Pandemic Accelerates Digital Transformation


I spoke to Robbie Vann Adibe, a very successful angel investor from Silicon Valley, about the impact of the pandemic on his portfolio. He’s seen multiple successful exits.

We’ve worked together for over a decade and he’s been particularly good at picking winners.

I set up the meeting for him with Wired Magazine Editor Chris Anderson, that inspired the “Legend of the Long Tail.”  He’s one of the most brilliant guys I know. Much brighter than me.

He believes this is the end of the office as we know it. CFOs need to cut costs to survive. They’re taking a hard look at their commercial real estate commitments and asking themselves if housing employees is really necessary.

A lot of workers had been telecommuting already by choice. He thinks you may never be going back to the office.

The takeaway is the pandemic accelerates digital transformation.  

Here are 3 ways to adapt to this new normal.

1. Owned vs. Shared Media

Startups, small businesses, and consultants who lack the ability to represent themselves online as well as they can in person are at a huge disadvantage, so build out your Homeland Embassy Strategy.

Your website is your homeland and your social networking profiles are your embassies. Use them to issues visas (or links) to people so they click through to your homeland.

You own your website, but not your embassies, which means you control the user interface and the conversion opportunities.

Appreciate the difference between editorial and advertising content. Advertising by itself is not desirable, but in the context of useful editorial content it is, which is why creating useful, engaging content that’s different from marketing copy is so important.

On your homeland, you control the user experience, so create a news hole that’s relevant to your customers and fill it with contextual conversion opportunities.

2. Virtual Collaboration is the New Normal

Once the physical workspace is gone and employees can no longer collaborate in a common area, companies will accelerate digital transformation and keep fewer employees on staff. 

Expect to see hybrid staffing models — with FTEs and independent contractors shifting from email and physical meetings to online tools like Asana, HubSpot, Trello, Zendesk and Zoom — as organizations look to lower costs and enrich their cross-functional collaborative capabilities in virtual environments. 

There will be a lot of work for digital marketers or public relations agency experts who can provide senior-level guidance using a more innovative framework like this

3. Integrated Stacks vs. Frankenstack

My preferred tech stack for small businesses, independent consultants, and authors.

If you don’t have a developer on staff, stitching together a bunch of different software tools from different providers is a risk cause even if you get it right, you still have to maintain it every time one of those providers issues a new release. 

And tools that don’t integrate well will drain your productivity. So practically speaking, digital transformation means getting a set of tools to support these 3 work areas in virtual environments:

  • Productivity Tools – email, calendars, shared drive, documents and spreadsheets
  • Collaboration Tools – messaging, chat, channels, apps and work graph
  • Customer Relationship Management Tools – contacts, pipeline, forecasts, lead scoring, and workflows

If you lack software developer resources, you need to weigh the options of using best-of-breed vs. vertically integrated software. This may sound overly technical, but it’s not.

If you want to transform your business digitally, you need to learn the basics about this so you can be a smart buyer. It’s actually really simple. I wrote a primer about it here.

Over the last 20 years, I founded and sold 2 software companies and led digital innovation at $1B B2B. 

If you need help, LMK.

Photo by Christian Englmeier on Unsplash

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