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Digital Transformation |  3 min read

Were You Prepared for the Unexpected?

Mark Matic looks at why some organisations where much better prepared for the disruption caused by COVID-19 than others.

The global coronavirus pandemic has taught us all a lot. We’ve seen how entire sectors can come to a standstill almost overnight. We’ve seen how quickly disruption can come out of nowhere and how it can change not just one industry but our entire economy.

But we’ve also seen what’s possible when organisations are forced to adapt and modernise.

I was impressed to see how quick some organisations were able to respond to the new environment they found themselves in. Initiatives that had been bubbling under the surface, but never really turned into anything, were suddenly a priority. Things like moving to the cloud, enabling remote working and tracking the movements of field workers had been considered by many businesses for years without much progress. But throw in a global pandemic to create some urgency and suddenly, things that seemed impossible or requiring months of careful planning were implemented overnight.

However, I’ve also seen the opposite. Not all businesses were able to respond to the changing situation quickly enough. For some organisations, adjusting to social distancing, remote working, contact tracing and changing market demands was much harder – in some cases impossible.

Why? Well, to be fair, there are probably a range of factors that play a part. However, for me, as a technology and digital enablement expert, two factors stand out: the technology organisations use and their approach to change and digital modernisation.

From a technology perspective, it’s clear that some organisations where much better prepared for a disruption like COVID-19 than others. Those who had invested in modern systems were able to adjust much quicker. With their advanced systems in place, they were able to ‘turn on’ capabilities that allowed them to respond quickly and operate efficiently in the new environment. For organisations with legacy systems, on the other hand, it was much harder to activate the capabilities needed to support things like remote working and contact-tracing.

However, it’s not just about the technology and systems an organisation currently has in the business. Just as important is their approach to ongoing modernisation and change. Technology is developing faster than ever before. Without ongoing investment, the most modern system today will be out of date in 12 months.

It’s those organisations that take an agile and nimble approach towards keeping on top of systems and technology that are best placed to thrive in times of disruption – or at least survive. Those businesses and public sector institutions who continuously review, develop and test their digital capabilities and constantly challenge themselves to be better will have a competitive advantage when the environment they operate in changes quickly and unexpectedly.

Organisations with an agile culture are used to change and fast-paced developments. Whether it is a global pandemic, a new competitor or new technology that challenges the way they operate, agile teams are set up to thrive at times of change instead of crumbling and hoping for a quick return to normal.

While I certainly hope this will be the first and last global pandemic my generation experiences, we know it certainly won’t be the last time industries and markets get disrupted. In today’s fast-moving world, the next disruption to almost any sector is only a matter of time.

Organisations who want to stay competitive throughout these disruptions and turbulent times need to invest in modern digital systems and adopt an agile and nimble culture to make sure they are ready to not only cope but thrive next time their market gets disrupted.

At Forge, we specialise in helping private and public sector organisations modernise their systems and turn their digital ambition into reality. If you want to learn more about how to prepare your organisation and systems for the next disruption, get in touch with us today.


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