Against the backdrop of a global pandemic that urged the world to go digital, digital transformation will continue to be a heated boardroom topic in 2022. Whether it is tightening cybersecurity, harnessing 5G potential, or supporting the hybrid workforce, businesses can execute a winning digital transformation that lasts by mapping out strategies ahead of time with the following dos and don’ts in mind.         

Do #1: Strengthen your security

Hackers have been exploiting the Covid-19 pandemic as a hook to hoodwink thousands of people into installing malware. In fact, a whopping 600% and 238% increase in cyberattacks respectively on banks and cloud servers were recorded from January to April 2020 alone [1]. This is primarily due to the global shift from the physical, in-office workplace to remote working. As the majority of the workforce is now working from home, documents are being accessed, downloaded and transferred from different devices. This poses more challenges for the IT department in the over-sighting and managing their company’s assets.

Therefore, it is imperative that companies ramp up their network control (software, cloud and hardware) and extend their cybersecurity strategies from office scale to home and mobile work-from-home gadgets. Some purposeful initiatives currently being adopted include - but are not limited to multifactor authentication (MFA), patching cycle acceleration for virtual private networks (VPNs), cloud interfaces and predictive analysis [2].

Don’t #1: Walk the tech road alone

Innovating on one’s own as a way to stand against market competition may sound tempting. Yet many businesses have now realized that it is not a solid, sustainable method to take them where they want to go. Due to the fast-paced evolution of technology nowadays, many businesses find themselves in lack of the necessary expertise, scale or facilities to foster self-sustaining innovations.  

On the other hand, collaboration proves worthwhile, especially in the pursuit of high-tech projects. We have already witnessed businesses coming together in industries like security, transportation or even food & beverages; on projects such as cloud computing, last-mile delivery and cloud kitchen. This constant reinvention of the old business models aimed to deliver more sustainable values, particularly in terms of customer experience and satisfaction.

In 2022, more successful partnerships are forecasted as we see organizations team up to share their expertise, skills and talent resources. With the right companion, true business digital transformation can be scaled, executed and accelerated on a global scale.

Do #2: Embrace the 5G potential

We have been talking about 5G and its potential for years now. Yet, it wasn’t until remote working, videoconference, and online interaction became the norm that the demand for secure connectivity and higher bandwidth finally put 5G on the top of the DX must-do list.

Not only would 5G empower working from home, but it could also connect assets like vehicles, buildings and roads and create internal 5G operation networks that would even power a smart city revolution.

On the business level, superfast connectivity from 5G is an essential catalyst to creating new sensor-enabled intelligent products and services due to its much higher speed, consequently yielding new business models and boosting value-chain offerings. As it elevates the digital experience for all stakeholders, consumers can expect more responsive, data-driven services, as well as rapid emergence in AI/AR.

Don’t #2: Stick to one supplier

Covid-19 has wreaked havoc upon every business’s entire value chain, as it destabilized the labour force and disrupted the original supply chains. Last year, the manufacturing industry witnessed their production lines being suspended, leading to loss of profits, inflated costs and hampered global production. According to the “The State of the Freight 2021” report, over 85% of the respondents claimed that their sourcing was heavily impeded over the last year due to two considerable factors: the Covid-19 pandemic and global trade wars [3].

Imagine if they had had multiple vendors globally or been equipped with a more proactive, digitally-driven outsourcing system; such disruptions would not have been as drastic. The above report also indicated digital outsourcing to be the next promising trend, with roughly 23% of the companies having already diversified over the last year, while another 33% said it is highly likely they will diversify in the near future [3].

Do #3: Reinforce the hybrid work model

From 2022 to come, it is predicted that many organizations would still favour the hybrid or working-from-anywhere method. This is not only a result of the ‘new normal, but businesses have realized and taken into account the broad pool of talent and in-demand skills they could tap in with labour outsourcing.

Yet, designing a long-term hybrid infrastructure requires thorough planning. In contrast, the changes already implemented in numerous organizations have so far been deemed “more reactionary and haphazard than intentional and transformational” [4]. More specifically, such haphazardness was demonstrated through an October report from Dynatrace, which showed that 22% of the 1,300 senior-level development and DevOps leaders surveyed admit to sacrificing code quality to satisfy the demand for faster innovation [4]. When quality is put at risk, the corollary is profound: work performance is reactive rather than proactive, and innovation is consequentially fragmented rather than concentrated.    

To effectively promote a high-functioning remote workforce, the key lies in the utility of digital intelligence. By 2023, 60% of G2000 businesses will apply AI-and ML-enabled systems to facilitate the whole employee life-cycle experience from onboarding to retirement, forecasted by analysts from International Data Corporation (IDC) [5]. In addition, the design of purposeful virtual communications enabled by AR/VR, or a complete 3D, immersive office environment powered by metaverse have stirred a buzz in the media for its efforts and vision of building a futuristic, digital “dream team”.

To watch out for potential disruptions, laying out concrete DX strategies of the 2022 trends above would certainly equip any business well for times of turbulence such as the Covid-19 pandemic. To ensure productivity and performance, organizations should also focus on designing a holistic DX solution that includes end-to-end observability, precise insights, and continuous automation.

Author Le Nhu Anh