The pandemic is forcing adoption of new business models, including co-sourced workforce structures, acceleration of digital businesses at the expense of traditional physical channels and a digital experience that increases customer engagement.
As many organizations scramble to adapt to these new conditions, some have been hampered by a lack of digital preparedness. Legacy and siloed technologies – always high-cost and slow-moving – are now an even greater liability. And companies without adequate protection against cyberattacks are at increased risk as cybercriminals exploit opportunities in newly digitized operations and with staff working beyond the firewall.
As enterprises work to build a more resilient, flexible enterprise, digital technologies will be critical. Focusing on three key areas can guide an effective approach:
1. Rebalance IT operations to support new commerce models
This will enhance digital sales channels, the virtual customer experience and direct-to-customer delivery methods.
2. Use the crisis to rethink digital strategy
Now is the time to make those hard decisions around replacing legacy technologies, expanding cloud infrastructure and assessing new technologies, including contactless payments, 3D printing and augmented and virtual reality. One global energy company is using intelligent platforms to augment its workforce with sensor-based systems built into production, refineries and transportation. These allow workers to track maintenance, production and emissions from remote locations.
3. Double down on cyber-security as threats escalate
Ensure data is safe (and backed up) and that virtual infrastructure is secure. Review your endpoint and mobile security and revamp where necessary. Consider how to better support the security of third parties such as suppliers, customers and contractors.
Leaders will need to be mindful that strengthened security measures do not have to mean a slow down to the business at a time when agility is critical. We’re helping a global investment firm get the balance right through the development of a “zero trust” guiding strategy – i.e. requiring verification from everyone – that is built upon architecture that allows for micro-segmentation and identity-centric integration. This provides a more effective and flexible defence against the current generation of security threats.
Which side of the digital divide will you be on?
After the 2008 recession, a small percentage of companies – less than 10% – emerged stronger than before. Their winning strategy? Balancing cost cutting through divestments with selective investment, primarily in new technologies.
EY believes the COVID-19 crisis will see a similar scenario play out, but on a bigger scale. Expect a widening of the digital divide that already exists between leading and lagging firms. The enterprises on the winning side will be those that accelerate digital transformation to fast-track recovery.