single source of truth for everything?
  • Are those systems of truth readily accessible via an API?

Without these critical pieces of your foundation in place, it will be a challenge to get anything built. The larger, and more mature your organization is, the more critical this will be.

If you haven’t addressed these core questions, you need to work on answering them now. If you have put the time and effort into ensuring the right systems are in place, you are ready to start responding actively to the changing world.

Related Article: The Elephant in the Digital Transformation Room: The Long Tail of Legacy Tech

What Processes Are Driving You Mad?

Everything is more digital now than it was at the beginning of 2020. COVID-19 has made that a truth. Yet the efficacy of that change greatly varies. Smooth digital processes have not automatically sprung up to accommodate people not entering the office.

Organizations are still sending people into the office to sort, digitize and route via email all the incoming physical mail. It is a digital process, but not the way they  talk about it at all the conferences. This is an example of how businesses can open themselves up to risk, as people may be opening sensitive mail for no other  reason than they were in the office.

Marketing is another place where the lack of digital can be obvious. Every interaction is now digital. Any program that wasn’t fully digital and relied on live events is now facing a challenge. While many events have moved online, those random conversations are gone, as are the attendee’s attention span.

Now is the time to look across the entire organization and determine which processes are causing the most pain. How can you figure it out? Look at customer feedback, whether it's formal, in emails or on Twitter. Identify process times that have gone up the most and highlight the ones that drive cashflow.

Or simply attend a Zoom happy hour of employees and see what they are complaining about the most.

Related Article: You Rolled Out Your Remote Workplace in Record Time. Now Let's Talk Governance

Don't Blame It on Remote Work

All of these processes crying out for digital love don’t need your attention because everyone is remote. It is just easier to identify them because everyone is remote. These previously easy to gloss over pain points are now glaring.

Instead of walking the mail down the hall, someone has to open the mail, hold it up to a camera and send it on its way. Mail is processed in bulk instead of as it comes in, lengthening processing time. Everything that was handled on paper or by spinning a chair around to ask a question is now a series of back-and-forths in email or in a chat tool.

All that added time costs money and increases friction throughout the organization. And the one thing that people definitely do not need these days is increased friction.

Related Article: The Sudden Move to Remote Work Unearthed Years of Bad Tech Decisions

Identify, Adjust and Progress

If you are managing digital transformation agilely, you can quickly shift your focus to address the necessary issues. Using your existing tech backbone, you can start digitizing the processes that are now out in the open.

It is a challenging time and many organizations are fighting to stay afloat. Staff is struggling to manage the health and safety of their families. However, if you can spend the time to focus on digitizing new hot spots, you’ll make your staff’s lives easier and you’ll come out of 2020 in a stronger position to make the most of the eventual rebound.