The CXO imperative: Driving digital resilience to future-proof businesses

Digital resilience has proven to be a necessity for the survival of businesses as the pandemic wears on and is becoming increasingly critical for ensuring their long-term success.

At the start of the pandemic, APAC businesses were generally the least prepared for disruption from a digitisation and workflows perspective. However, it later proved to rebound the most effectively across the globe, leading to the region’s response being seen by the rest of the world as a best-in-class example of resilience.

Digital resilience has proven to be a necessity for survival as the pandemic wears on. As part of IDC Live 2021, CXO Imperative: Driving Digital Resilience to Future-Proof the Business, IDC and Adobe invited APAC business leaders to discuss the road ahead when it comes to digital transformation and future-proofing organisations. Here are key takeaways from the session.

Digitising workflows and processes are key to driving operational efficiencies.

Across industries, physical documents underpin many business transactions and heavily determine the pace of operations. Digitising these processes and workflows will be essential to driving efficiency, as well as improving internal and external collaboration in the post-pandemic world.

When it comes to enhancing business agility and workflows, 71% of webinar attendees identified the need to ‘Improve employee experience by integrating digital documents into collaboration and productivity tools’ as their top digitisation priority across the next 18 months.

As APAC business leaders settle into the new normal in 2021 and beyond, it will be crucial to identify and address bottlenecks and opportunities in enhancing operational efficiencies to future-proof their business.

Leverage technology to ensure digital continuity and resiliency.

Although all businesses were impacted by COVID-19, the severity of these consequences varied between organisations. Unsurprisingly, those who had already adopted e-commerce pre-pandemic gained a clear advantage over their peers when lockdowns hit.

For instance, though the entire hospitality sector were one of the hardest hit by restrictions, restaurants that quickly established a localised online presence were largely able to stay afloat. When demand for food delivery skyrocketed, tech platforms and solutions such as Adobe Sign enabled them to seamlessly and swiftly onboard merchants to their systems. On the flip side, businesses who were late on the uptake to avoid compromising operational stability or customer and employee satisfaction suffered as a result.

A key lesson that emerged from the past year is that achieving digital resiliency is directly correlated to the willingness to effectively integrate technology into business operations. The first step to ensuring business continuity during periods of disruption is digitising processes and continuously identifying other opportunities to drive operational efficiencies.

Barriers to change are a matter of perspective.

Perspective will remain the greatest challenge to organisational transformation. Where many businesses once saw insurmountable barriers to digital adoption, be it cost or simply a resistance to change ingrained in their culture, these barriers seemed to disappear overnight when the pandemic struck – proving that most challenges can be overcome if organisations prioritise and commit to addressing them.

Taking a step back and reassessing what truly constitutes a barrier to change should be a key priority for leaders moving forward. Where institutional inertia is the overarching issue, an appropriate change management strategy which guides employees through change in pivotal moments must be developed and implemented across all levels of the organisation.

Improving resiliency requires effective change management.

Attendees identified workforce and operational resiliency as areas that will be most critical to address in the coming months. Digital fatigue and the decreased ability to achieve meaningful interactions with others continue to be key concerns in employee engagement, as well as onboarding employees virtually.

Addressing these are especially important, as the disruption brought on by adoption of the hybrid working environment makes maintaining employee satisfaction increasingly difficult, jeopardising overall workforce resiliency.

Regardless of the type of disruption businesses encounter, the core issue remains the same throughout - leaders must continuously reframe the way they respond to disruption and drive solutions. Change management is a common theme for organisations to address as they continue to adapt to the pandemic.

The IDC Digital Resiliency Framework was developed to guide business leaders in improving resiliency and accelerating digital transformation. The framework shares six organisational dimensions that demonstrate how technology underpins the entire business through any crisis. By identifying and addressing problem areas, organisations can minimise the impact of disruption in the post-pandemic, digital-first operating environment.