Future of digital transformation in post-COVID times

The ‘new normal’ of working from home is bringing about a radical shift across all facets of business and companies are exploring creative ways to onboard and engender more meaningful employee engagement.

Brij Singh

Bindu Reddy

Future of digital transformation in post-COVID times

Thursday September 03, 2020,

5 min Read

digital transformation

Digital transformation of most industries had already begun more than a decade back, especially in the developed world. Till 2020, “Work” was still defined in “Industry” terms – the 100-year-old Factory Model of humans going from “home” to “factory/office”.

These six months have obliterated this model and we will witness far reaching changes and opportunities for technology entrepreneurs and investors in the coming decade.

Though offices and factories are not going anywhere, people still need places to have physical interaction in a professional setting. But the nature and need of it will change.

What are some of the types of industries and roles that will be affected or changed significantly? Here are five such roles/processes that, in our opinion, will go through this paradigm shift and the practical ways in which people currently in those roles need to equip themselves for the coming decade.

From Selling and Buying to Trust Building

In most B2B transactions above a certain ticket size, it was personal interaction and relationship building that would typically close the sale. This ticket size will be pushed up even higher, with only the truly complicated transactions requiring face-to-face interactions.

There will be a lot more reliance on a step-by-step, data-driven decision-making paradigm on closing sales.

Folks at Whitehat Jr were able to achieve enormous scale with the implementation of technology on the sales side using a data-driven and a highly process-oriented approach. “Since the beginning, our company was tech-driven and built systems over the past year to scale rapidly.

As a result, even during the pandemic we were able to onboard 200-300 employees on a weekly basis and scale from 600 employees to 4000 employees in a matter of couple of months”, says Gaurav Yadav, VP Sales at Whitehat Jr.

The company adopted Salesforce and custom-built applications to implement sales plans. The main objective was to track the number of sales calls, send reminders to follow-up, create logic and recommendation to sales personnel. This enabled them to create very specific input/output plans for every sales person and then link it to their performance plans.

From Customer Service to Service Enhancer

Customer service roles especially through phone and chat are already getting automated. The trend will accelerate into inside sales as well, where most customer interaction would be guided through processes that are explicitly designed for most use cases. The edge case handling will require a significantly higher empathetic response together with a strong solution-driven mindset.

Automation will be a key to better customer service. In recent times, at the onset of the pandemic, FlightHub and JustFly assembled a team of developers to automate a dedicated hotline to quickly respond to cancellations, rescheduling and refund requests and were able to process 5,000 refunds instantaneously, with no verbal communication. About 80% of refund requests were handled automatically, and only 20% of cases required human involvement.

Going forward, a combination of cutting-edge technology with the personal touch to provide exceptional customer service becomes crucial while interesting opportunities open up to build deep connection with customers.

From Paper Processor to Process Creator

All internal functions such as vendor management, document processors and finance could be made significantly redundant through a mix of Robotic Process Automation and Natural Language Processing.

Individuals in these roles will see the nature of their jobs change as companies will reduce team sizes and make the remaining members work with technology providers to automate their jobs further, thereby reducing their need even further.

As the Covid-19 pandemic created stress on the system, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai switched to an RPA solution developed by UiPath and EY India to generate bulk e-passes for service aggregators supplying essential supplies and services to residents of Mumbai, reducing the time spent by their staff on redundant tasks considerably.

With the help of an RPA solution from Kryon, Maccabi Health Care Services was able to collate and move all the Israeli Health Ministry’s coronavirus testing data into their core database in just 48 hours which would normally take one to two months.

From Human Resources to Nurturing Humans

Human resources functions will go through significant transformation, right from hiring process to people management. No longer can they rely on the set processes of cookie-cutter onboarding of every human in the same manner and drag them through similar support and appraisal functions.

As the nature of the roles in the organisations experience churn and the nature of interactions between humans undergo a sea change, the most aware and effective resource managers will transform and nurture their teams through careful and personalised approach.

Work from home is working. Our conversation with Abhash Kumar, head of marketing at Springworks, a Bangalore-based HR-tech company, was an eye-opener on how the company was able to achieve higher employee satisfaction even under remote work conditions.

Unlike most other companies, Springworks has kept up with their hiring even during the pandemic. The company has hired about 12 people all via virtual interviews. One key change that was brought about was in the hiring process itself. Unlike the traditional methods of hierarchical interview process, the final interview was conducted with a four or five-member senior management panel to assess the candidate and fit with the company and vice-versa. The candidate also presents a 90-day plan mainly to get all the stakeholders on the same page in the initial phase.

The company uses technology to keep the employee motivation high with their in-house app Trivia, an app for improving employee engagement by conducting short quizzes and puzzles. To enable employee appreciation virtually, the company has built an app SpringEngage for Slack and Microsoft Teams where a kudos/shout-out can be shared to appreciate specific employee contribution.

Implementing innovative ways and methods to onboard and engage employees become crucial and some of these methods and processes are here to stay.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)