Around the world and across industries, companies have had to deal with new disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, many teams have taken this time to innovate new ways of working, deploying new technologies and solutions that help them navigate the “new normal” and maintain delivery.
Recently, Yang Ziyi, Regional VP of Sales at K2, had the opportunity to participate in a panel session to discuss how many companies have taken recent months not only to react to current changes but to become prepared and proactive, reevaluating priorities and refocusing on digital transformation.
Join Ziyi; Jonathan Webb, Head of Content & Advisor, APAC, Procurement Leaders; Tim Burt, Customer Insights Manager, Procurement Leaders; and Joan Yong, Head of Digital Technology at Wearnes Automotive for this on-demand webinar to gain more insight into the specific proactive steps businesses are taking right now.
Most businesses are faced with new challenges
K2 recently commissioned a survey by the Harris Poll of 250+ businesses from several regions and industries. This research determined that 59% of organizations face new challenges from the current situation in maintaining operational efficiency. Processes that once worked are now failing, and 60% agree they will need to develop new processes to address COVID-19.
But what’s most striking is that 88% of business leaders agree that overall, the current climate has demonstrated the need for increased process automation.
Process automation is certainly not new to many organizations—and it’s not something that will go away.
From disruption to opportunity
As we’ve observed, most organizations fall into one of three categories. Some have experienced a succinct drop in revenue, while others (Zoom, for example) are doing quite well and seeing an uptick in demand. But the bulk of organizations fall somewhere in between. Most organizations are certainly experiencing supply chain disruptions. However, within those disruptions are increased opportunities for transformation.
Procurement Leaders, a transformation partner to procurement teams, recently conducted research and think tanks with Chief Procurement Officers (CPOs) and their procurement leadership communities to learn about how 2020 plans have been affected by COVID-19: which projects were postponed and which they were looking to accelerate.
They’ve found that many were postponing projects such as employee development or training (about 40% of those surveyed). However, around 44% are accelerating projects around improving risk management, something with long-term lasting impacts for the business.
Additionally, Procurement Leaders found a split in terms of whether businesses were looking to accelerate or postpone digitalization efforts. Of those surveyed, 27% of procurement teams were postponing digitalization efforts while 25% were accelerating plans as a result of COVID-19. While this may seem a surprising divide, it’s clear that businesses further along in their digital transformations are primarily focused on what can bring the most ROI right now.
Still, those who found themselves in the midst of a digital transformation as the pandemic hit are drastically increasing the pace of digitalization efforts. Many initiatives must be implemented in weeks rather than months. According to the CPO of one manufacturing company: “We are going through a major ERP transformation. Previously, it wasn’t supposed to go live for another nine months, but now we’re pulling forward as much of it as we can.”
The move towards sustainable automation
The pandemic has exposed areas of weakness and risks for many businesses that have lagged behind in their digital transformation journey, while some businesses have been in a “firefighting” mode that has tested the mettle of their digitization and automation efforts they already had in place. Now more than ever, business leaders are focused on future-proofing their organizations with automation projects that will be critical for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
According to Tim Burt of Procurement Leaders, for CPOs, that means increased communication and risk protection:
- Adding value beyond savings
- Accelerating stakeholder engagement
- Evolving supplier and partner relationships
- Pushing forward digitalization initiatives that are critical to their business
- Prioritizing supplier risk management
- Protecting employees
Yang Ziyi of K2 says that while immediate projects focus on measures around workplace safety (often government-mandated), we’re also seeing long-term projects pick up speed. Manual workflows and paper-based forms are moving to low-code automation platforms like K2.
Companies are also able to put an increased focus on customer experience. K2 customers are finding ways to reduce human-to-human interaction between suppliers and their customers to minimize risk without compromising customer relationships. For example, Joan Yong explains that Wearnes Automotive was able to move sales processes entirely online during the past several months, improving both efficiency and customer experience.