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Maximizing Digital Resilience for What Comes Next

As practically all business was put on indefinite pause last March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the investment portfolio companies of venture capital firms, which had previously approached digital transformation with great trepidation, suddenly found themselves at a crossroads. For some, the lack of strategy about and urgency toward embracing digital as a way to sustain their business have now made them irrelevant, while those who were agile enough to evolve their business model and had the foresight to embrace disruption have thrived. The pandemic has placed organizations, employees and consumers in an all-or-nothing situation, where embracing digital and transformative technologies isn’t just an option, but an indispensable tool in demonstrating their resilience for what comes next.

Consider these statistics about the response to COVID-19 across several consumer and business-to-business sectors:

“Nearly two-thirds of respondents believe that organizations that don’t digitize in the next five years will be doomed.” Deloitte

Brands that doubled down on insights, stayed agile through automation and made data-driven decisions, not only survived the last year, but thrived.” Google

In 2013, the term digital transformation was coined in response to changing times. With over 491,000,000indexed search results, digital transformation has been one of the most talked about and overused phrases in every boardroom, as well as an underdelivered-upon commitment. Published in 2019, Tom Siebel’s “Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction,” explains why elastic cloud computing, big data, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are the core pillars of harnessing digital transformation. His use of the term “an extinct dinosaur” pertains to those organizations that didn’t feel the need to innovate. Blockbuster and Netflix, Motorola and the iPhone, and hotels and Airbnb are just a few examples of the companies that he references.

Consider these statistics about the response to COVID-19 across several consumer and business-to-business sectors:

“On average, digital offerings have leapfrogged seven years of progress in a matter of months.” – McKinsey

60% of respondents to the same McKinsey study believe shifts in consumer behavior and demands are here for good.

Maximizing Digital Resilience For What Comes Next

Successfully implementing any digital transformation and fundamental shift in the corporate culture mindset must begin with the CEO conveying the imperative “Why?” Bart Schlatmann, CEO of Allianz Direct, explains here:

“The story should start from a client perspective and clearly spell out what the company hopes to achieve. A mistake I have often seen made is that executives forget to communicate the why. They tend to communicate what they need and how they want their teams to deliver this. Teams nevertheless want to understand the underlying why. Without conveying this “North Star,” one will never win the hearts and minds of those who actually are so critical to the delivery of a new business goal.”

“A mistake I have often seen made is that executives forget to communicate the why”

ask_why?

As consumer behavior during the pandemic evolved rapidly, so did the way brands track real-time insights, and then they applied these insights across their organizations to establish new processes and digital marketing strategies that were “flexible, contextual, fast and data-driven.”

When an organization is empowered by customer data and analytics, the strategy guiding the digital transformation is validated by answering the question of how this investment will create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.  Will it fill a void for the customer or provide a service they can’t get anywhere else? Will it drive more revenue and margin?

An example of such a digital transformation took place in March 2020: With over 70 retail furniture and mattress locations throughout the Midwest, our client FFO Home recognized that when their stores were forced to close due to the pandemic, they needed to pivot their in-store shopping model to a multifaceted direct-to-consumer website that allowed for shipping or store pickup. Within the first month after the site’s relaunch and during the height of COVID-19, there was a threefold increase in sales over the prior year, a 10% increase in average orders, a 10% lower bounce rate, a 30% increase in pages per session and over 1,000 inbound leads were captured.

How resilient were the companies within your investment portfolio? Were they able to pivot and thrive, or are they still struggling to catch up? Tell us. Or, if you’d like, email us to learn more about our approach to envisioning a digital-first marketing roadmap.

Explore Our Digital Transformation Case Studies