When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit, a lot of businesses were scrambling. Many employees had to work from home, but the digital infrastructure companies provided them was often spotty at best. The sheer necessity to change in order to survive is what made many businesses jumpstart their digital transformation initiatives.

In the wake of this crisis, the economy, businesses, and services had to go through a major transformation. Several tech companies are now developing solutions for other firms to stay afloat, and most industries had to adopt digital means to keep their services working along with maintaining social distancing protocols. Digital transformation is not ‘nice to have’, it is absolutely crucial to continue operating in a new dynamic and often hostile market environment.

The term digital transformation refers to the process by which an industry, business or service adopts digital methods to transform, be more accessible, and evolve. In any business or industry, there are four main areas that undergo a digital transformation: Business processes, business models, domains, and the transformation based on culture or organization. For an industry to be considered digitally transformed, all four areas need to undergo a transformation by adopting digital means for operations. Digital transformation stands on six pillars: Experience, people, change, leadership, innovation, and culture.

Any industry, be it service based or product based, relies heavily on experience. Here, experience can mean both that of employees and customers. For any existing problem, there will always be a number of institutions working to provide a solution. In these cases, it is important to develop a solution that satisfies customers and ensure that the employees who are working on the solution are in it for the long term which guarantees fewer disruptions.

With the amount of technology that is needed to transform any business model, we often skip over the most important element of the transformation: People. Technology is crucial to transform business models, but in the end, it is the people who are controlling the technology – which makes them a very important component of digital transformation. The word transformation signifies change that could take any shape or form. For a successful digital transformation, all elements associated with the area or process being transformed need to be comfortable with the idea of change. No evolution in history happens without change. This brings us to the next pillar of digital transformation, leadership. For any project to be successful, there is undoubtedly need for a leader. With the market changing so fast and new methods getting adopted every day, it is necessary to have someone who can quickly adapt and be accountable for all these changes.

The introduction of any new technology comes with a lot of effort. It can happen only when innovative minds are working together. Innovation, in this case, is not just about skills, but also about communication and teamwork. The idea of improvising on existing infrastructure is what innovation is based on.

Finally, all of these five pillars are held together by culture. The culture, environment, mission, and vision of the organization have a huge impact on the type, speed, and magnitude of transformation that organizations can tackle. The culture of a company speaks a lot about its values and how it functions. The stronger the culture, the more innovation and change the organization can take.

Only if all of these pillars are strong enough to support the business will companies be able to successfully digitally transform and defy any crisis.

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