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Digital Transformation - One Step at a Time

Business Insights

You’ve probably seen the memes floating around the internet asking who is driving a company’s transformation? Is it the CEO, the CIO…. Or is it COVID-19? 

In short, while most companies have started the process of digital transformation (a study by Forbes lists 70%), very few were far enough along to be completely sustainable in a pandemic where everything went virtual over-night.

During the past few months, we’ve been amazed at all the business owners that are rapidly re-inventing themselves to continue to serve their clients.  We have found that leaning in to the current environment is creating opportunities we may never have thought about before.   

A recent study by McKinsey showed that digital interaction with B2B customers is now two times more important than traditional channels—more than a 30 percent jump since before the COVID-19 crisis hit!  In addition, the need to boost employee morale & engagement keeps CEOs up at night.

And while we could spend hours theorizing about digital transformation, we’d like to offer some practical, easy-to-implement solutions that will help your organization today.

Collaboration & Engagement

Collaborate intentionally. Connecting with clients and colleagues can help close the relationship gap during this time of social distancing.  We have all heard the new phrase, “Let’s ‘Zoom’ or ‘Teams’ together!” as the new way to connect with friends, family, and business partners over video conferencing.  These tools provide other ways to collaborate with capabilities like screen sharing, video recording, and file sharing. 

  • Regular “Video On” Conference Calls – We know that everyone loves the camera, right?  Well--not everyone! I cannot tell you how many times I have been on video calls while the camera is pointing at the ceiling or the top of someone’s head.  Guilty as charged!  It is important to establish a regular “camera-on” video conference so you can reconnect with each other.  While a little strange at first, the benefits have been tremendous for our company.  Seeing peoples smiling faces is so welcoming after trying to read facial expressions through a mask.   
  • Explore your options - Cisco Webex, Google, Microsoft, Slack and Zoom are offering many of their software capabilities for free to assist organizations with remote workers.
  • Screen Sharing – Sharing your screen is a fantastic way to collaborate.  Think of how many times you go back and forth over email revising a spreadsheet with a client or colleague.  Why not video chat and share your screen?  This is a great way to strengthen those social bonds and you will be more effective collaborating in real time than over email. 

Utilize Cloud-Based Technology

  • Gartner reported that “most corporate networks were not prepared for the for the onslaught of remote work being driven by COVID-19 (aka coronavirus disease). While companies have spent money to build out their existing capacity to handle remote work, few have come close to provisioning capacity many times their established norms.” CIOs and technology teams have had to rapidly adjust to a world where the majority of their workforce is remote.
  • VPN and Cloud computing are terms that get thrown around in the same sentence, but in reality are two completely different concepts. VPN is commonly used to securely connect to a private network like your corporate office.  It may require special passcodes and sometimes hard to follow security procedures to establish a secure connection to share files or open your accounts payable system.  Cloud based technologies are software platforms or services that can be easily accessed from any internet connection. Instead of installing a suite of software programs on multiple computers, you can just login from any internet browser and gain access to many solutions that allow for you to share information with others.  Many popular cloud-based technologies are Google’s G suite or Microsoft’s 365.  Each offer a variety of tools like file sharing, email, video chat, and calendar sharing that help you collaborate with colleagues.
  • Secure cloud-based technologies can create ease of access that will help some of the frustration with VPN. Always secure any cloud-based technology by using complex passwords and, if possible, two factor authentication to secure access to any cloud-based technologies.
  • With much of the American workforce now working remotely, cloud computing has become more essential than ever. However, networks unprepared for the surge on their systems can have slow response times, causing employees to become frustrated.  “ Cloud is the ticket to greater flexibility, more experimentation and faster reactions to changing market demands and circumstances.” 

Consult with an IT managed service provider if you are looking to move more of your entity onto the cloud.

Talk to Your Clients

One of our primary focus areas during the past few months has been keeping our Southern First family engaged and connected – including our clients who make us who we are today. With face-to-face interactions limited, engagement is challenging.  But ironically, technology can help us come closer together during a time when we are forced to distance far more than we would like to.   

A few ways that we have been able to ramp up engagement:

  • Setting up video meetings between our Relationship Bankers and our clients. While this is not completely rolled out yet, we anticipate it being available in the coming months. This will enable us to quickly connect with our clients in a way that is most convenient to them, but still allow each party to “see” the other!

  • Social mediashowcase your company culture, values, and even your products on social media. There’s no quicker way to continue to help your marketplace feel engaged with what you are doing.  We love getting to share stories about our people and our clients on social media – and we think our clients enjoy getting to know more about who we are!

  • Communicate, communicate, communicate. Tools like Google Business and Facebook will help you keep your customers in the loop around office closings, updated hours, and even increased support with COVID-19. 

These are just a few aspects of what we’ve seen helpful as we work to be a better company after COVID than before. We’re working to transform who we are, every day, to better serve your needs, and we have your back as you work to transform your organization as well.

Share your thoughts about what has made your digital transformation easier.

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