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Winston Churchill once said, “never waste a good crisis.” Accordingly, times of turbulence can lead to opportunity and growth. One of the benefits of COVID-19 is the pressure to accelerate change around the adoption of digital to enable the new remote workplace, as well as engage the digital customer.

Here are eight recommendations for achieving digital readiness for the post-COVID enterprise and sustainable competitive advantage as a result.

Create a digital road map

A digital roadmap can mean the difference between a series of disjointed initiatives and a cohesive strategy that aligns digital initiatives with business objectives. A digital roadmap serves as a high-level blueprint for action and should answer questions about business goals, major milestones, and the initiatives to help achieve them, length of projects, and anticipated ROI and outcomes.

Construct a digital workplace strategy

Establishing a clear digital strategy prior to embarking upon any digital transformation initiative and communicating it consistently and thoroughly should be standard operating procedure for enterprises. Companies should outline who to communicate with and decide how to provide information to users. They must consider how announce their transformation decision to employees. Explain the decision objectively and help with the transition. Communication with employees should also be constant.

Reskill the workforce for digital

Helping employees develop digital literacy, and training and engaging them around a digital transformation vision, will empower them and allow them to become partners in transformation efforts. Study the employee experience and journey continuously to help connect insights to initiatives.

Start with an outcomes-based approach to decision-making and investments

Though CEOs are continuing to lead digital transformation efforts, many of these efforts are still often viewed as cost centers, and the need to substantiate investments is very important. To change the perception of digital transformation from cost to investment strategy, leadership teams need ROI metrics, and ways to tie innovation projects to business outcomes.

Don’t forget the data

In many organizations, data is fragmented, incomplete, and siloed. Leading companies are building centralized data infrastructures to better inform and support cross-functional efforts, which promote collaboration and integration, and unify digital transformations around data-supported efforts.

Give employees access to the data

Democratizing the data is essential to making it actionable and enables digital investments to achieve their desired outcomes. This requires agile enterprise platforms that enable customer-facing employees to visualize insights and act in real time, and the capability to synthesize data and quickly respond to customers in any channel and at the right time with the right message.

Align efforts around the digital customer journey

COVID-19’s urgent demand to meet customers in digital-first channels and to provide proactive omnichannel engagement requires a realignment of businesses — both internally and around the customers. Enterprises must understand how customers' intents, behaviors, and preferences are evolving to shape CX digital strategies.

Take a platform approach

Digital usability necessitates accessibility and transparency. This, in turn, requires next-generation experience platforms that help build trust, enable proactive outreach, and maintain context from one conversation to the next. Such evolutionary platforms will help enterprises move from having the ability to understand single sessions to all the touchpoints in a customer's journey, and they will put enterprises on the path toward enterprise collaboration and customer lifecycle orchestration.

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