Digital transformation can't happen unless it's planned.
Depending on company size, regulatory requirements, and the scope of change, digital transformation initiatives are typically mapped over the course of months or years. Without a well thought out plan spanning months or years, innovation can’t happen, right?
Not necessarily the case, as COVID-19 has shown.
While long term planning might be ideal, giving companies a chance to assess their current strategies, survey customers, and do their due diligence, COVID-19 pushed companies to toss out the multi-year roadmaps and get moving overnight.
And move they did. One of the unplanned changes spurred by the pandemic has been the adoption of an average of three new communications channels. The urgency and anxiety surrounding the global pandemic led to live chat topping the list of newly adopted channels, at 35 percent of respondents. One in three companies started using live chat and IVR channels for the first time as a result of COVID-19.
The trend of consumer preferences shifting toward two-way messaging has been long coming, as described in our2020 State of Customer Engagement report. The challenges many businesses are facing with remote workforces and immovable contact centers expose new opportunities for messaging-based support.
Digital transformation strategies take a while.
In addition to the stages of planning digital transformation, implementation and deployment can take months or years before they come into fruition.
That is, until COVID-19.
Our research found that 97 percent of enterprise decision makers said the pandemic sped up their company’s digital transformation, and 46 percent said COVID-19 drastically accelerated their digital communication transformation efforts.
On average, companies’ digital communications strategy advanced by an average of six years. Companies in Japan, Germany and Singapore say COVID-19 has accelerated their digital communications strategy by more than seven years.
Among the variety of companies surveyed, 78 percent of tech companies, 77 percent of energy companies and 74 percent of healthcare organizations say the pandemic sped up their digital transformation a great deal.
A key factor in that speedy progress is that budgets for digital transformation increased for 79 percent of respondents, in light of the pandemic, which brings us to our next myth...
There are major barriers that prevent companies from innovating in their digital communications strategies.
If you asked a group of company leaders what typically holds them back in terms of innovation, most would name plenty of hurdles: lack of budget, lack of executive buy-in, lack of strategic planning, just to name a few.
Yet faced with the unique challenges COVID-19 posed, businesses found ways to innovate despite those usually daunting barriers.
Nearly all (92 percent) of respondents said the coronavirus pandemic broke down one or more barriers to digital transformation, including getting executive approval or buy-in; reluctance to replace legacy software; or lack of time, skills, engineering support, a clear transformation strategy, or budget.
During this crisis and for the unknown risks ahead, the foundation of an effective business continuity plan is characterized by elasticity, flexibility, and scalability of your communications and customer engagement infrastructure. Digital communication strategies are now being rewritten.