A great transformation takes a great deal of energy. A crisis generates that energy and with boundaries completely reshaped a new normal has to be created.
There is obviously a hope that this great transformation will be great not just a massive shift. It must be a transformation that is great for companies, customers and culture.
Right now, with 3.4 billion people in lockdown, it is hard to see what the results of the great transformation will look like but already there are some indications rising above the panic and disbelief from which many are suffering. The first tangible results will start coming through this week.
The digital world was already undergoing its great transformation and hardly a day passed without someone promoting the advantages of a digital transformation. It was the fodder of conferences, research bodies and trade associations.
Now that we are forced to do things differently, and digitally, we can begin to see the shape of the future.
Already managers are seeing the enormous cost savings of having a remote workforce. Savings on petrol alone are running into the millions of dollars. Savings on time are equating to an extra day a week. Efficiency is through the roof. Managers can get their teams on a Zoom or BlueJeans call at an hour’s notice, without the need to be polite and political in an office environment.
A great transformation is obviously not without cost. Right now digital service providers are looking at greater usage of their services, without the extra revenue that would normally be associated with that spike. Many companies will have to work out how to monetise their services with a very different usage profile.
Many more companies will have to reinvent themselves or die. Sectors that we thought of as utilities will drastically reduce in size. The obvious ones will be the airline and the oil sectors and many arenas that are associated with them.
Without question the disruption will on a scale never seen before except in wartime. How we work, how we balance our lives and how we rediscover the art of innovation and creativity will all be reinvented.
Digital devices will now go from ‘technology’ to our way of life. We will continue (at least here is the hope) to talk to people that we would not ‘normally’ think of talking to – when we were ‘too busy’.
Now is the time to think about every aspect of work (and life) and to ask questions that we were too busy to ask.
For instance, do you really prefer talking to a human being when you are calling customer service? Or is it time to face the fact that getting a problem sorted by a clever intuitive robot is probably faster and more efficient – and less frustrating.
This coronavirus has triggered a great transformation and it will disrupt and change our lives forever. Let us hope that it will be – when we have the leisure to reflect on it – remembered as the year of the Great Transformation, not just a year of massive upheaval and gloom.