How to capitalize on forced digitization in the wake of COVID-19 and turn it into a strategic, innovative choice
The COVID-19 emergency forced many companies to adapt to a different way of working literally overnight. Digitized organizational models had to be introduced in no time to allow companies to survive and ensure business continuity during these surreal times.
The exponential rise of smart working and the mass migration to virtual communication platforms, such as Skype, Zoom and Google Meetings, are just two of the most obvious illustrations of this shift to digital. And now that the worst of the crisis is behind us, it’s worth looking into this phenomenon in a little more detail.
Corporate digitization involves simplification and automation of all processes. At its heart is the idea that by making the best possible use of the many different types of technology now available, companies can increase their efficiency and optimize their business model in every way.
Corporate digitization offers limitless potential, yet it requires strategy, determination, an openness to change and investment – all of which are often in short supply among Italian SMEs, whose culture is usually rooted in tradition.
Digitization is about opening up to innovation, changing your mentality, placing your trust in new technology and having the courage and resilience to try new things. And it’s important not to be afraid of making mistakes, because it is often failure that reveals what needs to be done to achieve perfection, thus lighting the spark of true innovation.
Yet above all, digitization is about continuing to invest in development projects to keep raising the bar of innovation. To succeed, we must leave our comfort zones and silence our fear of change.
It’s something we’re well aware of here at Way2Global. Launched as an innovative start-up, we operate in the localization industry – one of the most digitized in the world – and we’ve always championed the idea that technology is an extension of human potential.
We like to think of ourselves as an experimentation workshop in a state of constant flux. Why? Because digital transformation is something we’re always working on, with the dual aim of boosting the effectiveness and scope of our digital development process while offering collaborators and clients the best technology available in the sector.
And so it was with great enthusiasm that we signed up to the SELFI4.0 initiative, run by the Milan Chamber of Commerce, in May 2019. It provided a new way of measuring our performance and allowed us to undertake a process of assessing the digital maturity of our own business model, based on the principles of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0.
Out of a possible score of 1 to 4, we scored 3.2, meaning we earned the title of “digital expert”, in recognition of the fact that we “successfully apply the principles of Industry 4.0 in the majority of company departments”. The initiative also recommended that we continue to improve by making decision-making processes more automated and based on performance monitoring, as well keeping staff up to date by continuing with training activities around technology.
Artificial Intelligence, deep learning and neural networks are at the heart of the machine translation software and systems we make available to our translators to unlock added potential. And we’ve worked tirelessly to promote and develop these innovative new practices as part of our Language Industry 4.0 program.
Cloud platforms centered on integration and convergence, IT and management systems (ERP, CRM etc.) and work-flow automation are all part of our own digital production and management eco-system. They play an integral role in the custom solutions we offer clients for overseeing the entire translation process.
For us, promoting a digital culture is about continuing to fuel experimentation, innovation and exponential growth. We believe that digitization is synonymous with aggressively pushing beyond the frontiers of technology to anticipate change in an already high-tech sector.
Even before COVID-19 and the restrictions that the crisis brought with it, smart working was already standard practice at Way2Global – as was the use of digital communication platforms and tools for meetings and client meet-ups.
Our cloud system was ready and waiting to overcome the challenges of remote working without compromising the sharing of data and resources, and tech has always been a key part of our flexible, dynamic business model.
As such, our company’s response to the new safety regulations was immediate and radical. We adopted a 100% smart working approach at the end of February and we intend to continue with this far beyond the easing of lockdown, both for health reasons and for the benefits of this type of working on the environment and on people’s quality of life.
For us, the COVID-19 stress test has become an opportunity for us to push ourselves further and evolve, creating new scope for improvement.
This spirit shows in how successful we were in our bids for the “Digital Restart” and “Digital Strategies for Global Markets” tenders, run by the Milan Chamber of Commerce, as part of a push to support the corporate digitization of SMEs.
In this historic moment of crisis, we opted to increase the scope of our Industry 4.0 strategy and expand its benefits to other departments and processes that were not yet involved. We adopted new solutions across electronic data transmission, digital marketing and sales.
We’ve made the most of this period of enforced confinement to work on optimizing our website to guarantee a more efficient user experience and a better all-round service.
We’ve worked on getting better, for you, like we do every day. Because in our business vision, corporate digitization is not just a solution to an unexpected situation, but a strategy with a decisive bearing on healthy, integrated growth within our business model.
Evolution, innovation and progress are the key words within our corporate culture, and we’re delighted to share our experiences to inspire all the other SMEs that strive to make a difference, as we do.