The Impact of COVID-19 on Digital Transformation and Remote Work

One of our long-time clients, Thomson Screening, a leading supplier of software solutions for health assessments, immunisations and screening, has taken one of its products a step further. The company is a spin-out company from City University, London. It was set up to bring to market a range of innovative software screening solutions developed within the Department of Optometry and Visual Science by Professor David Thomson and his team. Today, the company’s products address healthcare, education and workplace needs around the world. This includes diverse customers including the NHS in the UK, non and for-profit organisations in the USA/Europe, and NGOs in developing countries.WorkScreener, one of their most important products that we have worked in partnership on, provides vital health information to employers of all types, private sector and public, large and small. Using Thomson Screening technology, WorkScreener automates vision and hearing screening of new recruits and existing employees, including administration and also provides automated health and risk assessments. The software identifies prospective and current employees that need a full specialist assessment thereby supporting companies to ensure a safe workforce that’s capable of handling assigned tasks. Recently, Workscreener added COVID-19 Test Manager to automate testing data and communications, enabling organisations of any size to instantly bring PCR and antibody test reports from multiple providers together on one platform. A sister product, Covid-19 Isolation Checker, helps companies to automatically determine who's available to work and who's in isolation, in dispersed workforces.

Covid-19 Test Screener by Thomson Screening Solutions

These are the types of advancements that make all the difference. Technology is shaping the way in which we do business, interact with each other, and do even our most basic daily activities. Now, more than ever, we are witnessing the power and support it can offer and all we have to do is be open and learn how to harness it. Or at least ask for help from the ones that have technological expertise. The future is here whether we like it or not and the more we accept it, the easier it will be for our businesses to thrive in this new age. It has been over six months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the globe and forced upon us a lot of changes that we weren’t exactly prepared for. The impact was huge and every aspect of our lives was affected. The economy and businesses were the most distressed. Many businesses had to close their operations because there was no sustainable way of staying afloat. This had severe consequences on people’s jobs, incomes, and overall wellbeing. The IT industry was no different. With nearly every sector having to find ways to innovate and digitise their processes in order to survive and remain competitive, technological solutions were suddenly a priority for everyone. And software development companies were faced with new challenges and requests for digital transformation.Among the biggest challenges that the IT sector faced and continues to face are:

Shifting business processes online.

The pandemic has forced organisations across every industry to rethink the way they deliver products and services. The fast shift to online and digitisation of services was and is a steep learning curve for many organisations. From the neighbourhood restaurants, large businesses, healthcare, education and more, everyone had to come up with ways to continue delivering services and stay afloat.

Implementing the virtual collaboration model.

With lockdowns all over the world, many companies were encouraged to find ways to perform their work remotely. Of course, that wasn’t possible for every industry, but many successfully established new work flows and tools that allowed them to continue their work safely. From a technological standpoint, this meant that these organisations had to implement new tools and platforms.

Facing business continuity needs.

By March, carefully thought through plans were lying forgotten in a drawer. The impact of the pandemic was immediate. While some businesses like online shopping platforms, delivery apps, and tech companies were bursting with requests, others could barely keep it afloat. Suddenly, they were forced into survival mode. The outsourcing industry also had its ups and downs during these uncertain times, from cost cuts to shifting business priorities. However, every crisis also presents itself with opportunities and, for this industry, the pandemic is becoming a defining moment. Digital transformation is driving change. The key driver for change is the pressure of business process transformation, and central to delivering solutions are software development companies. With change on such a scale many lessons have been learned. In the past few months, we’ve experienced - alongside our clients - changing priorities with probably the most frequent request being the need to shift and support processes and operations online.

Rethinking the future of work

Current times keep reminding us that change is inevitable and that culture is the glue that holds it all together. While many people lost their jobs due to the restrictions imposed by governments all around the world, there were a significant number of companies that succeeded in managing their teams remotely. For a few of them, this wasn’t a difficult switch, and I’m talking about tech companies here, who already had the environment prepared for this shift. But a whole lot more organisations struggled to implement this change and many succeeded with external help in the form of an IT partner.

Slowly but surely, remote work is now a fact of life and those lucky enough to be working in a company that can sustain this model could still keep their jobs and provide for their families. To support this type of work model you need both structure and a trusted partner that can accommodate these needs flawlessly and rapidly. Your employees need structure and balance in their workflow. And this can only be achieved with honest and transparent communication, project planning tools and a clear and firm directive that can overlook the status of their projects and adjust the flow according to specific needs.

For all these changes you need constant support from a technical team and the easiest way is to reach out to a trusted IT service provider. They were the first to implement these changes within their own organisation and can respond and adapt to your needs much more easily than any others. The benefits that come from this decision are various, from reduced costs to fast results. Nonetheless, one thing is certain: embracing this type of change requires customised software solutions that need to be maintained and adapted from now on.  But what does it really mean to digitise an entire way of working? And most importantly: how safe is it?

Digitalisation - a top priority

“In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity” Sun Tzu’s famous words seem to gain a deeper meaning in our times. Covid-19 has had a dramatic impact on businesses across the globe and has forced change upon all of us. It has flipped operating models, processes and everyday interactions and suddenly, everyone has found themselves in a sink-or-swim situation from both a personal and professional perspective. Digital transformation is no longer limited to large organisations. It’s affecting everybody and we need to rethink the ways in which we can leverage these technologies in order to address ours and our customers’ new needs.

The first approach towards digitalisation would be to invest in some good cloud services that can sustain all your work safely online and that can allow remote work to run smoothly. A trusted cloud provider can guarantee the safety and security of your data while easing the work-from-home model that is so important right now. Your IT Partner can ensure the migration to the cloud seamlessly and effortlessly.Another important aspect of digitising your company is adopting or, better yet, creating some staple software platforms that can sustain and run your operations. There is a lot of software out there that can help with these needs, but having a custom solution might improve your overall productivity and efficiency. Furthermore, your IT partner can design it so it’s ironclad secure and also user friendly, so that your employees can make good use of it with less hassle.

Lastly, the pressure this pandemic has put on your own IT staff has been tremendous, for sure. But they alone cannot deliver a full-on digital transformation strategy as urgently as these times request it. For this reason, organisations must find and partner up with an IT service provider that has the expertise and resources to deliver this big change within your organisation. The opportunities for automating certain processes and enabling sustainable digital transformation have become a must in this new remote working era.Finding the right partner may not be an easy task, but it is crucial to know that at this moment, we cannot afford to receive low-quality work delivered to us. Outsourcing has gained many points this year, with many companies choosing to join the technological revolution out of pure need. But you cannot afford to take any chances with this and a good solution can be nearshoring.

Nearshoring’s role

With almost everyone searching for ways to conduct their business from a safe physical distance or remotely, a partner that is already accustomed to this way of working is an advantage in stability.  Relying on their technical support might be just what your company needs in order to face this pandemic’s newfound challenges. Nearshoring is the activity in which you request external help for certain projects, usually ones involving software development, to a company located in a nearby region. The most common regions where you can find trustful nearshoring companies are in Central and Eastern European countries, like Romania, for example.Nearshoring can provide a lot of reassurance in these troubled times, where you need your business to keep growing but in a new and adaptable way. These forced changes that everyone is experiencing need appropriate and scalable technological solutions that not many companies can implement alone. Choosing a software development partner will help with just that and much more. Here are a few benefits that nearshoring is bringing to the table in the midst of this pandemic.

Skilled professionals.

In the CEE region, the technical talent pool is widely recognised. Due to their tech-inclined educational programs and the encouragement that this industry is receiving, many people are actively choosing to work in IT. This has attracted all kinds of global companies to open subsidiaries in this region and benefit from the quality work at reduced costs.

Cost-effective custom solutions.

In Romania, the workforce is very reasonably priced, compared to Western Europe. Though not as cheap as India, for example, the prices here are well deserved because most companies pride themselves on offering high-quality work. With a westernised work culture, it is fairly easy to resonate with people here, in terms of delivery, communication and needs. A good nearshoring partner will always find ways to offer a custom approach to every project, and this has only advantages, especially nowadays.

Remote collaboration.

Probably the most important aspect from this list, the ability to collaborate remotely and promptly with your nearshore team is a great plus. Being located in almost the same time zone (+- 1-2hrs) gives you the opportunity to be actively involved in the day-to-day workflow of your project. Communication should work smoothly and efficiently, so that the final outcome is more than satisfactory. In the attempt to develop greater business agility and resilience, companies are investing more and more in nearshoring. It is a low-risk solution for everyone willing to start a digital transformation journey, especially now, when current times are demanding it.

Since 2008, Qubiz has been building new products and software solutions that help small, medium and large companies grow and reach their technological potential. In the last few years, we’ve dedicated an important section of our business to innovation. We believe that technology is here to stay and the sooner we learn how to successfully leverage it, the better outcomes our businesses will have.

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