Our new reality has accelerated digital technology and prompted the need for a new kind of business transformation — one that will be relevant for the new normal of tomorrow. But there's one thing that hasn't changed: reinventing your business. And the technology that powers it still requires you to assess and address the how, the who and the what of your organization.
Transforming The How: Keep Doing What You're Doing — Just Do It Differently
The easiest part of this equation is transforming how you do what you already do. That's the low-hanging fruit. You have an existing set of things you develop and sell. The question is about how you deliver those products in a remote way in a world with a higher degree of remoteness.
- How can people who are involved with that product work remotely in an effective way?
- How can they do remote design and iteration?
- How can they remotely provision, deploy, monitor and maintain the solution?
Technology creates some level of advantage in helping you with this transformation. Continuing to develop and deliver products in a way that requires a lot of in-person interaction simply will not work. You'll end up like the sports stadium or movie theater businesses — essentially, you'll be locked out. You need the right talent and technology to stay in the game.
Look At What Talent You Need To Rise To The Challenge
Ultimately, if you're trying to transform your business for this new world, you have to transform your people. That's the who — you.
The cloud is taking off in this increasingly remote world. Eighty-two percent of businesses increased cloud use during Covid-19. Businesses transforming for the new world should ask: How many people do I need to be certified in cloud? How am I going to attract those people?
It's also important to consider emerging technologies such as 5G, AI, and augmented and virtual reality. This Forbes article explains how 5G and evolving expectations in the remote work environment will lead to a new, immersive work world enabled by technologies like AR and VR. Businesses must decide how to build talent for 5G, AI, and AR/VR by attracting new people and training existing talent.
People with deep knowledge in AI, cloud, security and user experience are difficult to recruit and retain. Experts in AI and UX are particularly hard to get because you're competing with the tech giants for this talent. The companies that have invested the most in these skill sets — like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft — have the biggest market caps in the world.
Dive Into The Tech Talent Pool
At a time in which companies are in the process of cutting costs, you may be able to pick up some pretty amazing talent that would have been near impossible for you to get in the past.
Uber recently laid off 3,000 employees due to the 80% downturn in its business amid Covid-19. Two weeks earlier, it eliminated 3,700 positions. This is a company with a rigorous recruiting process. You may want to consider looking at this newly available talent pool.
Before you trigger your talent search, look at where your talent gaps are. Think about changing the rules and going after that talent you could not have gotten before. Assess how those talent metrics will let you achieve your strategic objectives. Make a plan for what share of the new talent you're going to need to transform for the new world will come from the outside and what share will come from developing existing talent.
Build Up The People You Have
Your people who used to commute or do business travel may now have more time for training. Employees in general are anxious right now, and they realize the company must go through a transition. Most people are more open to change, especially if employers have a clear plan.
Ideally, this larger plan should include an assessment and personalized training plan for each employee you want to develop. This will enable you to move faster because people with some level of knowledge shouldn't have to start from the beginning. If you take this approach, you may be able to trim a 50-hour training session down to just 10 hours so you're more efficient.
Transforming The What: Innovating For The New Normal
Innovating to create the offerings of the future is the hardest part of business transformation because you're creating net-new offerings that are adjacent to what you do.
The first part of this new product process involves harnessing the power of the enterprise to brainstorm and then deciding what areas will be your focus. If you run this as a mass innovation campaign that engages your global workforce, you will generate more — and most likely better — ideas.
Before we started doing this, we used to get about 60 ideas from around 400 people who would engage in an innovation hackathon. Now we've got a couple thousand people participating, and we have seen a 700% increase in engagement. More importantly, we have people across the organization contributing rather than just the product and platform teams.
Invent What Customers Need
We just introduced a biometric identity management software product for which we employed the mass innovation campaign approach. This got people across our enterprise thinking about how we could make biometrics much more relevant for today's environment.
In the past, you might use biometrics to authenticate people going into a country at a border. But enterprises right now are dealing with all these health and remote work challenges. This biometrics solution helps businesses combat identity fraud during a time in which they are facing a dramatic increase in cyberattacks. It also addresses the need to authenticate contractors who may now work remotely.
This disruption is a challenge. But it's also a chance to acquire top talent, develop skill sets, change current offerings and position for the future so you emerge stronger than before.