Amid the turbulent economy of 2020 and a world on unsure footing, businesses are learning to adapt to stark changes with little to no warning. In meeting the challenges brought on by the pandemic, companies have relied upon digitalization to remain resilient amid uncertainty and dramatically altered customer behavior. Should businesses continue to survive, this approach must be entirely embraced.
It goes without saying that digitalization is not a new concept. In fact, before the pandemic, it was likely seen as a somewhat nebulous, yet often repeated buzzword. Covid-19, however, has re-defined human interaction in a way in which few could have anticipated – industries are now held at the mercy of their IT infrastructures. As this sweeping change has led to offline office interactions have been forced online, the tangible results of effective digitalization have been made clear.
First, cloud technologies, once regarded as an innovative luxury, are now integral to supporting the remote workforces that companies now employ. Further to this, Unified Communications-as-a-Service (UCaaS) has never been of more vital importance to company operations. Despite colleagues having to adjust to the sight of each other’s rooms, the sound of barking dogs and crying children, it is hard to imagine a smooth continuation of business life without adequate video conferencing technology.
Beyond employee interaction, there is the customer experience, which, like everything else, has shifted online in a sweeping fashion. Whatever this interaction might be – product, service or customer support – users have never had higher expectations towards their online experience with an organization than they do today. If a company is unable to meet their demands, customers will simply switch to a competitor.
This rapid digitalization has guaranteed the continuation of normal economic life, and profitable business operations relies entirely on a robust IT infrastructure. However, despite its undeniable importance, only 39 percent of IT professionals have a high level of confidence in their organization’s ability to seamlessly deliver digital services in the midst of a crisis.
There is a rift growing between organizations that can initiate and maintain the digitalization of company operations and those that cannot. In a global economy already reeling from the shock of a pandemic, it is up to businesses to ride the crest of the wave by ensuring they are adept in meeting the online conditions of the new normal.
There are three ways in which companies can ensure effective digitalization:
- Create a comprehensive strategy for the digital customer and employee experience
- Employ perceptive monitoring of the infrastructure that supports the digital experience
- Embrace forward-thinking automation technologies
Strategically planning the customer and employee digital experience
The first and arguably most important step towards initiating a comprehensive and effective digitalization plan is in identifying which internal and customer-facing processes need digital advancement. These factors will be uniquely specialized in every organization and will also be determined by industry.
All digital transformation initiatives should aim to move business operations online as entirely and succinctly as possible to ensure employee workflows and online customer engagement are not disrupted.
For example, in the real estate industry, business leaders must answer how they can best digitalize the home buying experience. Can realtors show a property virtually with clear audio and video in lieu of showing the property in-person? Or, when it comes to rental properties, can lease-signing agreements be handled without any party having to meet?
In the medical field, digitization is of even greater importance, as patient health relies upon seamless online treatment capabilities, such as video consultations with a doctor. Likewise, across all areas of government and the courts, vital societal processes must learn to conform to virtual interactions.
Insight into IT infrastructure is key
Once the methods for enabling a digital experience are established, it is important to ensure that they are not disrupted. The key to mitigating digital disruption is in ameliorating any issues that might develop in the IT infrastructure. However, this is not as easy as it sounds.
IT infrastructure has grown increasingly complicated over the years, and, especially as many new technologies are being implemented during the pandemic, IT teams are struggling to cope. When IT infrastructures fail, downtime is imminent, which can have damaging effects on an organization’s bottom line and the customer experience. After all, if a ride-sharing app user is unable to request a lift due to application performance issues, for example, they will just switch to a competitor.
The only way to prevent problems that result in outages is to detect them before they occur, and the answer to this lies in comprehensive monitoring across a company’s IT systems. This being the case, monitoring solutions play a pivotal role in upholding digitalization.
The future lies in intelligent automation
The next step in adopting digitization is to assess how IT monitoring processes can best uphold the digital infrastructure.
These days, companies are investing in artificial intelligence (AI) and other next-generation technologies to augment the monitoring process. AI makes identifying and resolving technical issues easier as it requires little to no human intervention. AI is also integral in keeping up with developing and complex IT infrastructures, especially as IT teams lose the manual power to keep track of every moving part that may result in an outage.
A survey put to IT leaders underlines this trend, revealing that 74 percent of those polled employ intelligent systems like AI and machine learning to provide insight into their IT infrastructure. Further to this, 93 percent say automation is essential because it allows their IT teams to focus on strategic initiatives and operate more effectively – all of which are critical in a time of crisis.
Digitalization is and will continue to be vital, even in the absence of a global pandemic. Though the importance of digitization was widely spoken to before, it has taken a global crisis to turn words into action for many organizations. Now that the benefits are clear, it is up to business leaders to uphold the IT infrastructure of their organizations, and through this, guarantee the digital experience.
Mark Banfield, Chief Revenue Officer, LogicMonitor