My customers say that the new ways of working brought on by COVID-19 have made a significant impact on the technology transformation initiatives they’re currently executing. Trying to do the same (or more) amid unforeseen circumstances is unsurprisingly not as productive. Projects and programs have been put on hold, reprioritized, or canned completely.
So what is there to do?
A recent Gartner report stated that companies that invested in digital transformation after the last economic downturn experienced a 3x growth advantage over the following 10 years. This involves four phases of short-term responses, as well as making decisions for the future:
- React and respond
- Redirect to new realities
- Rebound to the future
- Accelerate growth
Following this structure, I’ll run through five tips to continue your technology transformation that I’ve witnessed from my customers:
#1 Develop core team skills
Odds are that your current project load is likely unmanageable with the limited resources your organization now has available. Start by re-evaluating your current project load, while considering ways to align those projects with your core team.
One of MuleSoft’s key enablers for a robust API and integration strategy is the Center for Enablement (C4E). The first step is to enable a core C4E team. Their focus is to define best practices and realize reusable assets to drive accelerated delivery. But this doesn’t happen in its own initiative, it’s part of ongoing project work.
By supporting your core C4E team to deliver the realigned project pipeline, you’ll have a tried and tested set of integration best practices and reusable assets, for when the time comes to scale out your delivery capacity. Better yet, the knowledge of these best practices is ingrained in the knowledge of the core C4E team, ensuring consistency across current, and future delivery teams.
#2 Lean on your partners
One of the key drivers for a technology transformation is to open up new value-generating digital channels. A well-known handbag company is doing just that by transitioning from declining in-store retail sales to an online shopping experience.
With store closures across the globe, the company needed to ramp up its initiative by broadening the digital channel further. The business plans to expose its inventory details (e.g. stock inventory, product image, product ID/SKU) through APIs, using API Community Manager, to present these in a secure and interactive API portal.
By doing so, their online retail partners (and potentially new ones) will get real-time inventory details that they can link directly into their own stores. This not only federates the company’s digital channel but has the potential to increase sales at a rapid scale and accelerate its partnership network.
#3 Let your partners lean on you
As highlighted in the previous tip, your partners’ success can be your own success. So consider ways that you can support them!
For example, my team — the Customer Success Strategy and Advisory team — are running a number of initiatives to develop enablement materials that aim to make our customers more skilled at maturing their integration approach.
However, you can also directly open up your own internal services — such as payment processing or distribution — through consumable APIs. In doing so, you improve your partner’s route to market, while opening up new partnership opportunities moving forward.
#4 Embrace the ‘new normal’
If you’re anything like me, it may have taken time to adjust to remote working. Now is a perfect time to learn how to be highly productive in your remote working culture, so that you can harness that productivity when we do eventually go back to in-office working.
Another initiative my team is working on is how to run impactful and effective virtual workshops. It’ll probably make us a leaner, more productive team after the COVID-19 pandemic dissipates, and we plan to enable our customers on those learnings too.
#5 Opportunity, meet preparation
There will be a time in the near future when restrictions will ease and the economy will make its way back onto the incline. Start planning how you and your team can be prepared when this time comes.
As mentioned, the C4E is the cornerstone of a robust and successful API and integration strategy. Start focussing on establishing the core roles of this operating model, refreshing the charter, or further focussing on the best practices set by this team.
Business and consumer habits are likely going to change permanently. So look at what new technologies will be required to support your technology transformation. Consider training your team on these upcoming technologies and development practices.
I encourage you to take a moment out of your workweek to reflect on how you and your team are working differently today, as well as the changing habits of your customers. Consider how these new realities can be harnessed to make you and your team highly effective in delivering your continued technology transformation.
For more information on making the transition back to the office, visit Salesforce’s website Work.com.