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Accelerating Your Digital Transformation Beyond COVID-19

2020 will be a year that few will forget. While the human impact of COVID-19 has varied significantly from one country to the next, the economic impact has been universal, with the global economy set to decline by 5.2% before the end of the year.

With approximately 20% of the global population under some form of stay-at-home order and many ‘high touch’ travel, leisure and hospitality businesses being forced to close their doors, two distinct business groups have emerged. While some industries have been devastated by lockdown measures, those who have been quick to adapt or able to continue to serve or sell to customers online, have managed to survive – and, in some cases, thrive.

Cassandra Theocharous

Written by

Cassandra Theocharous
Marketing Manager
15 June 2020

How COVID-19 Raised the Bar for Digital Experience 

For most countries, initial restrictions involved limiting non-essential activities – namely, only going outdoors to exercise, buy groceries or visit a health practitioner. Overnight, online retail became the only option and, suddenly, those that could provide services to customers online were inundated, with online retailers in the US seeing a massive 68% revenue increase by mid-April.

With most customers, young and old, becoming ‘digital-first’ during this period, businesses that had previously dragged their heels on digital initiatives were suddenly confronted with a harsh reality – those who cannot provide a digital experience will lose customers. In fact, IDC estimates that up to 40% of organisations will lose market share by 2022, due to failing to invest in market-driven operations.

Despite the uncertain economic outlook, the pandemic could have provided the wake-up call that many organisations needed to push them towards taking digital investments seriously – including government departments, who saw key online services grind to a halt when websites were inundated by citizens looking for answers.

Back to the Digital Drawing Board

Whether your organisation’s digital transformation initiatives have been stalled by COVID-19 restrictions and disruptions – or whether they’ve yet to get off the ground – here are some key points to consider when re-evaluating your digital vision.

1. Assess your digital capabilities and identify gaps

Consider why your organisation exists, what value you provide to customers – and the opportunities to increase this value – and the current gaps in the customer experience. Many businesses who saw revenue skyrocket in the initial online rush, were then hit hard by shortcomings in their customer experience and inundated with complaints about unacceptable service levels and delivery timeframes.

2. Review your existing tech stack and operating models

Achieving your digital transformation goals will be impossible without the right technology to enable you to deliver relevant and engaging experiences, on any device and in real time. Start by evaluating your existing tech stack and aligning that with your goals. In order to provide a connected, seamless experience, systems and technologies need to be fully integrated, this should be a key consideration when choosing a digital experience platform (DXP) to carry your transformation forward.

Equally important is your operating model; how your business is structured to enable teams to work effectively. Consider who will ‘own’ digital, how all internal teams will work together to deliver the transformation and which new roles may need to be created.

3. Identify opportunities

Digital experience doesn’t discriminate, and there are always opportunities to disrupt and offer new and exciting experiences for customers online – you just have to think creatively. During the pandemic there have been numerous examples of businesses reshaping their services to evolve to customer needs; here are two great examples from various industries:

  • SA Government - The South Australian Government required a new COVID-19 SA Dashboard to provide trusted, accurate and timely information to citizens during the Covid-19 pandemic. At the time there was no central place for citizens to get the latest information about the number of cases, the number of tests, and the number of people recovered and compliance activities. With information changing rapidly, it's never been more important to keep communities up-to-date. Within 24 hours, Squiz worked with different data sources, to create a dashboard with a consistent dataset that is easy to update as new data is captured and since launch, the dashboard has been accessed by over one million citizens.
  • Baptcare – Aged care facilities were classed as highly vulnerable, as it became clear that the virus carried greater risks for the elderly and those with underlying health issues. Baptcare – an organisation providing aged care services in Victoria – needed a secure way to share news and updates with their 3,000 employees, when they were suddenly required to work from home. Within 48 hours, Baptcare created a password-protected section on their website for staff only, alerting staff to vital information via email or SMS.

5 Steps to Accelerate Your Digital Transformation

While experts are torn as to whether our post-COVID-19 world will be drastically different or return to ‘business as usual’, delivering exceptional digital experiences will enable organisations to thrive and remain competitive, as we emerge from the immediate effects of lockdown life. Here are our five steps for kick-starting your digital transformation journey.

1. Understand what customers will need post-Covid-19 and refocus digital strategies to reflect changing customer expectations

Predicting what customers will expect from your business in future is a strategic mindset most successful organisations already practice on a regular basis – but is critical to post-pandemic business survival. Harvard Business Review advises starting by assessing the “four core dimensions of your business model: customers, value propositions, value demonstrations, and capabilities. Second, you’ll analyze the connections between these dimensions. Third, you’ll define realistic objectives for your organization, during and after the crisis.”

2. Reimagine your operations strategies to create competitive advantage

An on-going challenge for digital laggards and large industry incumbents has been unwieldy internal structures that simply aren’t compatible with the fast-paced, whole-of-business change needed for a successful digital transformation. Reassessing your operating model will enable you to envisage how your business needs to be organised in order to deliver your new digital strategies and increased customer expectations. A Target Operating Model (TOM) will help you to identify skills gaps, visualise how teams will need to interact and remove silos, as well as providing a roadmap to gain buy-in from employees.

3. Leverage data and insight

The ability to see, in real-time, how your customers are behaving online during (and emerging from) the pandemic will be vital. Not only will accurate customer data be able to back-up any assumptions raised in step one, but it will inform future decisions – particularly gaps in the current customer experience and potential technologies needed to fill those gaps. For example, search engine analytics, like those provided by Funnelback reporting tools, can reveal both what users are searching and, more importantly, what they’re unable to find, which can shine a light on missing web content, as well as disconnects in the overall experience.

4. Adopt technology that will enable you to deliver exceptional experiences 

Now is the time to invest in digital. Organisations that have been able to, quite literally, deliver exceptional experiences online during the pandemic have already set themselves apart and reaped the rewards with record sales and a wave of new customers. A cloud-hosted digital experience platform (DXP) will enable you to deliver personalised, relevant, real-time, omnichannel experiences, at scale – as well as driving your digital transformation forward.

Time for Change 

In the past, entire industries have been able to avoid digital transformation and continue to operate using outdated processes, systems and strategies – but the Coronavirus pandemic has provided the burning platform that has forced many organisations to evolve or fail. With business triumphs and collapses being played out in the media on a daily basis, today’s leaders increasingly have nothing to lose, when it comes to driving digital transformation… so, what are you waiting for?

To find out how Squiz can help your organisation to deliver exceptional customer experiences, visit today.

Cassandra Theocharous

Written by

Cassandra Theocharous
Marketing Manager
15 June 2020

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