Our work environment today is dramatically different than it was at the beginning of March 2020. As events unfolded, we conducted a survey across a broad cross-section of our 1.4 million+ customers. Our findings revealed that the majority of our customers expected our work environment to evolve even more quickly.
Now, as we enter 2021, our customers and our own business continue to see the pace of change accelerate. As we look back at that initial customer feedback, we find the challenges our customers identified then were quite prescient and remain as relevant today as they were then.
Today’s top business challenges
As businesses around the country and the world began to experience the impacts of Covid-19, we knew we had to listen and support our customers like never before. While consistent and meaningful customer communication is our standard, we boosted our efforts to listen and learn what our customers needed to navigate the challenges of shutdowns, business revenues, and more.
Our survey included businesses across various industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, retail, finance, technology, biosciences, and more. Not surprisingly, each company faced its own unique challenges. As we analyzed the data, however, we found that their most pressing needs could be categorized into four main groups:
1. Cloud and IT infrastructure: a need for technology to support new work demands such as remote work, greater process automation, and meeting health and safety guidelines.
2. Workflow and process automation: paper-based workflows don’t work with distributed workforces facing an increased need for communication and collaboration to drive day-to-day operations and decision-making.
3. Remote work enablement: employees working from home introduce a host of business challenges beyond connectivity, such as information and cybersecurity, business continuity, and disaster recovery.
4. Ensuring a safe and smart workplace: where many employees can work remotely, the vast majority cannot, demanding solutions to maximize new considerations for workplace safety, such as reducing the number of shared surfaces.
By categorizing business challenges in this way, we make addressing them more manageable. Yet, behind these four groups lies a single, unifying idea that we saw was consistent with every customer: a desire to accelerate their digital transformation.
A key element in a successful digital transformation effort
The term digital transformation is not new to most business leaders today. What no one could have anticipated was how quickly the need to implement digital transformation technologies would accelerate.
From our survey, we could see that all of our customers recognized a need to equip their newly dispersed workforce with the right tools to help them remain focused and efficient while also enabling workforce agility – the ability for employees to securely access information where and when it’s needed.
While many customers surveyed felt they had the foundation to adequately support employees working remotely, they were still dealing with a number of crucial questions:
– How long will business performance be impacted by current uncertainty?
– How can we ensure employees stay safe, connected, and motivated?
– How can we overcome security risks inherent in a remote workplace?
– What emerging technological solutions will help us adapt and thrive in the new world of work?
These questions, and the sudden and urgent business challenges they reflected, revealed a practical need tied to digital transformation. They needed a partner to support and guide their digital transformation efforts.
This fact did not surprise us. In MIT Sloan Management Review and Deloitte’s Digital Business Report, 80% of respondents from digitally-advanced companies say their organizations cultivate partnerships with other organizations to facilitate digital innovation.
As a company that is often that partner, we understand that with today’s circumstances, a clear need exists to simplify the complexities of accelerating the rollout of remote and digital solutions to empower agile work experiences.
Understanding the power of digital transformation
In our research, we’ve found business leaders understand the concept of digital transformation. The challenge isn’t knowing whether or not a digital transformation must happen.
The challenge lies in seeing how it will manifest when implemented within the organization. And this makes sense. The dramatic change brought by digital transformation can be challenging to visualize. After all, if the benefits and the path were obvious, clear, and simple, why would any business have waited?
Looking at ways other organizations have digitally transformed themselves can help. The results from one organization to another may not be one to one, but these results show the opportunities. From there, it’s a small step to substitute areas similar in your organization, apply metrics to measure the potential return on investment (ROI) and decide if that digital shift would be right for you.
How can digital transformation help you?
Taking a fresh look at workflows and process automation reveals ways we can respond to remote work and the challenges of COVID-19 and optimize for the future. The path towards resilience requires agility. It requires trusted partnerships.
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Discover a new way to work
Ricoh's Digital Workplace Solutions combine the right services, expertise and technology to optimize the flow of information, so you can improve employee productivity, better serve your customers and grow your business.