Business transformation has been on the agenda of many market-led industries prior to COVID-19. The pandemic has forced most businesses to review the ways in which they operate, and have to ‘innovate, adapt or die’. What now remains is how to win the next phase of business transformation which cannot be done by reassessing previous efforts, and using expert advice to implement an effective growth acceleration strategy.
Here at EROE, our core mandate as a digital and business transformation agency is to help organisations win the sustainable growth and profitability race. Hence in times like these our role in helping organisations to reinvent cannot be overemphasized.
CEO of EROE, Daniel Solomon who is also a delivery advisor hosted our inaugural webinar edition to discuss business acceleration in 2020 through transformation. He was joined by guest speaker Kareem Monem, an industry expert & Digital Visionary.
What has changed?
The year 2020 can be used as a case study and catalyst for change across various sectors of the economy.
For Kareem, factors have not changed much. “What existed in 2019 in terms of catalyst (social challenges, age and demographic challenges, healthcare considerations) are no different from the same just that it has accelerated drastically.”
Environmental and economic factors have not been spared, and there could be a no better time to implement business transformation techniques that we at EROE have been ‘preaching’ for so long. There is a growing need for enterprises to be more agile in adapting to the new business climate normal.
In agreeing that internal & external factors affecting businesses have not changed, it is noteworthy that whenever there is some sort of crisis there is a need for some sort of disruption which may be beneficial to certain industries but not to others. Transformation is therefore important, and so it is imperative to implement them in a business or organisation, be it profit or non-profit.
What does effective transformation involve?
Transformation can be classified in terms of:
- Management-led and,
- Cultural transformation.
Even though we are in a period where innovation is technology driven, transformation is not only synonymous to digitization but rather business transformation is core.
Companies cannot substitute their organisational needs to mean that they need a digital transformation as business transformation is generally the main topic. The fundamental core of business transformation though is the use of technology. This is because it is not about only what you do, but where you operate as well matters.
In Kareem’s estimation, transformation works with three components: digitally enabled transformation which shows how organisations are set up to meet customer commitments, solution-based transformation which is specific to a solution and more of niche end-to-end support, and data transformation which deals with issues such as privacy.
When talking about leadership, organisational, cultural transformation, three fundamental reasons that define organisational purpose and culture are defending the market, differentiating and identification of disruptors.
Which industries have seen, or need transformation?
Regarding which industries are in the need for transformation, Kareem thinks that “the more traditionally established industries are the ones that have the biggest challenges in transforming”. These include banking, financial services, healthcare, telecommunications, retail and so on, all of which are historically big spenders on technology but the demand in their business by consumers have changed drastically and these could be the reason why they need these.
With focus on healthcare, transformation is really urgent. Artificial intelligence (AI) is really affecting how healthcare is accessed and delivered in a more effective way. Machine learning is able to predict and adopt future behaviour, and is also helping to accelerate the ability to get drugs in the market and at a cheaper cost.
Virtual reality is helping create safe learning environments, for example people with autism and even with payments.
Both consumers and providers of healthcare are all driven by technology, saving time, money and energy through techniques such as providing biometric information. Blockchain capabilities are even used to manage electronic healthcare records to identify irregularities, hence improving the whole experience in the long run.
And so, in all these, how can entrepreneurs and small and medium scale businesses adapt to the ever-changing business environment?
Kareem thinks they have a better chance of adapting to dynamic markets. They may not have the budget but have the right organisational structure and a higher probability to have a mindset of change and therefore need to overcome the barrier of fear. They also have to accept that they are in the phase of continuous evolution, and need the right talent to overcome certain barriers as one person does not know it all. Access to funding is also key.
With focus on healthcare, why should businesses invest in other sectors for accelerated transformation?
Based on information and data, organisations can invest into other sectors such as healthcare.
EROE CEO Daniel makes his case, focusing on digitization in the healthcare sector with interesting statistics:
- AI powered tools market size is expected to grow over 34billion dollars by 2025.
- Over 77% of the global population are expected to go online or use a kind of online tool to make their booking rather than calling a doctor/healthcare institution for treatment.
- 77% of healthcare organisations are using patient data for predictive analytics already.
Key barriers for business transformation and how businesses can prepare for transformation implementation
For Kareem, it is a pivot between theory and reality considering the complexities of business transformation. Businesses, especially SMEs need to look at things using a long-term approach, and whether the alternative business model is sustainable or not.
Also, there needs to be an answer to the question of where the transformation mandate starts and how it is rolled out in organisation no matter their size.
The biggest barrier to transformation is people, and so there should be high interest in investing in the right talent. Transformation works with change management and so the ‘people’ factor is rather critical.
Conclusion and the way forward
The future is defining what we need to be doing, and in some instances, we need to define how we get to an outcome that is market-led. Business transformation is all about agreeing that we need to change by understanding shareholder value.
On the way forward, businesses should be capability led rather than restrictive. There should be flexibility and readiness to change.
Sustainability is also important, using innovation to drive change.
Talent should be greatly considered as most of the barriers to transformation are people based. Governments and leadership can also play various roles through vision transformation. The core concern should be more of a business transformation rather than a digital transformation.
EROE also believes that enterprises have to be forward thinking. It is important to implement new techniques that encourage systems and processes to operate to their maximum capacity. Innovation is important in achieving business goals, reducing cost, and pushing for continuous improvement. Leadership has a part to play in thinking out of the box, reflecting on how they have handled past transformation led initiatives, and also having a positive and flexible mindset towards change and adaptability.
Doing this must be in a strategic way, and with a sense of urgency. This is where EROE comes in.
Implementing business transformation is quite a complex process, hence the need to introduce the service of experts who have successfully changed the way organisations operate in order to gain new markets, increase revenue, as well as customer satisfaction for continuous improvement. The time to innovate is now!