…a do or die affair for businesses
Business processes of most companies are rigid and un-adaptive to technology. The company owners and management are very adamant about change and technology. They are not forward-thinking or innovative. They have refused to accept that the digital age has changed everything. Regrettably, they are the victims of business collapse because their processes cannot adapt quickly to technology. They need a Business Process Reengineering.
COVID-19 has unpardonably claimed precious lives. COVID-19 has revealed how Information Technology (IT) has permeated every facet of human lives. Even though in the last two decades we have seen the increasing usage of IT in many activities, some managers do not believe IT to increase efficiency. A lot of managers have refused to innovate and adapt to the IT world we have created. During the almost worldwide lockdown in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, founders of tech companies increased their worth. The demand for IT services highly driven by IT soared. Sadly, when COVID-19 was taking precious lives, it was making some astoundingly rich.
Prior to the COVID-19 era, not so many organizations believed in staff working from home. There was no way MTN Ghana and Standard Chartered Bank Ghana, for example, were going to allow a large section of their staff to work from home. Working from home was preserved for privileged few senior managers and critical technical personnel. COVID-19 has proofed that with technology and the right resources in place, every work can be done from home. For example, MTN Ghana Call Center Staff and Standard Chartered Bank Relationship Managers worked from home.
Online shopping was doing well but those who thought they could be scammed had no option but to use these services. Virtual training was a no-go area for many but now, it is the most preferred option. The virtual meeting was meant for very top managers. But today, the next question when a meeting is announced is: can we have the meeting virtually? Delivery services indeed have seen a boom and continue to excel in this era. Why worry yourself to queue at the bank or ATM when you can conveniently use the bank’s mobile app to do every transaction? Prior to COVID-19, using ATM was even a challenge to many. Want to pay for goods and services? Even the charcoal seller has a Mobile Money account.
Most pastors and church leaders never believed in streaming church services live on social media. COVID-19 has taught them that, you can spread the Gospel of Christ to more audiences via social media than their limited physical structures. For the offering, the first item to catch your eyes is the rolling of the mobile money numbers at the bottom of the screen. They could hold all-night services and had 3,000 members connected instead of the 32 members in their church auditoriums.
In education, some teachers and lecturers never heard of Zoom until COVID-19 publicized it. I witnessed one scenario in the early stages of COVID-19 when one of the top universities decided to train lecturers on using Zoom and Moodle to deliver courses and assess students. One old professor said it was not possible to effectively teach mathematics and effectively assess students because of the numerous mathematical symbols. By the time we finished with the training, he alluded that online teaching is the best.
The concept of Telehealth or mHealth existed prior to COVID-19 but people showed no interest. Many patients, doctors, and other health professionals never believed in telehealth. You needed to see the physician physically for examination on every little health issue. Drug prescription must be done on the prescription form before it will be attended to. COVID-19 changed this perception and IT-phobia attitude in the health sector. Doctors have learned to diagnose patients via video calls without stress and get it right. People everywhere can receive professional health services without any issue. Pharmacies can deliver prescriptions to patient homes via courier or delivery services after diagnosis from telehealth services.
Companies, by the lessons from COVID-19, have now realized that they can reach more people with their products and services on social media than through the traditional mode of advertising. Company websites were either nonexistent or had never been updated five years ago when it was created. There was no need prior to COVID-19. Today, almost all the websites of many companies have been redesigned and the marketing manager demands a weekly report on the number of unique visits. The need for digital marketers is on the rise in the post-COVID-19 era.
Any business: big or small, that refuses, either deliberately or ignorantly, to embrace technology and reengineer its business processes to include IT will soon be out of business. The race is already on and the best time to review your business process to integrate new efficient technology is NOW!
The writer is the Data Protection Officer, Institute of ICT Professionals Ghana, and Data Privacy Consultant at Information Governance Solutions)
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