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Forbes | Playing Digital Catch-Up in The Time Of Covid-19

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By Kristin Savilia, CEO at JOOR.

The first half of 2020 will go down in history as a period that no one expected, for many reasons. From an IT standpoint, we have seen a variety of old-school workflows forced to kick-start their digital transformation. This isn't a bad thing: There are myriad business processes across industries still living in the last century. The problem was not that these businesses were lazy — they just didn't have a clear incentive.

When the pandemic hit, Particle Health accelerated its offering in telemedicine to provide expedited, virtual Covid-19 screenings. Abrigo, a community banking platform, created a solution for small businesses to access their Paycheck Protection Program benefits. And Qualia, which offers residential real estate transaction technology, worked to quickly provide contactless home closings through its platform.

Of course, all of these solutions were around well before the health crisis. I saw this phenomenon at work in my space, retail wholesale management. Although JOOR is a mature and well-established platform, we often encounter brands and retailers that are still using spreadsheets, email, and pen and paper to manage their wholesale business. Those businesses fully understood that they could save time and gain insights if they went digital, but it wasn't broken, so why fix it?

Then came Covid-19. With fashion weeks and trade shows canceled, suddenly all that was left was online shopping. Since the pandemic began, our company has seen demonstration requests grow four times and a 50% increase in traffic on our platform from both brands and buyers now reliant on connecting digitally.

For companies that find themselves suddenly scrambling to catch up, it's important to recognize the potential pitfalls. Choosing the wrong platform and partner for your unique workflow needs can and will result in lost time and wasted dollars.

If you're one of the many companies rushing to go digital, here are three important strategies you should employ.

  1. Deploy Once, Use Often

Without getting too technical here, let me point out the importance of IT integrations. These aren't new — they have been around since the early 2000s and have long been credited with delivering streamlined processes and improved customer experiences. Modern IT platforms use different approaches to integration, and they are not all created equal. Make sure you understand the vendor's approach to connecting the various IT systems and applications across your business — and into your customer's. You might ask questions such as:

  • What setup is required for my partners?
  • How much will setup cost for my organization and my partners, and how much time will it take? 
  • What happens when I add new customers or grow my organization?

A truly modern, future-proofed platform will have taken these factors into consideration to minimize your expense, as well as the expense of your partners, and allow you to both grow.

  1. Beware The Shiny Object

Simply put, experience and scale matter — especially when picking a data platform. How long has the company been in business? What's its reputation for providing customer support? What ecosystem surrounds the platform? Is this a good fit for your company and your industry? More importantly, will the platform actively contribute to making your life easier as well as the lives of your partners? Does the platform have the business management functions you need today, or are those capabilities ideas on paper?

Evaluate a range of prospective solutions and ask the company these questions — then do your own research. The results may surprise you.

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To see the full article featuring Abrigo, visit Forbes, “Playing Digital Catch-Up in the Time of COVID-19.”