If you’re like us, there are plenty of words and phrases associated with 2020 you hope you’ll never hear again, such as “unprecedented.” Another phrase we’ve heard for months is the suggestion we will all face a “new normal,” reflecting the many changes the COVID-19 pandemic has left in its wake.
Of course, one of those changes has been a transformation of the concept of going to work. Companies that have invested millions in building, furnishing, and equipping first-rate offices suddenly found themselves doing business from employees’ kitchen tables and walk-in closets. The weekly progress meeting across the mahogany conference room table was suddenly supplanted with the tiny screen images of Zoom and Teams meetings.
There are those who believe the “current normal” is merely a temporary bump in the road, but the Brightworks team doesn’t agree. We see what is happening as a profound, fundamental shift in the way America and the world will do business long after the pandemic becomes history.
Companies may still operate lavish offices and employees may continue to dutifully arrive just after eight a.m., but the prospect of future pandemics, power outages, terror threats, and even a February blizzard will inspire companies to stop from thinking of the office as a physical space and envision it more in terms of a virtual concept. Even companies that prefer to do business in cubicles and corner offices will never lose sight of the fact that they may need to return to remote arrangements on a moment’s notice. The marketplace may have tolerated the bumps and delays of adapting the first time it happened, but any company that’s unprepared for the next time and the time after that isn’t likely to survive for long.
We’ve coined a term for this new normal: Digital by Default. It’s a simple phrase underscoring a powerful change in how businesses will approach their future operations. They will continue to have a physical presence, but instead of emphasizing those locations, they’ll concentrate their assets in digital technology, moving operations into the cloud.
Yes, employees may still come to work, but their laptops and other devices will become their constant companions. Some Tuesday morning, they will awaken to a text from HR announcing that the headquarters office is closed for some reason, and everyone will instantly shift to working in place, whether that place is their living room, a coffee shop, or a folding chair on a Caribbean beach. Instead of thinking of a downtown office tower as the company’s default, the “real” company will be housed in data centers and be accessible from anywhere.
This isn’t the stuff of science fiction. It’s already happening, and savvy companies (including ours) have already made the shift. Over the past several years, Brightworks has paid close attention to the IT industry’s visionaries and cultivated relationships with companies we believe will be household names in the coming years. It isn’t that we’re clairvoyant or unusually brilliant (well …), but it has been the result of trying to find more effective ways to serve our clients’ needs. We’ve deployed solutions like Complete Cloud, Exigence, and Verge.io because they’ve provided better ways to do what our clients wanted to accomplish.
So as we watched the business world turn upside down in reaction to a medical virus, we were ready. When clients called and asked us to facilitate the changes that made working from home possible, we had the platforms and systems they needed.
Digital by Default is the future, but we are already deploying it. We’re already helping companies make the transition to becoming completely digital, no matter what the motivation. Some see digital as the future of their operations. Others just want to ability to switch back and forth between the traditional office environment and the digital realm whenever they need to. No matter the reason or the need, we already have the ability to make those changes possible and far less chaotic than the companies imagine.
The concept of Digital by Default is inherently flexible and adaptable. It’s not Windows- or Mac-centric. It doesn’t require everyone to agree upon a single device. It doesn’t mean companies have to ramp up massive server farms or spend weeks training employees. In essence, it’s a technology concept that gets out of their way so companies can focus on their business. Company leaders and employees don’t have to understand how it all works — they just have to know that it does.
Is your company ready to be Digital by Default? Our team will be happy to help you get there.