Digital transformation has been a topic of business attention for a considerable time. But now, almost all organizations and industries have realized that digital transformation has become a strategic imperative.

As the COVID-19 pandemic grips the world and brings it to a halt, it also gives organizations the impetus to revive and ramp up their digital transformation strategies. Until now, the main push for digital transformation was to minimize competitive threats and to stay ahead of the curve. But with this pandemic, most organizations are experiencing and looking at an unprecedented slowdown. In that light, they are looking at digital transformation as a way to unleash digital products and services that can help them cope with the new world.

Digital transformation is industry agnostic – traditional industries have to get on board

It is interesting to note that traditional industries such as manufacturing have also been left with no choice but to digitally transform themselves. No matter how deeply steeped in legacy systems, processes, and infrastructure, such traditional industries have to remember that without a digital strategy and the right tools and technologies it will now be almost impossible to conduct business.

We are now looking at a time where collaboration has to happen effectively across a remote, geographically dispersed team. We have to ensure productivity and innovation in the remote workforce. Remote customers who have embraced the online world have to be served better. And most importantly, digital transformation has to go beyond shop-floor processes and Industry 4.0 investments and permeate into every department of the organization.

Digital leads the way in the Post – COVID world

As the lockdown is gradually getting relaxed in many regions across the world, most industries are itching to get up and running. However, we are looking at a lot of change – working with fewer on-site people being one of the biggest changes. We are also looking at the changing sales and marketing playfield. With travel at a standstill and fewer sales opportunities, face to face or otherwise, out there, the focus on online selling has to increase. To do this well, these traditional B2B companies have to adopt the right set of tools, technologies, and systems in place.

Digital is the obvious way ahead. While the lockdowns seem set to come and go for a few cycles, we can be certain that the business world will have to get used to a couple of things– operating online is one of them.

It seems certain that this will bring the focus on product content management especially for these traditional industries. Product content’s role as a key driver of online sales is likely to come into focus. As such, these industries have to rapidly scale up their product content management capabilities.

As the number of product variants is unlikely to reduce as activity resumes, If anything, the number of products and product variants is likely to increase to create greater competitive differentiation. This suggests that the volume of product content will remain a key challenge.

As such organizations have to look at leveraging the right technologies and processes to ensure that their product content management strategy and processes capably provide uniform, consistent product information across channels, suppliers, and distributor networks. They have to look at the scalability challenges of product content to eliminate the issues associated with batch processing. Proper product data governance and content management will also become key talking points in this journey, especially as product enrichment activities start delivering strategic impact.

Digital transformation will rest on crafting the right experiences

Product content also has to drive harmony in the customer experience across the value chain. But this can become the Achilles Heel of many digital experiences if we do not use technology to align the organization and its business units. Things such as location-specific business information, customer-relevant and country-specific images, product descriptions, safety standard codes, etc. all contribute to an elevated digital experience. It helps to ensure that the product information is personalized, relevant, and matching the speed of innovation.

Product content also acts as an anchor to make sure that the entire organization and its endpoints, the supplier and distributor network can understand and communicate in a language they all understand. By simplifying disparate product content and formats, capabilities, and specifications, product content management creates a uniformity that allows different business units to communicate with each other and amplify the output.

In conclusion

Even the merest hint of the post-COVID world shows us that we will be steeped deep into a digital-first world. The push of ‘social distancing’ has caused an upheaval in the way business is conducted. Digital transformation now will no longer remain an option…it will no longer remain a journey to undertake at your own pace. It is now a destination that we must reach soon. This can be achieved by making processes scalable, using the right technologies and technology partners, making better connections between systems and teams, and becoming more data-driven in making all business decisions. Even the most traditional businesses are left with no other choice now.