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The New Normal Requires Digital Transformation to Survive

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a new division in the world between digitized and non-digitized industries. From a human life and economic cost, the virus has been heartbreaking. For those industries who have not been able to offer, adapt, or scale digital versions of their services and experiences quickly, the pandemic has been brutal.

Digitize to Survive Pandemic

Meeting the Demand for Digital Processes, Services, and Experiences

Coming out of this chapter of the world’s history, every company will need to meet new standards for what is required to compete and meet new demand for digital processes, services, and experiences across every industry. Those companies that are unable to reinvent their digital identity may have to exit the race.

Many companies will choose the natural reaction to this crisis and hunker down, stay put, and wait for the storm to pass in hopes that daily operations and customer relationships will return to days past. However, that could hasten trouble in the market now that many organizations are defining their new digital normal or their customers have demanded it.

Investing in Your Digitization Journey is Prudent Now

Every crisis brings opportunities, along with challenges. COVID-19 has provided the much-needed buy-in and increased opportunities for your digitization journey to accelerate. As CIOs and CFOs, you may be rationalizing your portfolio to cut or delay capital intensive projects. Just like investing while the stock market is down is a wise long-term strategy, redirecting dollars to hasten your digital journey with a reliable roadmap is prudent now.

As you contemplate your current digital profile and strategize what you should focus on now and next in your digital journey, it’s vital to determine where you are relative to the market and your direct and related competition. Gaining an understanding of your foundational and support processes is critical before you start your digital journey.

When identifying your core processes, identify which are essential to keep the lights on and operations solvent, and which are differentiators that make you stand out in your industry and with customers. In response to the COVID-19 effect on the economy and industries, some features of what used to make you different and better may now be seen as table stakes. For example, a product organization may now be expected to utilize DevOps and offer self-service capabilities for its customers. Likewise, health plans and hospitals will be required to maintain new types of virtual care channels and maintain and scale telehealth programs, and grocery chains will be expected to have a new level of digital services and experiences.

Accelerate Your Digital Journey with Crucial Questions

We have put together a few starter questions to help you prioritize your digital journey and make crucial decisions around what to offer, adapt, and scale:

  • Before Digitizing…Optimize: Are your business processes optimized and matured? If not, first, review and streamline them before digitizing. Digitizing an inefficient process will result in a ripple effect where the cost becomes multiplied as technology amplifies what works and what falls short.
  • Eliminate or Hasten Manual Work: Are your file reconciliation processes extremely manual intensive? Does your legacy system require significant manual file edits before processing is complete? Here, automation can transform workflows and increase capacity and accuracy.
  • Review Technical Debt and Modernize to the Cloud: On the other side of this crisis, customers will expect their favorite vendors to have a more comprehensive business continuity plan that works seamlessly without worrying about VPN backlogs. Use this opportunity to modernize your technical debt and pave the roadmap towards a cloud-first strategy.
  • Follow the leader in some process categories: This time brings an opportunity to find cloud and digital partners to support your core process categories like account receivables and payables. This is particularly true if you feel behind the eight-ball right now. This will accelerate your digital goals, as well as your customers confidence that you can deliver best-in-class services experiences.

If you’re started this journey, leveraging this time to build a long-term vision and plan that covers the next three-to-five years is prudent. It will give you motivation to work with your team and partners to develop innovative ideas that can positively disrupt your industry and deliver more value to your customers and employees.

Technology that Enables New Competitive Strengths

Other areas to consider as you review your digital evolution and your goals to boost process automation, include how machine learning and AI could complement your strategies, or how strengthening your analytics and data processes could improve decision making. These are the tools to help evolve some of those table stakes into new differentiators that unlock tremendous value.

  • #WFH Highlights Need for Better Analytics:
    Working remotely has further amplified the need for meaningful metrics and a decision support system that works. Look at extending this to your customers and suppliers.
  • Create Self-Serve Capabilities:
    If your organization hasn’t started self-serve capabilities for customers to give them what they need without IT involvement, now is the time. This capability, especially for a software product company, may soon become a customer relationship requirement.
  • Boost Process Automation:
    If you haven’t delved into automation solutions for complex processes, it is time to take automation seriously. A common mistake companies make is that they make a binary decision regarding automation. They may believe that they must have an end-to-end solution or no solution at all. For example, digitizing 100 percent of the claims process may be too complex, but attacking key parts of the process is very relevant. Even investments in partial digitization — like streamlining medical and coding process for providers — can unlock tremendous value.

Digital Decision-Making Framework: Identify and Assess your Digital Goals

Figure 1 provides a decision-making framework to help you identify and assess your core and support processes and prioritize them related to their digitization urgency and value. As you sort your digital goals using this framework, you will be able to identify which processes should be eliminated or outsourced to business partners, enabling you to re-focus capital towards other priorities.

Value & Urgency Framework Chart
Figure 1: Value & Urgency Framework: How to prioritize digitization goals.

Seize this Moment to Further Your Digital Goals

Companies who survive and thrive through crises, even like a global pandemic, are those that can see the opportunity despite the challenges. SDLC Partners has been helping organizations seize opportunity and leverage technology to come out ahead.

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Shrey Sekhar

Insight Contributor

Shrey Sekhar, Delivery Executive

Shrey Sekhar is a management consultant executive with over 15 years of experience, particularly deep healthcare in government markets, care management, pharmacy benefits, and member enrollment. He has a proven record of driving the delivery of multiple projects within timeline and budget. Shrey is a subject matter expert in healthcare strategy, project management, risk management, translating customer needs/market trends into technical requirements, and successfully releasing solutions across the entire engagement lifecycle in challenging environments.