Tech isn’t about doing things better or faster – it’s about resilience
Resilience might be the most over-used word in business right now. But there’s a reason for that. In recent years, companies have been folding with alarming frequency. The economic downturn, digital disruption and covid-19 have all delivered seismic shocks across sectors. And it’s unlikely that the world will become less turbulent (hello climate change) in the next decade. While most of us are used to thinking of technology as something that opens up new opportunities, or does things faster and in a more cost-effective way, investing in new digital tools is becoming about de-risking and future proofing.
It’s a hard time to be in business, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In the UK, business closures in Q3 2021 were up by 50% in comparison with the year before. Many will be hoping that the vanquishing of covid-19 will yield a more advantageous market in the coming twelve months. The smartest, however, are ploughing budgets into digital transformation – updating cyber security, automating tasks, and moving their files from cabinet to cloud. A survey by Deloitte, a consultancy, shows that more “digitally mature companies” are better equipped to deal with crises. They also fare better financially when its business as usual.
A cornerstone of using digital products to build resilience is the rapid rolling-out of automation. Tom Seibel, CEO of C3.ai, an artificial intelligence software platform and applications company, puts it well in his book, Digital Transformation: Survive and Thrive in an Era of Mass Extinction, saying the “corporate world is in the middle of mass extinction, with 52 percent of Fortune 500 companies from the year 2000 no longer in business.” Indeed, according to market research firm IDC, companies lose between 20 – 30% in revenue every year due to inefficiencies. Automation can help iron out these kinks and keep companies in shape for when markets, sales funnels (or entire civilisations) go awry.
Digital crime used to be a minor consideration. Hobbyist hackers would menace corporations and government websites in the dawning age of Web 2.0. But in 2023, a company’s ability to withstand digital breaches and cyber attacks determines their operational resilience. Miscreance like this shot up during the pandemic. Cybercrime is projected to cost companies worldwide $10.5 trillion annually by 2025 according to Cybersecurity Ventures. The publisher also claims that cybercrime represents the largest transfer of wealth in history. Accenture reckons that 43% of attacks are directed at small businesses, with only 14% taking measures to protect themselves.
Fortunately, members of the business community are waking up to the perils of standing still in the face of cataclysmic change. According to research by Grant Thornton, 78% of businesses intend to maintain or increase their levels of investment in technology over the next 12 months. Digital product studios have a huge part to play in building business resilience.