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Rethinking your Business Model post COVID-19 pandemic

Updated: Dec 8, 2021


One of the most important business lessons COVID-19 has taught us, is that those businesses that started their digital journey prior to the pandemic were better equipped with regards business continuity than those stuck in the proverbial groove. Those already on their digital journey could leverage their investments, whilst others had to pause their business and hope for everything to return to normal or implement digital practices in a hurry in difficult circumstances.

The concept of digital transformation and digital enablement does not necessarily mean that your business is going to disrupt the industry, more like your business will be disrupted to accommodate the change. Companies such as Uber, Netflix and Airbnb changed the way their core industries operated through a digital disruption – this will not be the path for every company on a digital journey. Disruption, as a result of digital transformation, forces a business to rethink its business model and this is not something that every business can afford.

Digital enablement can achieve one of the following business objectives:

Optimisation – this is crucial to extend the current lifespan of a business or product. Through optimisation we add incremental value to the process and prolong the existence of a business, process or product.

Innovation – this typically involves the latest technology and how this can be applied to your business or product. Innovation will see a business develop new products or services based on latest technologies and concepts.

Disruption – this refers to the creation of new business models to reach, and in some cases create new customer segments. Companies who disrupt build new businesses within current industries and change customer behaviour through their newly found business model.

Businesses that were able to operate during the lock-down typically were businesses that had a clear strategy around some of the following aspects:

1. Adoption of a Digital Workplace – create an environment for the business to operate online and where physical presence of ones workforce is no longer required. A digital workplace enables an employee to operate from anywhere with access to business resources, no matter where they are.

2. Cloud for Infrastructure and Platform – business infrastructure hosted in the cloud through IaaS and PaaS architecture models. Cloud enables production and development workloads to be globally available 24/7.

3. Interactive Mobile and Web Platforms – allow customers and other stakeholders to interact with the business via web and mobile platforms. These platforms enable customers and other stakeholders to have access and interact with the business any time of day and without physical presence.

4. Data Analytics & AI – a robust data platform enables businesses to be more data driven. All businesses, no matter the industry or size, needs to have access to quality information to make better decisions. Investing in data analytics and AI enables companies to optimize their current business processes but in certain cases also creates new revenue streams.

5. e-Commerce – enabling the business to trade online if the company’s product or service offering allows for this to be done. e-Commerce typically ties into a business’s strategy around its mobile and web platforms but specifically considers how to do business (commerce) online and is a key component of the on-demand shift made by consumers.

6. Bots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) – originally, "bot" was a shortened version of "robot", but now it means robots without bodies. Bots (such as ChatBots) can assist with functions such as call centres agents or first line IT support. RPA on the other hand can automate routine operations (for example routine finance operations or recons) across your entire organisation saving time and resources, eliminating costs and enhancing productivity.

7. IoT – the Internet of Things (IoT) is becoming more relevant to businesses in both internal applications as well as a product or service to customers. Internal IoT can drive process optimisation while externally IoT products and services are developed as additional or new product offerings for clients.

8. Robotics – the use of robotics brings the ability to automate processes such as manufacturing and allows continuation of operation without physical human presence.

9. Digital Marketing and Social Presence – having a digital marketing strategy and social media presence assists with building brand confidence and marketing efforts. New business development is taking a new angle when it comes to customer acquisition and engagement with interaction through social channels proving a key to success.

The TrueNorth Group partners with businesses on their digital journey to define a strategy that assists with the implementation of a digital roadmap. For more information contact TrueNorth Group at info@truenorthgroup.co.za.
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