How the pandemic has drastically changed business transformation

Matthew Wilcox our consultant managing the role

A McKinsey Global Survey reported that the Covid-19 crisis had forced years of transformational change within organisations in only a matter of months. Businesses accelerated technology adoption, particularly those related to remote working and online collaboration. Cost considerations were no longer at the forefront of programmes. Instead, agility and the ability to continue work as close to normal became the priority, as organisations adapted to the new work landscape.

The typical resistance to change at the leadership and employee level was removed as digital transformation became necessary, rather than a choice. While customers generally accepted the need for businesses to go digital, and did not resist the shift to online channels. 

The pandemic forced businesses to navigate in an environment of increasing unpredictability. Reactive government restrictions have ushered in an era of hybrid working and a lack of consistency on what the work environment is, and changing advice with each new wave. What is clear from our new ways of working is that the environment of business transformation has changed, as has transformation itself. 

 

We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

SATYA NADELLA | MICROSOFT

The pandemic’s impact on transformation programmes

There is no denying the profound effect transformation programmes at the start of the pandemic have had on subsequent programmes. They demonstrated that transformation can be completed successfully at speed, as well as forcing transformation managers to change their strategies, as engagement with leaders and employees shifted to remote channels.

Business leaders are more likely to consider new digital innovations than pre-pandemic times. Moreover, their expectations on the timeline of such programmes have also changed with a greater emphasis on speed.

In our experience, pre-pandemic digital transformation programmes were, in some cases, met with resistance. This was due to a lack of trust in technology, and fear that any drastic change to the way people work could have negative implications for business operations. Arguably in the post-pandemic world, business leaders and employees are more open to trying new digital solutions with hopes of delivering transformation quickly and effectively as they can see the inherent value.

Change programmes and remote working

 Remote working has changed how we look at technology and the risks associated with it. A lasting impact of the pandemic and the remote working transformation is that businesses need to be versatile in the way they work. Especially when 70% of workers polled for a BBC survey predict they will never return to the office in the same numbers as before the pandemic. Future change programmes must consider this and ensure business operations are resilient in adapting to an ever-changing work environment. There is no disputing the need to leverage technology for change programmes, and ensure compatibility with existing digital tools. 

Although the adoption of remote working was an overall success for many organisations, there was no alternative. Businesses and their employees accepted the need for change out of necessity, rather than choice. Change managers will need to address similar challenges transformation programmes faced pre-pandemic in the new digital workplace. Some leaders may not buy into programmes, and employees may resist change. It is important to devise strategies which can engage leaders and employees, as well as keep them informed of change programmes in a digital landscape.

For many businesses, the pandemic forced them to rethink how they operate. Some companies moved to co-working spaces, others downsized their offices, and some left their offices entirely. But businesses have the opportunity to make this operational shift even more profound. Ask yourself the questions: now we have tried new ways of working, is it time to go a step further? What else can be digital? Can we automate more processes? Would our business benefit from greater use of AI?

The environment of business transformation has changed, as has transformation itself".  

Maintain the momentum of pandemic transformation

Overall, the pandemic has brought disruptive change to businesses, but many have adapted successfully. Future transformation programmes will need to ensure a business can remain versatile and utilise the digital changes by creating more resilient operations, which means more resilient companies. Change managers will need to overcome the barriers created from remote work, such as engagement of leaders and employees. Rather than returning to pre-pandemic norms, it is important to continue the momentum of digital transformation and the rapid speed that we can deliver change, to be more resilient in the future.

Gain insight from transformation experts

At Marks Sattin, we believe in always advancing and learning from other experts in the markets we operate in, that’s why we partnered with change management consultancy 10th Bridge. Through our collaboration we’re able to give our clients access to market insights, and support delivery with flexible resourcing capability, tailored to their specific circumstances.

 Visit change management at Marks Sattin to see how we can help you build your team, or find your next change management job.

 


26/01/22
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