Now Is the Time for Businesses To Plan Digital Transformation

January 1, 1970


By David Singletary 

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a shock to businesses in many ways, and some are coping better than others. The situation shines a particularly bright light on businesses’ ability to react quickly and to invoke business continuity plans, especially where it comes to deployment of technology for remote work.

Those who were technologically ready and executed their plans swiftly had little or no downtime, while those who lacked a plan or were trapped using inappropriate tech tools are struggling. Specifically, companies that relied on legacy or on-premise solutions have had a harder time getting their employees access to necessary data, systems, and tools.

Many of these companies lost productivity while they scrambled to set up new systems. And some continue to have issues once they are set up with at least a secure VPN, if not more robust technology. Many are facing unstable connections that cause them to be constantly dropped from their VPN, requiring calls to their IT team to come to the rescue.

Many newly working-from-home employees have quickly become exports with Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and that has made things somewhat better. But processes that were once taken for granted are now disrupted. Some companies still have people go to the office to pick-up vendor invoices and process checks despite having work-from-home capabilities. Employees can’t access forms that are stuck in filing cabinets and never copied into digital storage.

As we begin to leave our home offices and start the trek back to “normalcy,” it’s worth thinking about lessons learned. What processes do we need to put in place in the event we are forced to quarantine again? What technologies can we put in place that will help even when things are back to normal?

Planning during the next several months should focus on preparing to react flexibly and quickly to changing circumstances. Here are some considerations to make sure you’re ready for anything.

Design a Recovery Plan

First, if you haven’t already done so, put together a business continuity plan. This plan will be your roadmap to recovery in the case of any business interruption. The plan should include the who, want, when, and where laying out how to get back up and running as soon as possible, remotely or not.

Move to Cloud Computing

If you struggled to easily access your software while working from home, it might be time to think about moving your company to the cloud. People have been talking about this for years, but many have continued to delay. Now is probably a good time to consider it. Think about how easy it would be to just log into a website to continue to do your job without interruption.

The most innovative companies offer some form of cloud computing, as they realize the future is now. Firms that embrace digital tech transformation, according to a 2016 Harvard Business School study, saw an average 55% growth in gross margins over a three year period. That’s growth that will cascade down through earnings, net income, and profits. Meanwhile, companies that weren’t sufficiently prepared to embrace digital tech had substantially lower margin growth (just 37%) during the same period. It might be time to embrace digital transformation.

Go Paperless

The age-old method of getting a handwritten signature on a document and storing it in a filing cabinet may become a thing of the past. There are workflow solutions that allow you to electronically sign, approve, and store your documents. This allows you to continue work from wherever you are, even if you are on a cell phone. It takes just four easy steps to create a paperless company.


Using automation and machine learning can streamline your operations in ways that will make work continuity easier. Ask yourself what processes you can automate. Accounts payable is one of the easier entry points into the world of automation and machine learning. With a plethora of software solutions geared to streamline this process, it’s simply a matter of finding the best solution.

There are things that you must consider when trying to make this transition. You have to decide what problem you are trying to solve. Are you trying to reduce the amount of paper invoices you have to manually key in? Do you need a way to speed up the approval process? Do you want to outsource some of the payment responsibilities in order to focus resources on other initiatives?

All the aforementioned technology trends rely on stable, high-speed, and affordable internet. 5G capabilities might be the answer. [Maybe a link to our podcast on 5G.]

Please contact me if you would like to discuss these topics and get help planning your digital transformation.


Reach out to a Wiss team member for more information or assistance.

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