If the last year has taught us anything — and it has, for better or worse, taught us a great deal — it’s that businesses need an alternative platform to expand our previous in-person networking capabilities. Vibrant businesses depend on the genius of human interaction: that spark of inspiration and enthusiasm that comes from making personal and professional connections. In a time of digital transformation, we need a dynamic, modern way to forge connections between buyers and vendors.
The exciting process of matchmaking vendors and buyers, once conducted entirely in-person through fairs, networking events, and business lunches, now take place largely online. Even post-pandemic, this shift is expected to continue in part: a recent Harvard Business Review survey found that at least 16% of American professionals will shift to working from home at least two days a week. This “dramatic and persistent shift” in work styles necessitates a corresponding shift in business practices. The ramifications of the virtual office makeover, then, are significant and will remain so for quite some time.
That doesn’t have to mean staid, monotonous Zoom meetings all day long. WHIM works with all of our clients to craft digital strategies that make the most of each client’s strengths. We bring together creative minds to forge data-based solutions that work in the material and virtual worlds. Pairing qualified vendors with interested buyers, allowing those connections to grow fluidly and build rapport, is possible online with the right set of tools.
For many businesses, the need for a gradual shift to more online operations, which was occurring well before 2020’s changes, gained urgency this past year. Plans that had been nebulous or on the “wouldn’t it be nice” list suddenly jumped the line in priority. Some groups were better prepared than others for this shift.
Because of our work with our clients to modernize their business operating systems, many were already well situated to quickly and safely pivot operations to virtual. For two of our clients, the rapid deployment of online resources was crucial for the continued operation and even safety of their clients. In just a day or two, the capacity requirements of these clients grew on a vast scale.
Moving forward, all companies should continue to evaluate and assess the security, performance, and volume of digital operations. Too often, securing data and enacting a robust security program comes only after an unfortunate breach has occurred. In this as with many other instances, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A May 2020 white paper from the United States Cyberspace Solarium Commission addressed the pandemic’s influence on cybersecurity. The commission found that “prevention is far cheaper and pre-established relationships far more effective than a strategy based solely on detection and response.”
Integrating employee training is just as important as implementing stringent cybersecurity protocols. One of the most common problems our clients have expressed to us is the need to keep all employees on the same page when it comes to how and where to use workplace tools and programs. By folding employee training into a company’s digital makeover, we can make sure that all members of the team are equally comfortable with the new digital model of working. At WHIM, we transform workplace teams, in order to transform the client-buyer relationship.
Agility and cost savings often go hand in hand, as well. When companies streamline their resource management tools, operating systems and communications platforms, we often see a significant spike in employee productivity and return on investment. Raising the technical acumen of our clients, a key element to the solutions we provide, allows them to in turn provide simpler, more efficient options for their clients.
The pandemic and its related need for social distancing has jump-started the digital transformation for many businesses. It has also presented a real opportunity to revolutionize their business operations, at considerable cost savings. SaaS applications and the cloud can offer support that is flexible for their growth in infrastructure. Project management tools can save significant employee hours, eliminating the need for multiple strings of emails and meetings. An initial investment now can have massive long-term payoffs.
For many companies, integrating technology seamlessly goes beyond switching to videoconferencing: integrated systems that enable better collaboration at all levels of business operations are the way forward. 2020 was the year of reacting to change; let 2021 be the time we breed agility, when we adapt, evolve, and innovate for unprecedented growth.
How WHIM can help:
We approach each organization with an understanding that each business has specific goals, whether that be to diversity revenue channels or drive operating efficiencies.
- Senz, Kristen. “How much will remote work continue after the pandemic?” Harvard Business Review, August 24, 2020. https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/how-much-will-remote-work-continue-after-the-pandemic
- King, Sen. Angus and Gallagher, Rep. Mike. “Cybersecurity Lessons from the Pandemic.” U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission White Paper. May 2020. https://www.icba.org/docs/default-source/icba/crisis-response/coronavirus/cybersecurity-lessons-learned-from-the-pandemic—csc-white-paper.pdf?sfvrsn=ae952417_2