smart working to maintain business continuity during covid-19

How to Maintain Business Continuity during COVID-19: Smart Working

It’s becoming highly evident that the wide-sweeping impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are fast-tracking digital transformation initiatives and forcing companies to adjust business models to keep operations running.

Nobody can foresee when this emergency will stabilize, or the magnitude of the financial impact on the business network. The time for establishing operational efficiencies, planning how to restructure business models and grow innovation frameworks to accommodate enhanced mobility is now.

Businesses that invest in mobile solutions to create and implement new methodologies can reduce the risks related with the COVID-19 outbreak and keep their organizations running successfully during this crisis period.

In this article we will show how digital transformation and smart working are allowing companies to continue to operate efficiently and effectively.

smart working from home

Smart Working

Understanding the meaning of Smart Working may not be intuitive or immediate. We hear more and more about “smart working” but what does it actually mean?

We can define it as a new managerial philosophy based upon giving people flexibility and autonomy in the choice of space, schedules and tools they use, but, with a greater responsibility for results. It involves the “intelligent” rethinking of the ways in which work is carried out, removing constraints arising from fixed position, open space and single office models that are at odds with the principles of personalization, flexibility and virtuality.

Smart Working is not just about work-life balance and corporate welfare initiatives for employees. It is a pathway to profound cultural change and an evolution of corporate organizational models. A detailed, phased roadmap, which is congruent with the organization’s technological, cultural and managerial nuances is required.

In all of this, technology plays a key role. Smart Working necessitates Digital Transformation in the workplace. This involves the application of technologies to connect people, spaces, objects and business processes. The aim is to deliver efficiency and effectiveness that maximise productivities in line with business objectives and priorities.

Smart Working: Helping Business cope with Coronavirus

Since February, Chinese businesses have successfully adopted Smart Working as a commercial antidote to the impact of Coronavirus.  As the virus now proliferates across other parts of the World, there is a unique opportunity to embrace Smart Working as a socially responsible vehicle for business to continue and to thrive.

The Technology That Enables Smart Working

Smart Working has become possible because of digital technologies that allow us to choose where and when to work. Technologies that support remote work are already widespread and diverse.

Employees today communicate through different owned and corporate devices. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), once broadly opposed by business, has become a main driver of agile work. Indeed, there is no Smart Working without Enterprise Mobility Management and many organizations have already started on the path to embrace it. BYOD does require governance and systems security to safeguard against employees’ personal devices compromising business technology infrastructure.

In terms of other enabling equipment, the standard suite generally consists of a laptop PC, VPN and social collaboration services but often also includes company provided mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

Customised Apps

Mobile apps can be invaluable in driving business value. All kinds of businesses use mobile apps in all kinds of ways. Apart from the self-evident role of apps in m-commerce to generate revenues and to engage the customer in novel ways, businesses are now identifying compelling ways in which mobile can support other functions. These can include supply chain management, business documentation, administration and compliance, remote monitoring and control of systems and infrastructure, training and development etc.

One word of caution though. The spike in homeworking is placing unforeseen pressures on internet connectivity. Low speed connections can negatively impact the benefits of Smart Working. Make sure when your app is being designed that the technical requirements include solutions for limited connectivity scenarios.

Scalability should also be planned for. Scalability, in this context, can be defined as the capacity of a system to deal with a growing amount of work by adding resources to the platform’s framework. As the number of users and customers engaging with the app grows, the app platform must have the capacity to grow too.

collaborating tools for smart working

Collaborative platforms for Smart Working

There are various excellent platforms that facilitate Smart Working. Different platforms offer different solutions, from remote meeting, to project coordination and task management, to content sharing and collaboration, etc.

Here are a few of the more popular…

G-Suite

G-Suite is a bundle of productivity and collaboration tools, including Gmail (for e-mail), Google Drive (for uploading, sharing and managing content), Google Hangouts (a video conferencing system), Google Calendar as well as document, spreadsheet, presentation and task management software.

Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 is similar to G Suite in terms of the range of tools on offer.  There are advantages and disadvantages to G Suite and Microsoft when compared with each other. They are both excellent products so any choice regarding which to select often simply comes down to personal preference of Google vs Microsoft. There are several online articles that critique and compare both if you need some assistance.

Trello

Trello is a tool that allows you to detail tasks and activities that need to be completed, organize them into lists, assign them to the relevant personnel  and track the progress and completion of the work.

Slack

Slack is a business collaboration and instant communications platform. Users can engage with colleagues, clients or other stakeholders using specific topics and dedicated channels to manage and store communications. Inside the platform you can connect Google Drive, Trello, Google Calendar and many other popular applications.

Skype

Skype  is a Microsoft solution for making video calls, chatting and sharing documents and files. It also offers the capability to create channels for the organization of teamwork. Video conferencing solutions like this help organizations save time, resources, and money by organizing large meetings with only a few clicks.

TeamViewer

This is a platform that allows remote access to your computer or other mobile devices from any device through any browser. So, for example, a user working from home could access their office desktop remotely.

Conclusion

The vast majority of businesses are investigating and implementing new ways of working as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. While many organisations had been supporting home working  before the outbreak, for others this is a whole new proposition. Fortunately, the digital world provides access to customised and off-the-shelf tools to facilitate the transition from traditional to remote working methodologies..

Hopefully enforced work-from-home orders will be lifted in the coming months. However, businesses should probably anticipate that perceptions surrounding working from home will be changed forever.

Smart Woking offers a host of benefits for employers and employees and should be embraced as a positive despite the dreadful backdrop that is enforcing the current situation.  Consequently, in many cases, the transition to new work methodologies should be considered a long-term project and not a short-term emergency measure.

This requires business to plan for remote connectivity, systems infrastructure and information security. It also required the deployment of the digital tools that will drive growth and productivity.

Many  of these tools already exist but the really ambitious and innovative businesses will need some proprietary customized solutions to drive new value within their various stakeholder groups. If you need to know more about customised mobile applications, Appify is here to help.


digital transformation in healthcare

Digital Transformation in Healthcare in 2020

Like most other industries, healthcare is being revolutionized by digital transformation. And sometimes, digital transformation in healthcare can seem overwhelming. Adapting to the digital era requires an innovative and risk-taking mentality.

Overall, the impact of digital transformation on the healthcare sector has been a positive one. Telemedicine, AI-based medical devices, and blockchain electronic health records are just some examples of how digital transformation has modernized healthcare.

Through these innovative solutions, healthcare providers can leverage optimized healthcare systems that leave minimal room for  human error while patients enjoy an amazing user experience through mobile and web-based solutions.  Patients also have access to better healthcare through VR, wearable medical devices and other mobile technologies.

Let’s take a deeper look at how digital transformation has impacted healthcare:

on-demand healthcare

1. Increase in On-Demand Healthcare

Statistics reveal that almost 50% of all web browsing in the world happens on mobile devices.  And the fact that almost four billion people globally are using internet on a daily basis makes it quite evident how digital transformation can open a number of opportunities in the healthcare sector.

On-demand means receiving things at your own convenience, at a time of your preference. The concept of receiving services on-demand is becoming popular in the healthcare industry.

People can receive medical advice and book medical appointments on the go. They can access a range of services through on-demand healthcare applications.

big data in healthcare

2. Importance of Big Data in Healthcare

Many companies use the large amount of data accumulated in their systems to provide better customer service, create personalized campaigns and, of course, to increase profitability. Businesses that use big data have a competitive advantage because they can make accurate decisions faster.

Big data aggregates information about the consumers through social media, ecommerce and online transactions, and identifies patterns and trends for future use.  In this way, knowing the historical and real-time data of their clients, companies can make customer-centric decisions.

Big data has made its way into the healthcare sector as well. Medical researchers can use it to spot risk factors for diseases. Data derived from electronic health records (EHRs), social media and other sources provides healthcare organizations and government agencies with up-to-date information on communicable disease threats and outbreaks.

For the healthcare industry, big data can provide several important benefits, including:

  • Lower rate of medication errors – through patient record analysis, intelligent software can flag any clashes in patients’ health records and drug prescriptions, alerting health professionals and patients when there’s risk of an error.
  • Better staff management –predictive analysis can help hospitals and clinics in estimating future admission rates, which allows them to allocate the right staff to their patients. This could reduce ER wait times when a facility is understaffed.

After understanding the benefits of big data for healthcare companies, it is evident why healthcare organizations need to invest in organizing and analyzing their data in 2020.

blockchain in healthcare

3. Blockchain for Better Electronic Health Records

Blockchain is a digital ledger or a computerized database of transactions. It allows customers to safely exchange financial information with suppliers, without any third party such as banks.

In healthcare, blockchain is proven to be an effective tool in preventing data breaches, improving the accuracy of medical records, and cutting costs.

The implementation of this technology is imperative for electronic health records in 2020. EHR is basically the digital version of a medical chart and includes everything from a patient’s medical history and diagnoses, to treatment plans, immunization dates and test results.

It can also include their addresses, contact details, next-of-kin, insurance particulars and credit card numbers (in case of online payment). This is why it is essential to use blockchain to protect this critical information from getting into the wrong hands.

Some countries, like the UK, have started to experiment with blockchain technology to manage medical records and transactions, making records not only 100% accurate, but also harder to hack.

predictive analysis in healthcare

4. Predictive Healthcare

Predictive analysis in healthcare can not only benefit patients at a personal level, but also be used to predict what illnesses and diseases will become problematic in the near future. Utilizing big data, healthcare companies can analyze the most researched keywords to find out common illnesses and prepare accordingly.

For example, through predictive analysis, medical facilities could hire temporary staff to deal with an impending outbreak well before staff shortage becomes chaotic.

wearable medical devices

5. Growth of Wearable Medical Devices

The number of healthcare companies collecting data from medical devices is increasing at pace.

In the past, most patients checked with their healthcare provider when they already had a problem, or at most, once a year during the yearly check-up. But in this digital era, patients are focusing on prevention and maintenance, and they demand continuous access to information about their health.

As a result, healthcare companies are beginning to invest in wearable technology devices that can provide up-to-date monitoring of high-risk patients to determine the likelihood of a major health event.

Some of the most common wearable devices are:

  • Heart rate sensors
  • Exercise trackers
  • Sweat meters – to monitor blood sugar levels
  • Oximeters – to monitors the amount of oxygen carried in the blood

Wearable medical devices allow patients to take their health in their own hands.  They can monitor their stats anytime they want and can send the results to their physician for consultation. Through the data collected from such devices, insurance companies can provide personalized offers, and clients can get more convenient prices or premiums.

We all know that doing exercise or dieting  can be hard but wearable medical devices, such as fitness bands, can create competitive goals for users to keep motivation high.

VR in Healthcare

6. Virtual Reality in Treatment

A few years ago, nobody could’ve imagined the possibility of reducing a patient’s pain through a VR game. Digital transformation in healthcare has presented a safer and more efficient treatment of chronic pain, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and stroke by means of Virtual Reality.

Doctors can also utilize virtual reality simulations to hone their skills or to plan complicated surgeries. Medical students have been practicing surgery through VR for quite a few years now.

From startups to pharma giants, in 2020, every company should consider implementing VR. Globally, spending on virtual and augmented reality in healthcare market is predicted to reach $5.1 billion by 2025.

Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare

7. Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is more than just a digital transformation trend in the healthcare sector. AI represents a medical innovation that will shape almost all facets of the industry.

Talking about AI in healthcare, you may probably be thinking about the Japanese nurse robot or hospital droid designed to assist human nurses with routine tasks like restocking supplies. But artificial intelligence in healthcare is much more than that.

AI-based chatbots can substitute customer service agents as well as professional therapists. The global healthcare chatbots market is projected to reach $314.3 million by 2023 from $122 million in 2018.

The real power of AI can be best observed in areas like precision medicine, medical imaging, drug discovery, and genomics. In the past, patients often received generic therapies with considerable failure rates. But now, thanks to sophisticated pattern recognition, these patients can have access to personalized treatments.

With artificial intelligence, healthcare providers can analyze thousands of pathology images to provide highly accurate diagnosis without human error.

Some of the largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are also using machine learning algorithms to shorten the drug development cycle. It can reduce time and save costs as well as lives.

Digital Transformation in Healthcare: Your Health is in Your Hands

Digital technology is a valuable tool that can transform healthcare as we know it. The progress of digital transformation in healthcare in 2020 is very promising. As in any industry, the goal is to create products and services that improve lives and fulfill a want or need. Technology can help in realizing this goal.

If you need help with your digital transformation initiatives, or  you need an innovative healthcare mobile app for your organization, contact Appify at hello@appify.digital