Most business looked smooth and dandy when Covid struck. As usual, the first reaction was hope that it would go away soon enough, and our thinking and business would not be affected. Well, Covid proved us wrong. Not only did it came to stay, but it came demanding that our decades-long way of reasoning must be changed, all across the board. Confinement and full lockdowns have been a revelation for what can and should be improved.
Governments and public administrations around the world were stuck in their existing legislation produced, and mostly never changed, for citizens to deal with papers and physical presence at the official offices. There are few and honourable exceptions, such as Estonia where paper is abolished from administrative processes and even physical offices open to the public are virtually inexistent. Laws must change, eventually even constitutional laws must change in order to allows citizens, and their elected governments, to benefit from what technology has to offer.
Education systems have been a place for mandatory physical presence, namely schools for kids where the social interaction is an important part of learning. But there are other areas where a physical presence is still necessary, such as practical medical classes, engineering labs and so forth; however, in a situation of crisis, there are already tools to allow for remote classes and these should be also adopted-by/adapted-for schools to facilitate the task of teachers and parents of kids, during lockdowns for whatever reason.
Business has been clearly been put to the test. Covid has pushed the world to a disruptive context and although people can, eventually, connect from home to the office computers the fact is that paperwork is still there, at the office. Digitizing papers or centralizing emails have always been considered not worth the effort because staff was supposed to be working at the office, where everybody is, as well as paper archives on the shelves and, hence, all the needed information was available with a quick walk around the room talking to whoever proved necessary. Not only are we now not at the office, but even the familiar software has shown limitations when used outside the “usual” framework.
Technology and software functionalities have evolved hugely these last few years and those details are absolutely overwhelming for those who need to act and make strategic decisions facing this opportunity of evolution. On the other hand, the status-quo of “things have always been done like this” is so powerful that it is, indeed, very challenging for managers to think outside the box. In organizations, anything related to software has always been pushed into the IT area for decisions, but this is a mistake because, although IT is necessary at some point, the basic purpose of software is to automate business rules, even the organization’s very specific business rules, and release resources to think and decide on the core business and associated strategies.
“Digital Transformation” is more than a buzzword nowadays. It is being used ad-nauseam for all sorts of sales opportunities and marketing presentations, but what I believe in is that nowadays Digital Transformation has mostly to do with people and not technology. We already have available all the technology we need for the large majority of businesses; what we do not have are the eager C-suite minds to use the available technology in order to make their businesses best-in-class with the maximum efficiency and at the lowest cost. Software and infrastructures, such the cloud, must be better used.
Software must be permanently flexible to be continuously adaptable to each organization’s requirements. The laws must change to allow for the (secure) use of the new functionalities.
Now, it is the mind, not the technology. Please upgrade your Brainware asap.