Blog post written by Susan Obasi-Ikeagwu, Executive Director of Restore Missions Solution
Digital transformation has been a popular term in technology circles for more than a decade but it wasn’t a term that resonated with many small and medium sized entrepreneurs (SMEs) and NGOs, especially in the grassroot communities. Many failed to prioritise this either for lack of resources or lack of understanding of the importance to their business. COVID-19 changed all of that and made digital transformation a pillar to business continuity.
As the pandemic caused global closures and sent non-essential workers home, NGOs and SMEs were not left out. Some grassroot businesses grew digitally and expanded their reach beyond physical limitations. This goes to show that, “change is the only constant phenomenon of this universe.” Be it in business or life, changing the way we do things is a must in order to keep up with our fast-paced world. Businesses that are too rigid to adapt to new mechanisms for day-to-day business activities are bound to fail in the evolving digital era.
Thankfully, we seem to have made it through the darkest days of the COVID-19, and as we begin to journey towards the next “normal”, what next? Some are waiting for things to get back to the way they were. Not only is this hope in vain, it is a dangerous fable. Things will not be going back to the way that they were, and even a “new normal” will be transient. Digital transformation is here to stay. Some pre-pandemic adaptations will last post-pandemic because businesses are more resilient and strengthened using digital tools (i.e., cloud, mobile apps, Microsoft team, Google suite & office 365, social media, website, etc.) to create new – or modify existing business processes, culture and customer experience to meet changing business and market requirement.
Now that smaller businesses and their consumers have seen the power of digital transformation on productivity, collaboration and competitiveness, the rate of change will continue. For example, most businesses will likely continue their business operations digitally – merchandise online and conduct transactions digitally by selling on e-commerce web portals, using Al-based customer service, accept digital payments. The hybrid – mix of traditional and non-traditional model, seem to be one that is here to stay because it promotes collaboration, generate leads, opens doors for new opportunities, new sources of revenue and meets the demand of current consumers.
However, as smaller businesses and NGOs quickly adapt to digital solutions in their business process on a reactionary basis in response to the pandemic, they should now take a step back and look at those solutions, particularly to address privacy, security and compliance issues, as well as ensure that the digital solution they are adopting aligns with the organisation’s mission and overall business goal.
More importantly, adoption of new digital solutions should be subject to post-implementation diligence to ensure that privacy, security and other legal and regulatory standards are being met.
So, do you have adequate guardrails in place to control flow and processing of personally identifiable information (PII) or other regulated data to control who has access to such information?
Have you developed a post-pandemic strategic implementation plan for review of newly implemented solutions and business strategy?
Restore Missions Solution has a coaching and consulting program, that is designed to help current and future entrepreneurs and NGOs develop the awareness of core aspects of digital technology and how to adopt digital technology responsibly in a way that is beneficial to your organization. You can find out more here.