In a recent article by Gartner, Chris Howard discusses why now is the time for companies to accelerate their digital business. We asked Co-CEO Andrew Dean for his thoughts on how COVID influenced the digital landscape and businesses’ ability to implement change, and how DB Results has adapted in 2020.
According to a survey conducted by Gartner, seven out of ten boards have accelerated digital business due to COVID-19. What are your thoughts on this?
Initially when COVID hit, it probably took a lot of firms maybe three or four months to reach that realisation: “we actually must change, things have changed forever and our old style of business isn’t able to adapt”. As far as the Gartner article goes, it really highlights the importance of change, particularly when you have an event that forces change as with the COVID pandemic. At the moment the fallout is that it really is safer if you limit human interaction and manual processes, and the most critical way of limiting human interaction is, of course, through being digital. COVID almost singularly has done more than anything else to accelerate digital business and interaction in the last twenty years.
We know locally within Melbourne, you look at lockdown, and what that does to consumers' buying patterns. It means rather than going out and doing it physically, online purchasing increases, so therefore you’ve got to make sure your digital channels and associated logistics are available. That has been an absolute blessing for the likes of Amazon and Australia Post!
You’ve got a majority of businesses who, all of a sudden, their people are going to work from home, so once again that shifts from face-to-face interactions and manual processes that might occur within an office to digital platforms like Zoom and Teams and the like for meetings, and manual processes get replaced. I don’t think I’ve ever signed so many contracts in my life as with DocuSign recently. These are massive changes for companies to handle and the only way they can do it is to review their processes quickly, remove what is redundant, make them more efficient, and then get on with accelerating those processes digitally.
To me, one of the fascinating things that happened was that in a 10-day period, the government brought in JobKeeper and JobSeeker. I remember at the time the headline was, policies get through in ten days when it would normally take ten years. Examples like that: when you’ve got a crisis you have to ask, what really counts, what do we have to do, let’s get it done!
How has DB Results internally adapted and accelerated digitally during the pandemic?
One of the first things that happened for us was, for the safety of our people, we went to working from home immediately. Fortunately, we had rolled out Microsoft Office 365 five or six years ago, as well as other digital applications around items such as timesheeting, and now we’ve added in expenses. We had been moving to Zoom and Teams, and then Teams was upgraded just in the nick of time, so we went to using Teams for our meetings and communications. It has been great how well that has worked for our people and our customers.
I’m proud to say we also developed two vital applications, one called MiOK and another called Wellness+. MiOK is a mobile application that can really help you with your general health and wellbeing, plus indicators for mental health. It’s been great that we’ve been able to supply that to all of our people and a few of our customers as well. The usage of MiOK is increasing all the time, and we’ve also offered it to not-for-profit organisations.
Wellness+ is a communication platform that we established, and essentially that’s enabled us to keep our organisation up to date on what’s been happening throughout COVID. It also provides a lot of health and safety tips and many articles and video resources for people to access, so it really helps to keep our people up to date with what’s happening regarding COVID and how the organisation is addressing it, as well as coping techniques to help deal with the stresses and strains associated with working from home and COVID.
Is there a digital solution for every organisation facing an uncertain future?
There’s certainly a huge number of digital solutions that can help provide companies with different alternatives for interaction, to help them with efficiency or to change how they communicate with their customers. There are many significant advances that can be made through digital channels and digital solutions.
We’ve been building digital solutions for many years and things that took months and years are now done in days and weeks, occasionally months. It means you can change your processes and systems incredibly quickly and adapt to the demands of our digital world.