How to plan a successful COVID-exit strategy and get your business on track?
If the 2008-09 global recession was due to financial meltdown and economic vulnerabilities, the 2020 economic crisis stemmed from the global pandemic and subsequent health emergency. Both incidents hold lessons that business owners and leaders should follow to fast-track their organizations’ recovery in 2021.
Economic growth in 2021 is likely to improve compared to the growth rate in the second half of 2020. However, it will still be uneven. Additionally, the timing and growth will vary for different products and services and geographic markets.
Given the uncertain recovery of the economy, leaders and business owners need to plan a successful strategy to lead their teams and organizations over the year. The focus should be a forecast of their companies’ revenue potentially earned in every quarter of the year.
That said, the COVID-exit strategy is not straightforward. Leaders and business owners will have to make a few difficult choices.
- How much should my organization change, and how fast?
- How far should I go to change my current strategy and adopt faster and more agile approaches?
These are some of the questions that you’ll probably need to figure out. However, remember that if your organization does not move quickly, it will lose itself in the crowd.
One of the best ways to transform is to apply the “all-in” approach to transformation. It means to go ahead with full speed. Whether your organization’s transformation should be about portfolio moves or performance improvements misses the point. If you want to succeed, you must consider both and make your transformation go big. This approach will help your organization emerge stronger and sustain the competitive edge for a long time.
This article discusses how leaders can build a successful COVID-exit strategy and begin a holistic transformation.
Three fundamental steps that organizations can consider
If your organization is successfully managing portfolio and performance moves simultaneously in a transformation, you can invest in three foundational steps:
- Getting an honest view of the business’s full potential across both portfolio and performance moves.
- Understanding the impact of those moves.
- Creating a program with a proper structure and sequence to maximize value creation.
While understanding the full business potential, leaders must know the importance of setting a high aspiration. According to McKinsey & Company, companies that put their gross transformation targets at 75% of trailing earnings are more likely to create value sustainably.
Incrementalism may be risky for organizations trying to break out from the COVID-19 crisis. Management teams seek safety to confront the current situation and avoid the discomfort of going in for the big moves. In reality, leaders must use this time and opportunity to challenge assumptions and overcome social barriers that block bold moves.
Successful digital transformation requires leaders to answer these questions
- Which line(s) of business does my company no longer own naturally?
- Which trends accelerated by COVID-19 could transform my business?
- What are the new efficiencies and business models developed by my company to meet the COVID-19 necessities?
- How can my organization benefit from the advantages of those new efficiencies and business models in the next normal?
- How has my organization’s health changed, and what elements and capability building will be required to maximize the impact of the COVID-exit?
While you are trying to balance portfolio and performance moves, you will also need to consider the sequencing. Portfolio and performance initiatives must go hand-in-hand. You must consider each move by defining the magnitude, timing, and risk of impact.
According to McKinsey & Co., stand-alone portfolio moves capture less than half of value creation, especially in areas such as deal premiums, performance upside, or growing new business. However, if your strategy is ill-conceived, even stand-alone performance moves can take time and maybe outweighed by acquiring the wrong business lines.
Two cases of “all-in transformation”
While you must consider both portfolio moves and performance improvements, which of these should you execute first? The answer depends on the organization and context.
How and when you implement your transformation elements must be guided by your organization’s various circumstances and potential at any given time.
We’re listing two cases of “all-in transformation” here. Both the examples highlight the significance of sequenced transformation in unlocking business value. In both cases, the organizations identified the required potentials, set high aspirations, and deliberately sequenced the portfolio and performance moves to achieve the results. However, the companies differed in how they advanced from there.
In the first case, the value creation and its sequencing were as follows:
- The company streamlined its cost structure, focused on resource allocation, and carved out a few of its competing lines after consolidating business units and simplifying the executive team. This reorganization enabled about 10% of total transformation value creation.
- Next, the company improved the effectiveness of its sales force which generated high revenue growth. It also implemented automation and simplifications to reduce overheads and adopted a strategic procurement approach to reduce external expenditure. These operational improvements enabled about 75% of transformation value creation.
- Lastly, the company invested in optimizing firms it had acquired and integrated a similar set of core capabilities.
The second case, though an all-in transformation program, took a separate route.
- After a significant merger, the company re-evaluated its core business portfolio and divested non-core business. This approach enabled the organization to focus on financial flexibility by using the proceeds to buy back stock. Overall, this performance move allowed the company about 75% of value creation.
- By streamlining its operations, focusing on revenue growth and margin improvements, the company’s performance transformation enabled about 25% of value creation.
From these examples, leaders need to understand that they cannot choose between a portfolio-first or performance-first approach while planning their exit strategy. The order is not important, but leaders will have to accept that they are going all in, set high aspirations right from the start, and let the realization of full potential determine what happens. Avoiding an ad hoc approach to value creation may have significant implications over the long-term. Research reveals that organizations that go for the “all-in” transformation approach are more likely to show lasting improvements and are nearly three times more likely to be ahead of their competitors.
After a year of uncertainties, CEOs and business leaders are aware that the COVID-exit path will not be easy. However, if companies adopt an all-in transformation approach, they can expect more dynamism and flexibility during the journey.
At Fingent, we use cutting-edge digital solutions and rapid innovation to help businesses reinvent the future. We’re closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Feel free to get in touch with us to know how we can transform your business digitally.
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What comes under the scope of digital transformation? How does it differ from digitization and digitalization?
Digital Transformation vs. Digitization vs. Digitalization: Decoding the Concepts
The term digital transformation captivates every enterprise leader. Given the hype from software vendors and analysts, it’s hard to find an enterprise technology today that doesn’t self-endorse as a critical component of digital transformation.
While everyone seems to agree that digital transformation involves employing technology to accomplish business goals, there are differences of opinion among companies on what digital transformation is and isn’t. For a few, it means getting into e-commerce or moving into a cloud database. Some consider digital transformation as the adoption of advanced technologies like the Internet of Things or Artificial Intelligence to become more competitive.
With a lot of uncertainty prevailing on digital transformation’s scope and purpose, let’s take a closer look at what digital transformation means and not.
Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation: Don’t confuse them
An excellent example of digitization is the conversion of paper-based forms and documents into electronic spreadsheets. Digitization enables businesses to cut costs to become more efficient. However, that’s the only competitive advantage it offers, either getting better or cheaper. Exactly what Microsoft Office did during its initial days by helping us compose and save documents easily.
With Big Data, Cloud Computing, and DevOps becoming ubiquitous, digitalization advanced businesses’ need to expand their online presence. A field service provider who never relied on software to run her company is now using an FSM suite to manage accounts, send invoices, create and schedule work orders, and generate reports. A digital strategy- such as a website or a mobile app- is inevitable for a business to stay connected with its customers in this digital world.
In addition to cost reduction and differentiation, digitization and digitalization are intended to simplify what a business does without drastic augmentation.
Digital transformation shifts the focus from the engineering mindset to the experience mindset. Peloton bike that offers an immersive cardio experience is a recent example of digital transformation. Peloton’s latest $2300 exercise bike streams customized workout content to its users through the large 22″ touch screen attached to it. Peloton applies user data tracking, engagement, and experience to replicate the studio-grade experience. This appeals to a vast customer base.
When most of the outdoor gyms were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Peloton transformed the indoor exercise experience for their customers with personalized content streamed live as well as on-demand.
“Digital transformation can simply be defined as the application of new and emerging technologies to make fundamental changes to your business model.”
Digital transformation: Three areas of focus
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change,” wrote Charles Darwin in 1809. For businesses, keeping up with the change is no longer an option but a condition. How can business leaders seize the opportunity and lead the change?
1. Build and deliver customer-centric experiences
Digital transformation reimagines and redefines the customer experience. It isn’t easy to find a sector that is not disrupted by technology today.
Dairy farming, one of the most traditional industries that still follows farming practices passed down from generation to generation, is now embracing emerging technology to get smarter.
“Connected cows” – cows wearing pedometers and Fitbit-style necklaces to monitor feeding habits, acid monitors to detect digestive problems, and other cow-monitoring mechanisms to oversee milk production, smooth calving process, and ensure cattle health is an example of digital transformation in a traditional industry. The “connected cows” farming has led to greater crop yields and simplified the management of larger livestock herds.
Doesn’t emerging technology improve the farmer’s experience who first checks out her mobile or PC before heading to the stable in the morning?
2. Make the best of advanced technology
The early IT activities were focused on cutting costs and reducing human efforts by building relatively simple applications. With the growth and complexity of computing platforms and software applications, businesses have been showing the hunger to find the next big thing in technology that can enhance not just what they deliver but how they deliver. The ubiquitous digital assistants such as Apple’s Siri, Google Now, and Amazon’s Alexa can understand and recognize the context and enable businesses to improve customer interactions by not just being responsive but proactive.
Oncologists and pathologists use machine learning to discern patterns in symptoms to detect cancerous tissues or analyze bodily fluids. Mixed reality (MR) technology that breaks the barrier between physical and digital worlds is now getting mature enough to take digital data and place it in our actual environment. Ohio-based Case Western Reserve University uses Microsoft HoloLens devices to study human anatomy where an entire class can view the same life-sized 3D image at once. IoT applications that gather data continuously are programmed to improve the quality and productivity of life, society, and industries.
Robotic Process Automation, Blockchain, Augmented and Virtual realities, Artificial Intelligence- are all emerging technologies that enable digital transformation by enhancing customer experience. With numerous open-source libraries made available by tech providers like AWS, IBM Watson, Google Cloud, and various other vendors, it’s now possible for anyone to experiment and create POCs free of cost. The democratization of technology accelerates digital transformation.
3. Culture, organizational structure, and processes
“Transformation isn’t a plan or program; it’s a chain reaction of experiments,” says Joris Merks-Benjaminsen, Head of Digital Transformation at Google.
Fostering an environment of openness, business leaders can create a culture that allows ideas to flourish. Fluid structures, tools, and workplaces encourage employees to think outside the box and embrace change. Predictive models solely based on past experiences will only have a short-term impact. If you can offer more flexibility in the design and logic of a business case, people are more likely to invest their time, effort, and skills in things that matter for transformation.
Enterprise leaders can make way for transformation by:
- Supporting people focus on the future by establishing a stable long-term vision that includes well-defined challenges for them to work on.
- Implementing tools that facilitate cross-team collaboration and encouraging everyone to connect irrespective of hierarchy or position in the org chart.
- Adopting a “test and learn” approach, including “learning from mistakes” and rewarding experimentation. Small gestures of appreciation like awards and incentives inspire employees to practice acts of innovation.
Passionate leadership that cares about the customer and stimulates forward motion by encouraging entrepreneurship will successfully ride the transformation wave.
What digital transformation means today
Before Netflix, we used to scour shop racks in search of tapes, discs, and DVDs. Today, Netflix has transformed our content consumption experience by leveraging AI-driven content recommendations, live streaming, and endless libraries of digital content served upon our personal devices, topped with personalized suggestions, reviews, and attractive subscription options.
Digital transformation is not about how your business can sell more products to more people. It’s about making your customers spend more than they would otherwise. Rather than repositioning your brand as a seller of your products, you should aim at transforming to be a solution provider that helps solve your buyers’ woes and enhance their experience. If the first wave of transformation brought businesses online, the current wave of transformation requires businesses to innovate their selling process and offer new services and products that can solidify customer loyalty.
Need help with your digital transformation goals?
Fingent is setting up practices to actively leverage third-party developer innovation to reduce the time-to-market for our customers and us. One of our products, InfinCE, is empowering small businesses to achieve digital agility without the need to own infrastructure or an IT practice. ReachOut, another product, has digitized several field service businesses through automation of manual operations, digital inspection forms and checklists, and intelligent scheduling.
Fingent’s team is highly experienced in helping businesses solve their digital transformation challenges. We have partnered with businesses worldwide in their digital transformation projects. We can help you define your vision and create robust digital transformation plans that enable your business to transform and grow. To take advantage and get the ball rolling, please get in touch with Fingent.
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The impact and significance of digital transformation in financial services
Changing customer expectations, increasing regulatory complexity, stiff competition, and other factors are constantly pushing businesses for renovation and innovation. Also, the rising number of FinTech companies and solutions over the last few years have completely transformed the financial services landscape. Rather than just technology, digital transformation in financial services has now become an integral part of a successful business strategy. Digital transformation in the financial industry has improved employee and customer experience by helping meet regulatory deadlines and ensure cost-effective operations while remaining highly competitive.
If you consider how banking has transformed over the years, you will understand how digital transformation in banking and financial services has grown to benefit everyone with convenience. From simple branch offices to ATM and mobile apps, digital transformation has offered greater convenience, choice, and experience. Today, customers are gravitating more towards digital experiences and products.
What is the importance of digital transformation in the financial industry?
According to a recent report by Global Economic Prospects, the global economy will contract by over 5% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, the crisis has accelerated economic transformation, leading to an increase in the adoption of digital financial services.
Although the digital transformation was a development priority even before the COVID-19 crisis, it has now become indispensable for both short-term as well as long-term sustainable recovery efforts.
Here are four fundamental shifts that are forcing financial institutions to accelerate the rate of digital adoption.
1. Forced adoption of online and mobile channels
Social distancing and lockdowns are forcing people to stay indoors or go outdoors only to buy essential items. This has forced the rapid adoption of digital technology across the globe.
Deloitte reports that the United States, which has traditionally lagged in digital adoption is experiencing an all-time high in the number of check deposits and mobile logins. Interestingly, the major contributors to this growth are baby boomers and senior citizens who have been typically slower to adopt the digital channels.
For example, Goldman Sachs reported a 25% increase in the number of active users on the bank’s institutional platform. Also, the country has seen a spike in call center interactions as customers seek protection from the financial crisis caused by the pandemic.
2. Digital and contactless payments
The lockdown has witnessed a race among retailers to set up e-commerce capabilities to capture sales. With consumers shifting to online purchasing, there has been an acceleration towards digital and contact payments.
While MasterCard reported over 40% growth in contactless payment across the globe, Visa reported a staggering 150% increase in the U.S alone. Hygienic payment modes such as digital wallets, scanning QR codes, click/tap-to-pay, etc. have taken off well to encourage contactless payments during the pandemic.
3. Virtualization of the workforce and ways of working
Previously, financial institutions hardly imagined their workforce working remotely. But, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced financial services companies to build a remote work model.
Wells Fargo and Bank of America have pushed almost 70% of their employees to work from home and have established contingency locations for those employees who are into trading and operations. Standard Chartered Bank has kept most of its employees working from home, increasing its VPN system capacity to 600% to keep pace.
Bandwidth issues aside, this transition has been largely successful due to digital disruption in financial services. Most financial companies have even committed to making the remote working model permanent.
4. Evolution of economies and underlying market structure
Even though financial companies have been enjoying stability for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled margin pressures for companies.
On one hand, insurers are fighting lowered premiums and high claim costs due to the market scenario, while on the other hand, banks are affected by reduced interest rates. Though it is difficult to predict the duration of the economic downturn, it is forcing financial services companies to operate effectively and efficiently to remain competitive in the market.
Moreover, as the market dynamics continue to evolve, “big tech” is likely to reinforce its foray into financial services leveraging its scale, size, and expanding its role in the consumers’ day-to-day activities. Also, smaller FinTechs could be at risk with their funding models. All these evolutions will have a substantial impact on buying, building, and partnering decisions for many incumbents as well as start-up financial companies.
Top 6 digital transformation trends in the financial industry
1. Mobile banking
The digital banking environment allows customers to transfer funds, deposit checks, and apply for loans easily from their mobile devices. Today customers prefer to do online banking at their convenience instead of visiting the brick-and-mortar banks. More and more customers prefer to use mobile banking as it allows 24/7 access, almost negligible waiting time, and ease of use. Mobile banking has changed the functioning of banking and financial institutions to a great extent and is expected to grow further in the coming years.
Blockchain is gaining momentum steadily and will play a crucial role in digital payments, loan processing, escrow facilities, etc. Additionally, Blockchain will be used in RegTech (a new technology that uses information technology to streamline regulatory processes) to avoid unnecessary regulation breaches.
3. Big data
Big data is everything. Financial institutions including banks are using machine learning to process data and drive analytical solutions effectively. Big data helps banks and other financial institutions to serve their customers efficiently by tailoring their services based on the insights gathered. Eventually, this can help financial institutions to bring in more investment and create a great work environment for both employees as well as customers.
4. Mobile apps
While everything in banking and other financial services is going mobile, there are third-party financial service providers who are competing with the banks. They could be financial managers, unconventional leaders, or financial budgeting mobile apps. Banks will have to consider ways to integrate these third-party services- what information to provide, the companies they want to partner with, and which services they are likely to offer to their customers directly without the need of the middle-man.
5. Automated Wealth Managers
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is disrupting several industries with automation and numerous other possibilities. Wealth bots or automated wealth managers use complex algorithms to calculate the best investment opportunities, best loan providing institutions, best interest rate, etc. Automated wealth managers have made financial planning a breeze and are also helping people achieve their business objectives accurately and with great returns.
6. FinTech (Financial Technology)
FinTech is a modern technology adopted by banks and financial companies to deliver financial services efficiently. It has improved drastically since its ATM and credit card days to the latest digital banks and blockchain technology.
FinTech along with automated technology and machine learning algorithms are revolutionizing the world of finance. Digital technologies such as customer service chatbots, expenditure tracking, and online budgeting tools are some examples of how far financial services have come today.
How Fingent can help you?
As your digital solutions partner, we will help you navigate industry disruption and equip you for future challenges. We apply our extensive experience and deep industry knowledge in fintech to guide you to see digital transformation through fruition. Here, we ensure to maximize value with minimal disruption to your existing infrastructure to help achieve your goals. Get in touch with us to learn more.
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Why Does the Retail Industry Need to Embrace Digital Transformation?
The term digital transformation in the retail industry means disruption, new services, and improved functioning of the existing system using technology.
As the customer journey is evolving, retailers have to adapt and evolve as well. Also, with the shift towards personalized shopping, retailers have to go beyond focusing on a single technology in order to create new and innovative business models.
Location-based services, mobile apps, and big data analytics have brought about a significant change in the retail industry. This post details the significance of Digital Transformation in Retail.
What does digital transformation mean for retail?
Retailers will have to look beyond marginal enhancements and redefine processes to create a connected engagement using technology. Digital transformation is not only about agility, innovation, data intelligence, customer centricity, and new value propositions but also about streamlining processes, reducing costs, and improving productivity across the transactional cycle.
Now, more than ever before, retailers have to rethink every aspect of their business. Right from sourcing, pricing, inventory planning, employee training to customer experience management, retailers have to find new ways to drive revenues and create innovative business models.
McKinsey states that COVID-19 has accelerated the adoption of digital technologies in the retail industry. According to their report, e-commerce penetration in the United States which was supposed to reach 24% by 2024 has rapidly grown from 17% to 33% in just two months since the lockdown.
“Contactless retail that leverages digital transformation technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and Virtual Reality (VR) increases customers’ confidence to shop during the COVID-19 pandemic”, says GlobalData. With changes in consumer behavior and consumption patterns, retail digital transformation trends are only likely to continue in the future.
Simply put, digital transformation in retail can improve customer retention and satisfaction by offering products and services according to their needs.
What are the benefits of digital transformation in the retail industry?
While digital transformation is not an easy one, a well-thought strategy can bring in the desired results. Also, it comes with several advantages such as:
1. Improved operations
Using cloud technologies helps improve operations within the company and enable the retail staff to respond to customers quickly which eventually improves client support. Availability of real-time data helps predict demands ahead of time and stock goods in advance.
AI tools are helping customers to shop without a cashier and enabling retailers to sell their products in physical stores as well as websites and mobile apps. Thus, AI-powered automation of retail processes such as locating items, tracking inventory and replenishing stocks, remembering customer preferences, etc. will enhance the customer experience.
Read more: AI To Solve Today’s Retail Profit Problems
3. Better communication
Retailers can form a better connection and improve their communication with their customers via social media, mobile apps, websites, chatbots, etc.
4. Enhanced customer experience
Digital transformation influences customer experiences and makes them better. Technical tools help increase the productivity of the employees and make services more efficient. This helps customers get not just high-quality services but also ensures a pleasant buying journey. While digital transformation is customer-centered, it also helps your business become better and stay ahead of the competition.
5. Boost revenue
Digital transformation offers retailers a chance to reach a wider target audience and thus increase their channels of income.
Why is the retail digital transformation more relevant now?
While the shift towards e-commerce is not new, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated it. In the United States alone, approximately $600 billion represented online sales that accounted for 56% of overall retail growth in 2019.
Here are some more reasons why businesses have to mandate digital transformation and tweak their customer journey to respond effectively.
1. Life post-COVID will see a surge in online shopping
With increased emphasis on social distancing and personal safety, there will be several changes in consumer demands, saving patterns, spending style, and buying channels. Business leaders must plan their digital transformation and make profits in the post-COVID era. Business recovery and sustenance will depend on digital channels during the social distancing phase. Businesses should consider establishing digital channels and improving presence, invest in data, and improve models for customer demands. Additionally, business leaders can integrate pandemic outbreak models with supply chain demands and empower employees to work from home efficiently.
2. Transparency in supply chain
The pandemic has affected the supply networks across the globe and has caused many retailers to be unable to meet consumer demand for their products. So, retailers will have to be more transparent about their inventory and plan their online and offline customer experience.
3. Retailers with a digital presence will be more successful
Given the current pandemic situation, most people are indoors and spending only on essential items. So, retailers having a digital presence are already ahead of the competition. Such retailers are taking advantage of the pandemic situation and capturing the market share through innovation and customer acquisition. Businesses need to continue with their digital transformation program instead of closing their business and filing for bankruptcy.
4. Customers are rooting for their favorite brand
Most people are affected by social distancing, maintaining personal hygiene, queuing up for entry in stores, and other restrictions. So, customers are rooting for their favorite brands and expecting them to provide better services while taking safety measures. This increases the demand for digital transformation of retail more than ever.
Top 3 retail digital transformation trends to embrace
Retail digital transformation has already started and many companies have benefited from it. However, digital transformation is not a short-term process as technologies keep evolving and retailers will have to keep track of the latest trends. We have shared some of the latest trends to watch out for.
1. Augmented Reality (AR)
AR technologies and tools are helping customers to try and view things from the comfort of their homes. For instance, Toyota’s Augmented Reality shopping experience allows you to try 10 different cars before selecting the right one.
Another great example is IKEA. They let their customers choose furniture using their app. Customers just have to point the camera to the right place at home and the app will suggest options that suit your decor.
2. Mobile applications
Mobile apps help you connect with customers in a better way. It allows customers to check on the products, read reviews, etc. Additionally, customers can contact the support team in case of any issues.
Mobile apps are also good for further development as they allow you to add new features and enhance the services you provide.
3. Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual Reality technology has immense potential to develop and grow in the retail industry. VR can enhance customer experience and take it to the next level as it will allow customers to check homes, cars, etc., without even stepping inside. The retail giant Walmart employs VR headsets in over 4,500 of its stores for managing grand shopping events like Black Friday. VR training has boosted the confidence and productivity of Walmart’s associates and has increased their rate of retention.
It can be said that simply having a retail store will not help you anymore. You must integrate digital transformation from your physical store to your online store and social media accounts.
Instead of spending days researching your options, we can help you save your time and money. Let us know about your retail business needs and we’ll come up with the best digital transformation strategies suited for you. Contact us today.
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Digital business transformation: Why Digital Strategy for Business is a Must Today?
- What is digital transformation?
- What is digital disruption?
- Causes of disruption and digital transformation
- Why should businesses leverage digital transformation?
- How to start your digital transformation journey?
- Digital transformation trends to embrace in 2020
What is digital transformation?
Digital transformation is the process of integrating digital technologies to create a new business model or modify existing business processes to meet changing business requirements. Digital business transformation is also a cultural change that enables an organization to challenge the status quo, experiment, and accept failure as well.
While digital transformation may involve many technologies, the hottest topics currently are cloud computing, big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many companies have already started to transform digitally and by 2023, it is estimated that such organizations will contribute to more than half of global GDP.
According to research published by IDC, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the global spending on digital transformation technologies and services is slated to grow from 10.4% in 2020 to $1.3 trillion. In fact, the pandemic has compelled businesses to increase operational efficiency and improve customer experience. Both of these aspects are not just major goals of the digital transformation of business but also deciding factors that influence a company’s fate during an economic slowdown.
In general, digital transformation is not just about disruption or technology and not even about transforming for a digital age. In this guide, we help you understand the essence of digital transformation for business and why you should implement it.
Read more: A Road Map To Digital Transformation in 2020
What is digital disruption?
In simple terms, digital disruption is nothing but transformation due to emerging digital technologies and business models. This can cause a significant change in customer behavior and market context, requiring the need for re-evaluation.
Consider these examples of digital disruption:
- The film photography and photo processing industry underwent digital disruption with the arrival of digital cameras.
- The traditional services like taxis and food delivery were disrupted by Uber that pioneered on-demand services.
- Companies like Netflix and Amazon caused disruption to the subscription-based economy model by transforming how content is accessed by people and monetized by advertisers.
Both digital disruption and digital transformation present immense opportunities for businesses to gain a competitive advantage.
Causes of disruption and digital transformation
1. Technological innovations
Digital business transformation is more impactful than ever before. Again, it is important to remember that neither does technology drive disruption nor does it cause transformation. It depends on how digital technology in business is used and adopted by partners, customers, competitors, and stakeholders. These technologies primarily include Artificial Intelligence, IoT, virtual and augmented reality, edge computing, and blockchain.
2. Customer behavior
The demand for customers’ convenience and simplicity in dealing with businesses is not a new concept. It existed even before the internet era. It will not be wrong to add that transformation is simply catching up. Customer behavior and needs are also affected by disruptions at the societal level.
3. Innovations and inventions
Be it science, technology, business or even non-technological context, innovations and inventions can be disruptive. For instance, the invention of the locomotive and the printing press led to drastic changes in our society in the past centuries. Today, we’re experiencing the biggest transformation in every sphere of life with the invention of smartphones, social media, software applications, and so on.
Organizations are part of business as well as natural ecosystems. So, any economical changes, evolutions towards collaborations, regulatory changes, and even a pandemic can impact and drive the need for digital transformation. Most of the organizations that were either postponing or canceling their plans to switch to cloud-based infrastructure have now started migrating their legacy systems to cloud increasingly since the COVID-19 onslaught.
Why should businesses leverage digital transformation?
Businesses must focus on digital transformation to steer themselves towards growth, stay ahead of the competition, and make themselves ready for the future.
Undergoing digital transformation helps your business gain the following advantages:
1. On-demand services
Never have we seen these many businesses demanding more agile hybrid IT services and agile networking capabilities to provide a better user experience. This is not limited to just the usability of applications for employees or customers, it includes the experience of working with the IT team and tools as well.
2. Improves productivity
Digital technology enables employees to become more effective in their primary roles.
Digital transformation helps core business functions such as HR and finance to automate crucial areas such as payroll, enabling leaders to focus on more productive opportunities.
It also enables remote working and provides access to technology and services on demand, which is important to create an environment that helps employees to be efficient.
Data security is one of the biggest concerns of many IT leaders. While this is a highly complicated task requiring stringent enforcement around access, data compliance, and protection from attacks, it is useless if network forces have to go elsewhere for faster speeds and flexibility.
So, businesses must surround themselves with technology partners as well as cybersecurity experts that understand the business objective and can operate honestly and transparently to achieve those objectives.
4. Strengthen business partnerships
Demands of customers are changing more than ever before and so is the competition within industries. Most companies are relying on each other, working with suppliers and distributors, contractors, and specialized consultants to produce a myriad range of products and services to attract customers.
Though these partners can be managed via document-based communication, it is an exhausting obstacle to efficiency. However, technology can be used to streamline and redesign the process and make it more transparent, accurate, and timely.
With the digital process set at an early stage, businesses can stay ahead of the competition and make themselves available to future partners. Internal processes can be streamlined and over time, digital transformation for small businesses can produce tools to generate time and resource gains that will help strengthen business partnerships.
5. Informed decision making
Most organizations have access to greater volumes of data today. This data can be converted to valuable business insights and used to make more informed and faster decisions.
The famous American food brand McCormick & Company’s “FlavorPrint” is a smart platform that allows consumers to discover personalized recipes and receive product recommendations. This use case shows how digital transformation helps McCormick to make informed decisions driven by data. Through personalization and added insights, the FlavorPrint program helps meet consumer needs with an enhanced and relevant food experience.
Leveraging AI-based technologies, analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) can support leaders in their endeavors to make quicker and better decisions resulting in progression.
How to start your digital transformation journey?
A few steps to set off your digital transformation journey:
1. Determine what digital transformation means to your business
First, identify all the challenges your business is facing and then figure out the likely digital solutions that will help you achieve your business goals.
2. Define a digital strategy for your business
Once you have identified the challenges your business faces, the next step is to evaluate the various digital transformation solutions that you can consider for your case. For instance, it could be front-end transformation such as products and customer experiences, or back-end transformation such as cloud and IT.
3. Give importance to executive buy-in
Make sure to obtain executive buy-in within your company after you have defined a digital strategy for your business. Executive buy-in is one of the most reliable signs of your company’s commitment to digital transformation.
4. Identify partners for your digital transformation journey
Partners or stakeholders are critical to your digital transformation success. A reliable and strong partner can support your journey by:
- Delivering capabilities to help you transform
- Offering consulting services to help integrate digital technology
- Assisting you to navigate the digital transformation landscape
- Sharing successful approaches and practices
5. Communicate your plan to your employees
To gain the trust of your employees and obtain intrinsic buy-in, you must ensure to communicate the value of digital transformation to your employees. Make sure to provide your employees with a clear structure and plan, and train them adequately to prepare them for the digital transformation.
6. Execute your digital transformation
Start executing your digital transformation plan at all levels of your organization, that is, from the top-level leadership to your employees. It is important to remain committed throughout the journey to ensure successful digital transformation. Setting your sights on the end vision and working towards the future business success and growth will help you deliver a more unified experience to your customers as well.
Digital transformation trends to embrace in 2020
IT leaders should be prepared for DX-centric shifts in the IT service provider sector. They should get ready to embrace Artificial Intelligence and insight-driven innovation and explore the benefits of public cloud adoption. Here are a few trends that digital transformation companies must consider:
1. Digital operating models
CIOs need to adapt and include integrated cross-functional teams to lead the culture change within the organizations and create the digital backbone having the capacity to power the transformation.
2. Big data
The increasing volume, variety, and velocity of data can be overwhelming. Storing massive amounts of data is also a challenge. While cheap storage makes data collection easier, it is not recommended. Also, new regulations such as GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) demand more careful data management. So, proper planning and management of data streams is a must as it can result in significant data privacy and compliance risk.
3. Leverage AI
Artificial Intelligence will have to take center-stage and deliver business outcomes with digital transformation. From sales, marketing to HR and Finance, AI will permeate all functions.
IT leaders should consider leveraging advanced machine-learning algorithms by incorporating them into their outcome-driven data analytics strategy. This will help them churn the data extensively and garner valuable insights. Both AI and machine learning can be leveraged to automate and mitigate the data governance problem.
4. Merger and Acquisition
The IT outsourcing industry has increased the merger and acquisition activity as traditional IT service providers are acquiring digital marketing and engineering companies to offer new services to their clients.
Experts believe that acquisitions will transform the landscape for CIOs and the service providers they collaborate with. It will also be a source of disruption for CIOs as they will have to identify the potential and integrate digital capabilities into their product lines.
5. New allies
The digital transformation era will see vendors teaming up on marketing and improving branded spaces within their design studios and innovation hubs. According to some analysts at Technology Business Research Inc, some consultancies may even have to become ‘frenemies’ and create partnerships where each party uses its strength and provides depth in the domain to deliver expertise.
A digitally transformed workplace can revolutionize any business. So, it is crucial to adopt digital technologies and experiment using social media, big data analytics, cloud computing, and mobility. You may hire digital transformation services companies for your digital business transformation.
At Fingent, we provide digital technology solutions and services for complex business problems across many industries such as retail, healthcare, finance, education, and more. Our comprehensive apps, platforms, analytics, and solutions expertise have helped us assist companies in their digital transformation journey. Connect with us to learn more.
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The Growing Application of AI in Insurance Leads to a Radical Transformation
- Why does the insurance industry require AI now?
- What are the benefits of AI in the insurance industry?
- Top 3 primary use cases for AI in the insurance industry
- Must-have AI technologies for the insurance industry
- Are you ready to ride on the wave of AI?
Digital transformation is not a business decision, it is a survival strategy. The Insurance industry is slowly recognizing that this vital truth is applicable to them as well. As insurers face several strategic and operational challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are recognizing that technology is the only answer and solution. Armed with this knowledge, the insurance industry is undergoing a swift and tremendous transformation, driven by the burning need to improve customer experience.
Artificial Intelligence lies at the heart of these changes and is fundamental to success. AI tries to solve the age-old problems by integrating them with existing infrastructure or by replacing legacy systems. This article answers some of the pertinent questions that will assist industry leaders in making an informed decision.
Why does the insurance industry require AI now?
Unlike many other challenges that are usually contained to one geographic location, COVID-19 is impacting essentially every corner of the world. It gave the entire planet a crash course in connected living and has made massive changes. Small insurance companies are now struggling to survive the onslaught of new requests and most larger firms may need to downsize to make it through these stressful economic times. In this climate of uncertainty, AI will be one of the key factors that will help winners survive. Until recent times, the insurance industry has only used AI in minimal ways. But there are several processes that could be improved drastically using AI.
1. Marketing and sales:
AI technologies can be used to price insurance policies more relevantly and competitively. It can be used to recommend the most beneficial products to their customers. Insurers can customize the price of their products based on individual needs and lifestyles so that their customers are happy to pay only for the coverage they need. This heightens the appeal of insurance to a wider audience while attracting some newer customers.
2. Risk management:
Neural networks of AI can be used to red flag fraud patterns and minimize fraudulent claims. AI can also be used to improve actuarial models and risks that could lead to working out more profitable products.
Chatbots can be developed to understand and answer the bulk of customer queries over chat, phone calls, and email. This is especially helpful during situations like the pandemic where customers and insurers are unable to meet with each other. This can free up significant resources and time for the insurers that can be used in more profitable activities.
Read our white paper: How can your business use AI to achieve higher profits now?
What are the benefits of AI in the insurance industry?
1. Efficient process:
Currently, we are witnessing the first wave of tangible opportunities. The automation provided by AI is offering insurers reduced costing along with more efficient processes. The work dividends form the first wave of benefits. Monotonous, low-level, hazardous, and long-drawn-out tasks are taken over by machines freeing humans to do the high-level and more productive tasks. It also ensures efficiency without the margin of human error.
2. Accurately measured and priced data:
The role of underwriters is changing as AI is set to re-engineer and amplify insurance underwriting. Powered by the disruptive growth of data, AI has the potential to help underwriters analyze vast amounts of information, locate red flags, and help them make more accurate decisions. While we are not expecting to eliminate human underwriters, working alongside AI systems will ensure that all risks are accurately measured and priced.
3. Claims processing made easy:
Claims processing has long been a pain-point for the insurance industry. Managing claims requires a significant manual effort right from document processing to flagging potential fraud. Restricted movement during the COID-19 pandemic makes this task especially difficult. AI can be used to automate document processing. It can scan complex forms quickly and accurately. The insurance company can cut its claims processing time from weeks to just a matter of minutes. AI can help ensure that rejection of any claim is based on solid reasons. This way, insurance companies can drive cost efficiencies by reducing the number of denials that prevent claimants from going for appeals which insurance companies may ultimately have to settle.
Top 3 primary use cases for AI in the insurance industry
The advent of AI represents a quantum leap in how insurance is bought and sold, and how customers are served. Also, it is creating opportunities for insurance companies to affix their leadership positions within the industry.
Here are five primary use cases. If beginners can use this approach to disrupt the old guard, established firms can stave off new competitors and differentiate themselves from conventional foes.
Use Case 1: Always-on customer service
Insurance companies are expected to meet the customer’s expectations themselves. Gone are the days when we companies used to delegate customer service to brokers or agents. Customers expect to reach their insurance providers through any channel-like website, email, mobile app, voice call, chat, social media, etc. It’s become mandatory for insurance providers to possess multi-channel capabilities to handle queries and attend service requests. This is where AI comes to the rescue enabling insurance firms to be on the job 24/7. Always-on, multi-channel service available through chatbots, and customized interactive tools will be your secret sauce to exemplary customer service.
Use Case 2: Automate processes that are difficult to automate
Insurance companies employ a large workforce to manually perform operational processes. Variations in products, state-specific rules, and lack of adoptions of standards across the value chain previously made it harder to automate the process. With AI, it is now possible to predict and continuously improve the process by leveraging ML thus automating the processes effectively. By combining RPA tools with cognitive technologies, insurance companies can automate processes such as customer service requests, endorsements, and claims-processing, and provide a faster turn-around time.
Use Case 3: Continually improve the value from data
Predictive models help insurance companies determine business-critical aspects such as the maximum possible loss, probability, and pricing. However, as the companies innovate products, reach out to newer customer segments, and address new risks, these predictive models quickly get outdated making it difficult to keep up with changes. AI makes it possible to provide a feedback loop for machines to learn and adapt to ever-changing insurance business needs.
Must-have AI technologies for the insurance industry
AI has become the cornerstone of digital transformation for the insurance industry. Leveraging AI technologies can help insurance companies address various issues that they may encounter. These are some must-have AI technologies in the insurance industry:
1. Image analytics
Insurance companies must carry out inspections to validate their decisions based on actual facts. This helps them spot any existing or potential risks and support their customers in risk management. This can be very time-consuming. The use of AI focuses on the reduction of inspection time and increases the surveyor’s productivity. It can be applied in property and casualty insurance to analyze the images of cars at the accident scene, determine the parameters, and assess replacement costs.
Advanced image analytics enables quick analysis of photos to determine parameters crucial from the perspective of life insurance. These parameters enable insurers to decide whether medical underwriting is required or not and provide an instant quote and formulate policies.
2. Internet of Things
IoT allows insurance companies to cross-sell to existing customers. They could offer discounted insurance to existing customers. There are several IoT backed devices that can detect and alert a customer when there is an issue within their home or commercial property. Integrating IoT with AI, insurance companies can offer a far superior service and enhance the customer experience.
3. Machine Learning in underwriting
The automated process eliminates the tedious and error-prone job of dealing with unstructured documents and extracts information from them to make business decisions. AI, ML, and Deep Learning can help in extracting such information, aligning it to common vocabulary, and making that information accessible through virtual assistants or search engines. This way underwriting now becomes an automated process that lasts just a few seconds.
4. End to end automation
AI helps insurers automate complex processes, end to end. Using RPA, you can tackle simpler and repeatable tasks. For example, the claims assessment process can be automated to enable the assessor to receive evidence through more advanced AI-based techniques.
Insurance companies receive data from brokers in a variety of formats and require many people to convert the data to a standard format. AI can map this data accurately allowing insurers to reduce inefficiencies in their processes. It can also improve data quality by detecting gaps and addressing those gaps in the incoming data.
5. Machine Learning for price sophistication
Price optimization techniques with the help of ML and GLMs help insurance companies to understand their customers, allows them to balance capacity with demand, and drive better conversion rates.
6. Connected claims processing
Advanced algorithms can help insurance claims to be automated which allows insurers to attain high levels of accuracy and efficiency. Data-capture technologies can replace manual methods. Evaluation of the validity of a claim is also made much simpler.
Are you ready to ride on the wave of AI?
Rapid advances in AI will lead to disruptive changes in the insurance industry. The winners in AI-based insurance will be those who harness the power of new technologies. Most importantly those companies who do not view disruptive technologies as a threat to their current business will thrive in the insurance industry. Get started on making sure you are one of them! Contact us to adopt the power of AI into your insurance business.
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Top Digital Alternatives to Go Paperless and Survive the Recession!
- Document Management Software
- Electronic Invoicing System
- Digital Signature
- Remote Work Collaboration Software
- Virtual Hiring and On-boarding
- Workflow Automation
- Mobile Payments
- Choosing the Best Way to Implement Paperless Initiatives
Running a manual, paper-based organization in the digital age is inefficient and costly. It escalates the total cost of operations and carries a higher risk of errors. Paperless solutions offer process automation that saves valuable time by streamlining operations, releasing useful resources, and improving business efficiency.
A paperless structure can help businesses keep their data more safe and secure. Digital alternatives like a Document Management System store and search your digital documents quickly and securely. Workflow automation helps improve the efficiency of document processing through automatic document routing. Digital signature policies help you significantly increase your document turnaround time. You can store, edit, and manage digital documents from anywhere in the world.
Digital Transformation is leading the way to a paperless future. If you want to empower your business with digital alternatives, you have to adopt the right digital transformation solutions. At Fingent, we provide digital transformation services to businesses around the globe. Simply enhance your business operations productivity by going paperless. It’s the right time to embrace digital alternatives to stay productive and competitive.
In this blog, we discuss at length, the various paperless initiatives that can make your business recession-proof and other benefits of going paperless.
Document Management Software
The pandemic has brought about lasting changes in customer and business behavior. While weathering the storms of recession, you need to have a robust document management software.
A document management system surpasses a digitized record room. A contemporary document management system will help you find records and documents in a few clicks that would have otherwise taken days to dig out. You can also access documents and records in their business context. All changes are carefully logged. Versioning ensures that a new document version is automatically created and stored. That way no one accidentally overwrites content. When one team member works on a document, she can leave comments for her colleagues making teamwork much smoother.
Post-its, slips of paper, and verbal agreements are things of the past. Document management software supports your daily work. All processing steps of your documents like invoices, purchase orders, etc. are seamlessly recorded, making them audit-proof and compliant with regulations. It’s high time that you bid adieu to those dusty file cabinets in your office.
Read more: Features of a Document Management System
Electronic Invoicing System
Electronic documentation is the need of the hour. A typical paper invoicing process involves multiple steps. Assembling data from spreadsheets or ERP systems to delivering the invoice to your customer and getting paid eventually takes a long time. You can get rid of most of these steps with e-invoicing services, as it connects your billing and the recipient’s invoice processing system.
Rather than connecting to the receiver’s web-based servers for sending the invoice, you can use service providers that are connected. This allows both you and the receiver to use your preferred service providers and send your invoices to any recipient without any additional hassle. Thus, the e-invoice travels from your computer to the receiver’s invoice processing system through servers instantly. The recipient can pay the amount with the click of a button, without having to resort to any paperwork. This saves you both manual work, lowers invoicing costs, and speeds up your cash flow.
Once you improve your business processes and adopt digital alternatives like document management systems and e-invoicing, you’ll need to ensure that the documents you send or receive are authentic and have not been tampered with. This is where digital signatures come in handy.
A digital signature is an advanced and secure type of signature that authenticates all electronic documents like spreadsheets, emails, pdf files, and text files. A digital signature is unique to every signer. It uses a mathematical algorithm that creates a digital fingerprint to electronically sign the document, thus validating the signer. You can purchase a digital signature from a trusted certificate authority only after submitting your ID documents. So, a person receiving a digitally signed document can easily find out who has signed it.
The digital signature and the document are encrypted and secured with a seal that makes tampering conspicuous. The recipient cannot open the document unless he receives the public key from the owner. These features make digital signature ideal for e-commerce, software distribution, and other businesses that are prone to document tampering.
Digital signatures reduce the steps involved in signing a document and help replace the traditional paper-based approval process with a faster and cheaper digital process. You not only move towards a paperless office but also reduce costs involving printing, shipping, delivery, filing, archiving, and so on. Digital signatures help improve workflow efficiency as document tracking and organizing become much easier.
Read more: Going paperless – Machine Learning To Accelerate Paperless Offices
Remote Work Collaboration Software
Today, working remotely is no longer an office perk but a new normal. With businesses grappling with an economic downturn and ongoing lockdown restrictions, remote work can help reduce expenses and keep up the morale of your team.
While adhering to the rules of social distancing, you may have to allocate some or all of our staff to remote work. This situation has further highlighted the need for remote work collaboration software. These solutions help you to automate business processes and save costs in paper, office space. However, without the right set of remote work collaboration tools and communication platforms, a company would be dealing with a staff that is adrift.
Today you have a wide variety of tools that keep an office running even while on-the-go. Mobile app versions of these tools enable collaboration anywhere and everywhere.
1. Video Conferencing
Web conferencing tools have gained prominence around the world as face-to-face communications keep everyone in the loop and foster better visualizations of new projects and ideas. A short video call can solve issues that would have taken endless emails or phone calls to sort out. Video conferencing software like InfinCE, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Remo Conference, and MeetFox provide solid video quality and inbuilt interfaces that facilitate video calling and screen sharing.
2. CRM Software
When you have a teleworking team that handles clients all over the world, you need a CRM software to reduce the gap. The right CRM will help your team to connect as though they were sitting next to each other in an office even when they are actually in different countries. A CRM software gives you a 360-degree view of your customers in a single page. When all your customer data is aggregated, you gain a better understanding of customer behavior helping you make informed decisions. Today, most CRM software have built-in analytics tools that help your sales team analyze their performance while on the go, thus enabling them to better focus on their targets. Odoo, Microsoft Dynamics, Zoho, Salesforce, Hubspot, etc. are some of the best CRM software available out there.
3. Team collaboration tools
A common problem that managers face with remote teams is not knowing what their team members are working on. This can be easily sorted with online team collaboration tools. These tools help streamline your team’s communication by providing a consistent and common digital space for your team to collaborate. They can share project updates, files, and comments within the company to create an efficient and cataloged communication channel. Integrated features such as instant messaging, video conferencing, and task management make workplace collaboration effortless.
4. File Management
An efficient file management tool is unavoidable for organizations aiming to go paperless. A scalable document management system is essential to automate and streamline workflows. Besides storing and sharing documents, a file management system with features that help secure data, track changes, maintain audit trails, and map workflows can improve the performance of your organization. Since document handling is key to many business processes, your document management system needs to integrate with other business apps. So, before making the choice, you should find out what pre-built integrations or APIs the file management system has to offer.
Virtual Hiring and On-boarding
Traditionally, hiring and onboarding have been manual processes. Automating these processes can promote employee engagement and retention. This, in turn, brings in business value by reducing HR man-hours through employee retention and cost savings. A comprehensive and recession-proof onboarding process requires digitization, automation, and personalization. These three steps bring various business processes together, streamline them, and create a seamless onboarding experience for your new hires. This further reduces the cost of hiring and time-to-hire.
Collecting digital feedback and reviewing video interviews help in tackling prejudices if any. Virtual recruitment drives can centralize the entire process by involving many interviewers from within the organization. This instills consistency in managing candidate RSVP, sending reminders, and establishing prompt communication channels.
Though switching to the process of virtual hiring and onboarding is challenging, the right tools and training can ensure successful execution. Organizations must refine their recruitment and onboarding processes by employing remote tools, recording the processes accurately, and training their staff on best practices. While the lack of face-to-face interaction with candidates may bother your team, appropriate training and adaptation will help you improve efficiency.
Read more: Digitalization of Business – Why Digitalization is Inevitable for Businesses
This technology is used to replace paper-based and manual processes with a single platform that combines business processes thus eliminating errors. Workflow automation helps to transform legacy processes that require a lot of paperwork into digitally automated tasks. Most organizations grapple with digital transformation since communications via whiteboards, post-its, and spreadsheets control their task management. These tools hinder smooth collaboration and visibility as they rely on human intervention. Workflow automation reduces this reliance on human intervention by ensuring communication within the platform and maintaining a record of all relevant data. Later, anyone with permission can access this information easily.
Workflow automation software can help you automate almost all processes from IT, Sales, HR, Marketing, Finance, and so on. Once you bring all your applications under a common platform, with a workflow automation software, you can do away with the monotonous work of transferring data between these applications.
Workflow automation gives you a competitive advantage by helping you deliver better quality services at a lower cost and speedy decision making. The benefits of workflow automation include better accountability and communication within the organization, reduced costs and errors, improved employee engagement, improved business processes, and better efficiency.
Read more: How Automation Helps Business – How Automation Ensures Businesses Stay Afloat During COVID-19 Crisis
The new normal brought on by the pandemic demands digital transformation. One technology that has helped businesses and economies stay afloat in quarantine and social distancing is mobile payment. As regulations stipulate the reduction of in-person transactions to prevent consumers from stepping out of their homes, mobile payment facilities have come in handy.
You can equip your mobile customers by investing in contactless payment technologies like facial recognition, QR codes, and NFC technology. COVID-19 will have a lasting impact on the way we conduct transactions. Companies struggling in implementing mobile payments need to find ways in establishing payment systems that are on par with the global standards. Businesses may hesitate to spend on digital payment technologies, during such unaffluent times. However, you need to remember that by enabling mobile payments, you are expanding your customer base and making it easier for customers to buy.
Choosing the Best Way to Implement Paperless Initiatives
Advances in IT and organizational design can drive cost reductions while improving quality and timeliness. To equip your business with these digital alternatives, you need to have clear goals and instructions for upgrading business processes. These tools have to be used in a systematic and coordinated way to improve efficiency and avoid chaos. Once these digital tools are managed in the right order, they enable restructuring of processes and building up resilience resulting in higher productivity.
Going paperless ultimately narrows down to improving processes. The real value of the aforementioned paperless technologies can be realized only once you go back to the beginning of a process and retool it making the whole process electronic. So going paperless is not just an afterthought, but you have to go for redesigning whole processes, making them more electronic. This, then helps you save time and money by streamlining your work and improving the efficiency of what you’re doing.
In other words, you should not opt for paperless technologies to just manage your storage needs. If you simply convert all of your paper into a digital format, you’re just converting your problem from one format to another. When you’re scaling paperless, you need to view it as an opportunity to look at your processes from A to Z and check whether you can make improvements. Then paperless becomes a part of the good business that you practice.
If you wish to know more about how paperless initiatives can recession-proof your business to survive and succeed in the new normal, send us a message right away!
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Why Does Your Business Need IT Consulting Services?
IT departments or on-site IT professionals have become increasingly significant for many types of organizations- small and large, today. As the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way people work, giving rise to alternative workplace strategies, businesses are forced to rethink IT technology and strategy to keep up with the ‘new normal’. Companies, therefore, expect their IT budgets to grow.
So what’s IT consulting in simple terms?
Gartner defines IT consulting as “advisory services that help clients assess different technology strategies and in doing so, align their technology strategies with their business or process strategies.”
IT consultants are needed for software implementations, training, and maintenance. Some companies try to do these activities on their own. Many have succeeded in getting their software up and running to what they think is “Best Practices” for their company. However, with a technology consulting company like Fingent, you’ll rest assured that you’re dealing with someone who knows the product end-to-end. You’ll get to collaborate with an expert who knows how to look for alternatives or add-on solutions for that product. Thus, you end up streamlining the entire process of conversion, training, and implementation with an IT consultant.
Read more: Software Development Outsourcing – Why software development outsourcing is a smart move now?
Why should you hire IT consultants?
1. Flexible staff: Most IT consultants offer their services on a contract basis. Organizations may need to supplement their team for a holiday season; they may be rolling out new software or merging companies. There are a lot of situations where a company needs a lot more people for a small amount of time. They don’t have to hire full-time salaried people and then lay them off. Consultants can come in for a short time and do the job for them.
2. Proven expertise: Your organization may be the best in your LOB. But you may not have the required know-how in house, to implement the best IT solution for your business. Well-experienced IT consultants can advise the best modus operandi to ensure that your new IT project runs smoothly. A reputable IT consultancy would also bring in the shared knowledge of its many business partners. So, you’ll be at the receiving end of the latest trends and updates of the IT industry.
3. Outsider perspective: You are a part of your company. So, you may not spot the blunders that an outsider can quickly point out. Since IT consultants have already worked on similar projects before, they can quickly identify what would work and what would not. They can also bring in different schemes that can help improve ROI that may not have been visible to you.
4. Train employees: Employees are an asset to your company. So you have to provide them with the necessary training facilities to develop their skills and keep them engaged. IT consultants are always at the top of their game, making them good trainers. Suppose you have implemented a new ERP system. After understanding the needs of your company, IT consultants can provide customized training programs to your staff and equip them towards a smooth transition.
Read more: Digital Transformation Consulting Services – How digital transformation solutions redefine businesses with effective digital experiences
Business benefits of hiring IT consultants
1. Reduced Costs: Hiring in-house staff solely for your IT technical needs or training your existing employees are other options that you can consider instead of hiring IT consultants. While hiring new employees, you’ll have to include the added costs along with their salaries, including taxes, benefits, and overhead expenses. On the other hand, for training existing employees, you’ll have to shell out on a trainer and the skill acquired may not even be used in the future. Hiring IT consultants will help reduce downtime. Often, you bring in consultants to address a specific issue for a short period. Therefore, they prove to be more budget-friendly.
2. Better Security: Cyberattacks continue to derail large and small businesses alike. Consultants who specialize in IT security can help tackle and prevent these risks. After analyzing the risk points in your system, IT security consultants can advise on the best security practices that would suit your company. IT consultants can help prevent possible risks by implementing regular updates on your software, training employees to identify malware, developing appropriate disaster recovery solutions, and so on.
3. Focus on core business: SMEs generally fall into the trap of trying to save money by doing everything themselves. The companies whose core competencies lie in non-IT related industries have observed that finding solutions for IT problems zaps them of their time and energy. Not to mention the rise in frustration levels of your workforce as they spend hours doing what they’re not good at in the first place. Once you outsource your IT needs to a specialist, you’ll see speedy execution with higher efficiency in completing the project. Thus, investing in an IT consultancy will lead to better ROI.
4. Increased productivity and efficiency: IT consulting experts can help businesses optimize their systems. They can help homogenize your IT infrastructure according to the industry best practices. The resultant consistency can help streamline processes, create resilience, and reduce costs related to IT support. Next, as mentioned earlier, IT consultants help manage tasks like software updates, data, and network security that would otherwise be monotonous for your employees, enabling them to focus on increasing profits. Many enterprises are moving to the cloud to reduce their infrastructure costs associated with outdated physical servers. An IT consulting partner can help you realize the full benefits of the cloud by integrating all existing systems, making a smooth transition securely, and avoiding common mistakes.
Read more: Digital Innovation – 10 Services Offered by Fingent to Prepare Your Business for the Future of Digital Innovation
As technology grows by leaps and bounds, organizations have to find ways to grow along with the growth in business. The right IT consulting firm can help you use technology as a tool to increase productivity and reduce unwanted expenses. Need help to manage your IT needs? Fingent’s round-the-clock and customer-centric IT consulting services are bound to give you a competitive edge. We’re just a phone call away! Contact us now!
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10 Services Offered by Fingent to Prepare Your Business for the Future of Digital Innovation
- Robotic Process Automation
- Business Continuity Planning
- Contactless Services
- Custom LMS | eLearning
- Business Process Re-engineering
- Reality Technologies
- Data Analytics
- Internet of Things
- Mobile Technologies
- Cloud Computing
- Innovation beyond digital transformation
It’s been more than half a year since we started battling the global pandemic COVID-19. While it shows no sign of waning and continues to dwindle economies, business leaders are still exhibiting a streak of optimism. Thanks to digital technology and infrastructure!
The American management consulting firm McKinsey states that business executives expect profits and consumer demands to rise within the next six months. However, households across the globe have reduced their spending due to low income and savings. This poses a challenge for business sectors such as banking, retail, telecom, healthcare, and utilities. The organizations belonging to these sectors have to find new ways to support customers as well as preserve shareholder value in these ambivalent times.
In spite of several unsuccessful attempts to curb the virus spread, promising vaccine tests give us hope. The good news along with it is that businesses are managing to meet their urgent requirements and are optimistic for a time when all employees can return to work safely. Business leaders need to focus on supporting their employees by building up trust and providing clear communication.
If not anything, the pandemic has taught us the necessity of digital innovation and management. The business-as-usual approach is bound to fail in these difficult times. Business leaders have to make fast decisions, use technology in new and different ways to improve productivity and accelerate digital innovation. Organizations that embrace technology and new tools to reinvent business processes will see better results. This blog enlists 10 ways by which Fingent can help you re-engineer your business processes and overcome the challenges efficiently.
1. Robotic Process Automation
In light of what’s happening, the demand for automation has fundamentally increased simply because the business dynamics have changed in various industries. Since most employees have to work from home, repetitive and data-intensive processes could be handed over to Robotic Process Automation. Once employees are freed up from performing mundane tasks, they can concentrate on other important operations that require cognitive skills.
The payroll, onboarding and offboarding processes in HR can be automated using RPA technology. In the banking sector too, RPA bots can fasten activities such as loan application processing, account opening and make them error-free.
Fingent combines technologies like Machine Learning and AI with RPA to design smarter processes for businesses. Our focus is on utilizing RPA software bots to enhance the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of business processes. We help companies to automate business processes by identifying areas that require automation, deploy the most appropriate tools, and provide the necessary maintenance and support.
2. Business Continuity Planning
A business continuity plan is crucial to ensure the effective recovery of organizations from a disaster. From conducting virtual site inspections to document collaboration to human resources and payroll management, Business Continuity Planning helps keep track of all your crucial tasks.
Fingent utilizes a wide range of technological frameworks like SAP, AWS, Microsoft technologies, public cloud services, and custom software solutions to help you come up with a strong business continuity plan. Our Business Continuity Planning (BCP) services enable you to make faster decisions, reduce costs, and retain customers. We help you create and implement a sustainable business model that allows you to keep pace with the rising customer demands.
3. Contactless Services
COVID-19 has changed customer behavior w.r.t what and how they buy. This shift has given rise to a demand for contactless services. The demand for smart deliveries, self-service facilities, and other technologies such as QR codes, mobile payments, tap-and-go are expected to rise.
Maneuvering these challenging times may seem daunting. But Fingent can help you turn the tables with our innovation capabilities and technology consulting. We guide organizations to expand their existing set of offerings and capture new markets.
Fingent helps you bring your brick-and-mortar store online by developing highly responsive, secure, and scalable ecommerce CRM solutions, customize your existing application to integrate contactless payment features, configure new offers or discount codes and also helps you leverage AR/VR technologies that allow customers to view your project sites or prototypes.
4. Custom LMS Development | eLearning
According to a recent study, 42% of organizations in the US have increased their ROI through eLearning. Over 90% of students say that they prefer eLearning to classroom training- a trend created by the COVID-19 forced lockdowns. eLearning systems are highly beneficial in times of a global pandemic like COVID-19 to ensure uninterrupted learning.
Fingent helps schools, universities, colleges, educational institutions, NGOs, and training centers to develop customized LMS platforms that come with aptitude-based smart learning tools.
5. Business Process Re-engineering
Business process re-engineering involves the fundamental rethinking and redesigning of processes to achieve significant improvements in performance, efficiency, and alignment of processes with organizational strategy. Fingent’s BPR services enable enterprises to revamp existing business processes to improve productivity, quality, and cycle time, especially during a crisis.
Here’s the difference that Fingent’s BPR brings to your table:
- Re-engineer and optimize your processes from the ground up
- Eliminate redundant processes and enhance workflow efficiency
- Coordinate and integrate multiple functions/ teams quickly
Business process reengineering offers nearly all benefits- increased revenue, improved customer service, reduced cost, higher employee retention, faster processing time. Though the risks are considerable, the crisis presents an opportunity for your business to build resilience and reshape your future roadmap by leveraging BPR.
6. Reality Technologies
The latest advancements in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality technologies are helping businesses explore new ways to reach customers and take their innovation efforts to the next level. Perkins Coie LLP reports healthcare and medical devices as one of the top potential growth areas for AR and VR technologies. Visual-based immersive learning experiences, virtual events and conferences, virtual showings and site tours, etc. ensure sustainability, safety, and remote collaboration.
Read our case study: The Future of Communication and Security Using Augmented Reality
7. Data Analytics
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted supply chains and has brought about dramatic changes in customer behavior. Given the current volatility, it is nearly impossible to track real-time changes in consumer mannerisms and aptly respond to them. Fingent offers Predictive Analytics from SAP as well as other data analytics solution providers that can help you detect hidden trends and make quick decisions.
Sectors such as healthcare, retail, sports, insurance use predictive analysis in various ways. Fingent’s data analytics services guide you towards increased ROI by turning data into valuable insights.
8. Internet of Things
Business executives believe that the disruption brought on by COVID-19 will cause an increase in the demand for IoT devices. Robust 5G networks are necessary to realize the power of IoT. Join forces with Fingent to leverage the benefits of IoT in your business. Gear up for IoT with our vast portfolio of technologies that can help you create new IoT processes and manage your devices. We provide customized IoT services to meet your unique business needs. Our cloud-based IoT data management solutions help you gather insights from your IoT data.
9. Mobile Technologies
As stay-at-home and social distancing are the new norms, mobile technologies can keep business running. At Fingent, we utilize leading mobile technologies to support businesses. Being scalable and secure, our mobile solutions deliver value to your customers.
So you want to build an app, but don’t know how to get on with it? While finding the right mobile app development company may seem an obvious answer, you first need to get your requirements on paper. Fingent offers a mobile app specification template that can help you define the scope and functionalities of your app. This erases ambiguity in the development process and keeps all stakeholders on the same page.
10. Cloud Computing
The Cloud has proved to be a lifesaver for businesses whose offices are closed and employees are scattered across various locations. Those who were skeptical of the Cloud are now changing their opinions and have come to benefit from the flexibility that it offers.
Fingent’s expertise in cloud architecture models has helped many organizations realize their goals. With our proficiency in various cloud platforms such as AWS, Microsoft Azure, IBM, and Google we aim to make organizations flexible and agile. We also provide cost-effective cloud application development solutions that can be easily implemented in your current infrastructure and tailored to suit user requirements.
Innovation beyond digital transformation
As the pandemic seems to gather strength, organizations scramble to find ways to keep business running. Business leaders have to prepare for recovery by supporting their staff, establishing effective communication, and balancing costs. If nothing else, these turbulent times have brought to light the significance of digital transformation. By resorting to innovative digital technologies like the ones mentioned above, businesses can reinvent themselves and keep going.
We at Fingent focus on supporting businesses by equipping them with these smart technologies to ensure business continuity. Leveraging smart technologies, Fingent can help you understand the pulse of your customers and make the necessary changes in your business models. It has become increasingly clear that given the serious health implications on people returning to work, creating a post-pandemic organization would take longer than earlier perceived. Companies have to seize this opportunity to build new capabilities like remote work environments, virtual collaboration, automation, eLearning, eCommerce, and so on.
Our business solutions have already helped various industrial sectors solve problems and eventually succeed. Fingent can help you capitalize on this opportunity to create a digital innovation strategy. Contact us to know more.
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Challenges Your Business Should Overcome in the Post-COVID Phase
- Challenges in Reopening Strategy
- Challenges of Shifting Customer Habits
- Challenge of Operations and Employee Safety
- Impact on Operations for Manufacturing Units
- Challenges of Finance and Banking
- Tax, Trade & Regulatory Challenges
- Crisis Management
- Focus on tomorrow
The past few months have been an extremely challenging time for communities across the globe as the pandemic continues to take its toll. Amidst all the chaos and anxiety however, the world is trying to return to the new normal. During this unprecedented reality, businesses are witnessing the beginning of a dramatic restructuring of economic and social order. Everyone is looking forward to the next normal that will materialize after the battle against COVID-19 has been won, with hopes that it will be better and more profitable. Challenges lie ahead though. What are these COVID-19 Aftermath challenges and how do we combat them? This article will discuss that.
Where Do We Start?
With lives and livelihoods in danger, businesses are running a spreadsheet for basics that never mattered so much before. Plans are being drawn how many people can fit into a workplace spaced six feet apart, where the one-way path should begin and end, and what adjustments can and need to be made to the entrance, lunchrooms, and restrooms.
All of these are critical tasks but chalking them down is not going to be enough to mobilize and stabilize businesses. We need an enterprise-wide ability to absorb uncertainty while incorporating lessons into operating models quickly. This might seem like a daunting path beset with challenges, but an action plan can get you through this successfully. This article discusses 7 major challenges and resolutions to jumpstart the recovery.
1. Challenges in Reopening Strategy
The pandemic has impacted nearly every industry including retail. Manufacturing is on a downward slope as production moves at a snail’s pace. Supply chains are being disrupted due to higher air freight costs. This supply shock is having a knock-on effect on retail. Navigating their way out of this spiral is going to need a solid reopening strategy.
What can businesses do?
- Restart and reset, not just reopen: Employee and customer behaviors have drastically changed. Be ready to start a new era of business. Build courage and foresight to change for more than just immediate needs.
- Be ready to adopt omnichannel integration: Omnichannel initiatives offer contactless curbside pickup and other features, so be willing to continuously improve services.
- Shape your future workforce: Redeploy store associates to fill other roles. Upskill then to achieve the required digital fluency. Cross-train employees so that they can fill in when others are away.
- Act swiftly to radically accelerate in-store integration: Customers may not be inclined to visit stores unless you give them a good reason to do so. Offer your consumers compelling value propositions for store traffic.
- Develop a future-state vision: Adopt an omnichannel view that includes store closure plans or rent negotiations.
- Digitize and automate non-core tasks: Automate labor scheduling. Expand the use of self-checkout and mobile checkout processes. Provide remote-management tools for in-house and field managers.
- Shift tasks: Sourcing and distribution teams must find ways to move certain tasks, such as price tagging and labeling, away from stores.
2. Challenges of Shifting Customer Habits
As the coronavirus spread progressed across geographies, customer behavior has also changed drastically. Customer habits are changing, and we can expect them to continue to change in the weeks and months ahead. We can break down their behavior into three phases where each phase shows a distinct behavior:
- Escalation: Customers tend to load up on essential goods such as groceries and medicines which include immunity-boosters.
- Accumulation: Customers brace for a sustained quarantine by stocking up on everyday personal care products.
- Recovery: Customers will continue to spend on consumer goods.
Also, customers now prefer making purchases online, their focus has shifted more to eCommerce.
How can businesses respond?
- Enable flexible product flow: Ensure your product inventories align with consumer demand. Make distribution centers more flexible. As more customers purchase products online, make sure you minimize distribution disruptions.
- Bolster online presence: Accelerate direct-to-customer sales.
- Maintain close contact with customers: Ensure they know that products are available.
3. Challenge of Operations and Employee Safety
One of the main concerns of a company leader during and after the COVID-19 pandemic is its impact on operations. Evidently, the epidemic has adversely affected sales volume and the ability to serve clients and customers as well as manage the business. Companies are faced with the challenge of employees being quarantined for weeks after business or vacation trips. They lack the tools required to organize remote work during the quarantine.
How to reorganize the workplace?
- Establish dedicated cross-functional teams: They can coordinate the activities between various business units, provide necessary information to the management team, and communicate with employees, partners, and employees.
- Analyze critical roles and key positions: Develop an effective process for managing decision-making under various scenarios.
- Ensure the safety of employees: Review policies for maintaining good hygiene at the workplace.
- Ensure that there is no crowding in the office: Decide on which roles can be done remotely and which roles require employees to be present in the office. This will help you optimize the work with only 20-30% of employees at the office.
- Easy Transportation: Ensure that transportation is arranged for and accessible by the employees.
- Plans for support staff: Have a written plan on how to stagger the arrival of support staff such as receptionists and security guards.
- Workout checkpoints: Have a series of checkpoints where testing can be done.
4. Impact on Operations for Manufacturing Units
Manufacturers face formidable challenges when it comes to restarting their operations. Globally, they are facing workforce disruptions at an unprecedented scale. Most manufacturers are yet to determine how they will function and perform while struggling to cope with the present scenario. They need fit-for-purpose plans.
How can manufacturers respond?
- Start with possible scenarios: Start with the current need for workforce and design a workforce approach.
- Tap into technology: Consider the possibility of automating certain aspects of the industry which would avoid too many people at the site.
- Create a roster: Ensure that teams come in at different times during the day depending on the number of workers and the skill required at any given point.
- Focus on a safe work environment: Organize regular cleaning and disinfection of workplaces and tools. Invest in medical equipment such as thermometers and sanitizers.
- Review sick leave policies: Consider the possibility of providing temporary sick leave without the need to provide a doctor’s notice.
- Develop agile workforce strategies: It keeps the global economy viable.
- Create your own news channel: Misinformation can create particular challenges for manufacturers. Combat this by ensuring that you put out timely, accurate, and appropriate information for your workers.
5. Challenges of Finance and Banking
Economic uncertainty and risk have either directly or indirectly impacted most finance companies. As businesses slow down, companies are seeing lower revenue due to reduced cash flow.
Managing cash and liquidity positions may become crucial in the coming months. This situation is worsened by inadequate digital maturity, staff shortages and immense pressure on the existing infrastructure as companies deal with the impact of the pandemic. You need strategies to safeguard your customers’ financial security while you safeguard their wellbeing and yours as well.
What can finance services do?
- Craft a strategic response: Adopting the right digital technologies enables innovations. These must include solutions for analytics and insights to detect and prepare for new risks.
- Enable Automation: Ensure availability of digital banking services through business process reengineering and automation.
- Leverage AI capabilities: There has been and will be a surge in call volumes during and after COVID-19. Leverage AI-backed tools and conversation platforms to deal with the surge.
- Initiate video banking: Live web video banking solutions can assist your team in serving customers and maintaining business continuity.
6. Tax, Trade & Regulatory Challenges
There are significant tax provisions and other measures to assist businesses that stakeholders should carefully review. Post pandemic, they should think about the broader implications of their business decisions and strategies.
What can you do?
- Business disruption: Develop restructuring plans. Review intra-group service expenses and expense allocations.
- Cash tax savings: Manage cash taxes by potentially reducing taxable income. Obtain available refunds. Work with the treasury function to align repatriation strategies. Model taxable income against the company’s overall tax posture.
- Agile tax models: Supply chains and business strategies need reevaluation, which is best achieved by agile tax models.
- Review all aspects: Stabilize supply chains. Brace for an unpredictable revenue. Reduce costs and increase productivity.
- Meet regulatory obligations: Despite budget constraints, tax compliance requirements must be met. Consider co-sourcing or outsourcing tax compliance.
- Stay informed: Understand the expense of various supply chain configurations and opportunities. Make informed decisions quickly.
7. Crisis Management
Your response to the crisis today can position your business to thrive tomorrow. You need to prioritize incident management along with the safety of workers. It is important for organizations to understand what data is relevant to their business. Some companies are developing new contingency plans while others are using existing ones.
What can organizations do?
- Dedicate a team for crisis management: Ensure that every team member knows what their role is. Train each team member in executing the plan to be sure that they are ready at any moment.
- Establish facts: Strong data reinforces a central element of crisis planning. Establish facts accurately during the crisis. Use the facts to inform your response strategy.
- Collaborate: Collaborate with the public relations team, legal and regulatory teams, and operational and response teams. Create a small core committee from among them.
Focus on tomorrow
The response window for any crisis is measured in months but recovery is measured in years. Create scenarios today to plan for a stronger tomorrow and beyond. Wider and longer-term perspectives can help your business emerge stronger and more sustainable. Data, Readiness, and Empathy are the three vital qualities required to keep people healthy and businesses running. Fingent is closely monitoring the situation and helping businesses return to work with our technology consulting and innovation capabilities. Contact us to know more.