Business survival re-engineering
Nash Naidoo, Senior Manager: Software and Professional Services, Altron Document Solutions
For South Africans, it has become all too apparent that the weak economic outlook prior to the onslaught of COVID-19 has wreaked unimagined havoc not just on our way of life, but even in the ability to earn a living. We have in recent times experienced social unrest not seen for a very long time in our beloved country, and both our personal and business lives have teetered on the very edge of existence. And yes, we are crying!
Businesses have fought to keep afloat, with the sad reality that many have gone under. Despite the almost overnight switch to digital ways of working, which is heavily reliant on technology, the IT industry has not been left unscathed. In light of such devastation, streamlining of what we do actually have left – towards sustainability and even growth, no matter how bleak the outlook – is something we all must pursue for our nation to survive.
Where do we even start? The IDC, in its recent survey report (CIO Spending Priorities and Digital Strategies in the Middle East and Africa), notes that the MEA (Middle East & Africa) 2020 overall IT spend was flat, with shifts in spend from mobile phones and office printers towards IT devices and printers more suited for the work-from-home environment.
From an individual professional viewpoint, you might have experienced quite the high G-force swing in your organisation suddenly embracing digital when they were perhaps only previously tinkering with it. After all, one of the jibes around digital transformation recently has been: Which of the following has been the digital transformation champion in your organisation? The CEO, the CIO, the CFO or well, the other “C”? And don’t we all know the answer to that question!
What the IDC survey reveals is that about half of businesses, in the context of digital, are still grappling with re-imagining themselves, whereas the other 50% that have indeed successfully pivoted are accelerating their digital transformation efforts in order to gain distinct competitive advantages in the market.
A key finding in the survey indicated that the topmost investment priority for 63% of the respondents for the next 12-18 months was towards reengineering their processes (operational improvement). While this is perhaps not entirely surprising, given the decentralised workplace and cloud-driven infrastructure that we are now dependent on, it is rather important.
And to drive home this vital imperative, 58% of CIOs re-emphasised their commitment to automation via re-engineering their processes as their leading concern in their organisations' digital strategy roadmap as they prepare to navigate a post-COVID-19 era.
In fact, the majority of CIOs expect to see investment patterns change as it becomes necessary for businesses to both ensure process efficiency (workflow-automation-collaboration) and the security of the data within those processes. (See figure 1 below)
The drone that the digital pundits have been banging on about to businesses for so long has been keenly sharpened by the blade that is COVID-19. The message, nay, warning, has crystallised. Digitally transform your business. Automate your workflows. Secure your data. Or disappear!