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Has COVID-19 Exposed Just How Limited Legacy Information Systems Are?

COVID-19 has challenged the business world in new, unexpected ways. With little warning, organizations had to quickly adapt to shelter-in-place orders, with businesses adopting video conferencing tools to keep communication intact, restaurants and retailers turning to digital commerce channels to maintain revenue, and medical professionals shifting to telehealth appointments to keep caring for patients. In short order, the pandemic completely upended the way we work.

This was most evident in the move to remote working models, where social distance mandates demanded that homes become offices. According to a recent survey by analyst firm Gartner, over 50% of organizations reported a staggering 81% of employees working remote in an effort to adjust to the pandemic. And it shows no sign of slowing down, as survey results released this week from PwC note that 54% of CFOs expect to make remote work a permanent option for roles that allow it, and 73% find that work flexibility will be the key to long-term success. 

COVID-19 has created challenges, but obstacles invite change and opportunity, and these unprecedented times have exposed the tech limitations that have long hampered most organizations. It’s turned long-delayed IT and infrastructure modifications from a “might do” to a “must do,” moving them from an option to an asset. Looking back on the PwC survey cited above, 56% of CFOs note that technology investments will make them better in the long run, an increase from 49% that cited it only 5 weeks prior. 

A lot of people may associate this with digital transformation, which goes beyond simply deploying new tech tools, but rather modifying the business infrastructure for greater efficiency. The companies that have been historically quick to do so, have reaped the benefits—as we explored in a previous blog post. In fact, the digital transformation market is poised for enormous growth, to the tune of $3,294 billion by 2025, growing at a 22.7% CAGR. And with what we’ve witnessed with COVID-19 and the changing needs of today’s workforce, that growth could be a lot higher. Simply put, companies don’t have the luxury to make slow transitions when it comes to their operational structure.

These transitions can look different from one business to another depending on their needs, but COVID-19 and the resulting remote working landscape has put a particular spotlight on access to information and the resources that govern it. Being removed from an office, and the sanctioned systems they host, creates a barrier to knowledge, materials and answers employees need to be productive. Knowledge, be it a product detail listed on a factsheet PDF, or useful sales tip from a colleague, is an organization’s greatest asset, and needs to be up-to-date, discoverable and shareable no matter where employees are or when they need access to it.

By going remote, it got harder to pop your head over a partition to ask a colleague which version of a document was the most accurate, or it was increasingly harder to get quick, simple answers about new product specs without access to a server-hosted library. The cost? Lost time, lost productivity, and likely, a lot of frustration. To illustrate the urgency of this challenge even further, 44% of CFOs note that accelerating new ways of working is a top priority, following 49% who want to improve the remote experience.

In addition to highlighting areas of operational weakness in organizations, COVID-19 had another unfortunate side effect—a dampening of financial resources. How can companies implement the solutions they need to stay functional and competitive on smaller budgets, after absorbing the economic blows of a pandemic?

Fortunately, there are low-cost solutions that can drive results in the areas of greatest value— namely no-code, custom-branded mobile apps that connect people and information. By personalizing a proven and pre-existing platform, companies can have an almost immediate resource at their disposal, at a minimal cost, to better inform, educate and arm employees with the knowledge they need.

At CatalystXL, we understand the need for money to deliver its return when it comes to spending on new solutions, and for those solutions to act fast. With our platform, companies can launch a custom-branded mobile app in as little as 48 hours to elevate information sharing. It keeps information current, accessible and socialized by bringing a network of people and information under one roof while enabling microlearning for employees looking to elevate their know-how. Users simply access it via smartphone or desktop, meaning they have everything they need at their fingertips in or out of the office.

2020 has introduced irreversible change to the ways we work, communicate and more, and organizations would do themselves a disservice to only react to it— instead of embrace it.