Unprecedented headwinds over the past two years – pandemic, war, labor and supply chain challenges, inflation – are making it far more challenging to run a business. Under pressure to reduce costs and increase efficiency, many companies are turning to automation and cloud technology to drive immediate value across all departments.
Parallels between the start of the pandemic and this new phase of global uncertainty are striking. Companies that accelerated their digital transformation during the public health crisis were able to pivot quickly and come out stronger. The same applies today.
According to Accenture research, “Leader” businesses doubled down on their tech investment during 2020 and 2021. As a result, they are now growing five times faster than “Laggard” businesses. It also found a new group of “Leapfrogger” businesses. Those that targeted more than twice as many processes for digital transformation during the pandemic are now growing four times faster than Laggards and closing the gap on Leaders.
In today’s high-cost environment, leaning into digital investment is an essential enabler for driving efficiency and profitability, while boosting innovation and ensuring competitive advantage.
Automation as a strategic asset
According to Statista, worldwide spending on the two primary types of business automation – robotic process automation and intelligent process automation – is expected to hit $19.3 billion this year, up from $13.6b. two years ago. The impact is profound, affecting the way we work and serve customers.
AI and machine learning are being used by major global manufacturers and retailers to rethink supply chain management, to effectively manage rising supplier prices, and to determine how best to meet customer purchasing preferences.
Companies need to create incredible customer experiences across every interaction to stay competitive. For retailers, this means infusing digital across the entire physical and virtual shopping journey to deliver seamless and personalized experiences.
Across the public sector from vaccine distribution management to call center operations, governments and citizens have seen first-hand the power of what technology can do for them, delivering high-quality digital services, driving efficiencies and cost-effectiveness.
Automation is also playing a major role in workforce engagement, reducing time spent on repetitive tasks and empowering workers to focus on more strategic activity. Collaborative technologies are reimagining how teams work together, organize their people, and deliver greater customer experiences in this digital-first and work-from-anywhere world.
It is these kinds of experiences that businesses will look to drive customer and employee loyalty and help protect the bottom line.
Building better resilience
Businesses that adapt to changes quickest will thrive. It’s even more significant in times of uncertainty, such as the current economic climate companies operate in. Although we cannot predict the future, we can be strategic and build better resilience.
As disruption continues, CEOs who previously delegated their digital strategy will want to take direct leadership today. From business performance, employee skills preparedness, societal equity to climate change, technology is fundamental to driving efficiencies and smarter implementation in all these areas.
The current climate not only poses uncertainty and challenges to business, it also presents opportunities. Organizations that can maneuver through disruptive periods by striving to excel and up their game rather than have only a survivability state of mind, will most probably come out of the challenging period far stronger. These organizations, led by inspirational leaders, realize today more than ever that technology is an essential enabler in driving the digital transformation process.
Investing in the right technology and partners, together with adapting the company’s communication, and customer engagement strategy to the evolving environment conditions will most definitely strengthen the company’s positioning going forward. It will help solve customers’ problems, ensure seamless service from anywhere, and adapt to customers’ changing priorities.
This approach will maximize the probability of coming out of the disruptive period far stronger. The companies driving this proactive approach will have a greater chance to further solidify their leadership position or become the future leaders of their industry.
The writer is area vice president and Israel sales leader at Salesforce Israel.