2020 created a seismic impact on how we live, work and do business. We have learnt that only those organizations that adapt quickly to the changing environment, forge better ways of working, and create resilient business models built around customer needs and expectations will be the ones that succeed in a post-COVID world. We have been thrust by necessity into a digital-first future in every aspect of business. Throughout this journey to the new normal working with major Global Fortune 500 companies across industries and geographies, we see five clear, undeniable trends emerge that are dramatically and rapidly reshaping businesses and industries around the world.
Moving from offline to online: Many companies around the world moved simultaneously from online being just a channel to it being the primary engine of their businesses, creating one of the biggest collective business-model shifts in history. From virtual doctors becoming a norm for patients and educational institutions moving online, to pharmaceutical sales happening over video, and banking embracing remote operations, online became the only way to operate and do business. This shift is here to stay and will have a lasting impact.
Virtualization of all technology, services and solutions delivery:Digital transformation in 2020 has enabled people across the world to complete a task anywhere, at anytime from any device. The future of distributed work will be one where organizations and employees evolve from simply work-from-home out of necessity to a “work-from-anywhere” model. Importantly, organizations are realizing that distributed virtual work is just as effective when compared to in-office work. In doing so, organizations will require a “virtual culture of shared purpose,” with a true sense of humanity, humility, and empathy.
“Cloud” is defining the future: The digital transformations that organizations had planned to accomplish in three to five years are now being fast tracked to finish in less than 18 months. This acceleration of cloud journeys is for better automation, prediction, or collaboration. However, companies must reorganize their digital core and IT infrastructure to make full use of the cloud. CTOs and CEOs need to review and refine business processes to operate at a new level of flexibility, agility, and security to maximize the ROI of their cloud investments. Success also calls for multi-disciplinary teams with a mix of deep industry knowledge, business-process expertise, and technology know-how, all laser focused on creating holistic cloud adoption.
Growth in predictive analytics for actionable insights: Covid-19 has elevated the role prediction plays in meeting customer demand, delighting the customer, mitigating risks, avoiding downtime etc. For example, as global supply and consumer demands change overnight, the consumer goods and retail industry needs much more real-time predictive insights to respond. Similarly, real-time predictive insights have also been critical in helping companies create accurate financial forecasts in an environment where old models no longer apply, enabling better decision making for people, cost and growth strategies. Predictive analytics is now being ingrained in organizations’ DNA. It is no longer optional. It is a necessity for business success.
Human centered design for a delightful process and collaboration experience: The world of digital will now demand a much better user and customer experience. For example, with Covid-19, retailers struggled to deliver not just goods but also quality customer experience. Customers moved online overnight and relied on e-commerce websites for timely delivery of products. However, the pandemic-induced lockdown led to delayed shipments, endless calls to customer service, and missed orders, which overloaded employees and disappointed suppliers and partners at critical moments. This prompted organizations to increase visibility in their processes by connecting the front to the middle and back office as well as across their ecosystems of suppliers and partners. The focus will be on building an “experience economy” that can connect people, process, and technology effectively to deliver memorable experiences.
Covid-19 has reminded us that there is always uncertainty in the future. But it also taught us the importance of being nimble enough to rapidly shape our business strategies, and rethink operational models. As we navigate through 2021, we’re armed with profound learnings to create a stronger, more resilient path forward.
By Tiger Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact