Six months ago, I posed a simple question: What comes next? At the time, we were half a year into one of history’s most bizarre episodes, and the question of priority-setting in a time of uncertainty was top of mind in every IT department.
Today, with the end of the pandemic more or less in sight, the near future seems somewhat clearer than it was then. But life — and business — will continue to be unpredictable. The most successful organizations will be those that plot their own evolutions even as they manage the unexpected.
How Businesses Adapted to Change
The Arbinger Institute is a great example. The corporate training organization had started construction on its new headquarters when the world turned upside down. In response, it reconfigured its building plans to accommodate a post-pandemic world. LifeStore Bank and Insurance was uncertain about unified collaboration in 2019, but embraced its capabilities to streamline communication with both employees and customers in 2020. When it switched to remote work, Pressler, Felt & Warshaw found its security environment inadequate for the moment. After quickly adopting more robust solutions, the law firm is back on track.
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As we move forward, a few things can now be said with confidence. First, the world will not simply return to its pre-pandemic state. Buyers are eager for in-store experiences, sure, but they won’t give up online shopping now that they’ve enjoyed its ease and simplicity. Some degree of onsite work is coming back for employees, no doubt, but increased flexibility about work location seems likely for most as well.
Second, business resiliency — the ability to manage change — is every organization’s most important asset. Those that have flourished over these past 14 months are the ones that accelerated their digital transformation activities while adjusting them to meet the circumstances. Sure enough, savvy organizations are busy making new adjustments to adapt to whatever comes next.