Cornerstones of business models in the new normal


Jarmo Suoranta

Jarmo Suoranta

I could say that no company could have guessed upcoming massive events like the Coronavirus pandemic. But the truth is, we shouldn’t have been surprised – the crisis has followed one of the scenarios written by WHO years ago already. Human nature is optimistic, so we didn’t believe it. Last spring it happened, and our optimism kicked us hard. Many companies survived, unfortunately, some didn’t. Some experienced growth. Was it luck that determined who were the rare winners of Corona times? In some cases, yes. In most cases, it was perhaps a bit of luck, but mostly, it was because their business models were already fully digitalised.

The first wave of Corona has passed in Finland. The second wave is knocking on our doors but eventually, we’ll get rid of this virus. At least to a certain degree, we can live normally. But what is this “normal”? We’ve heard the extension “new” before the word normal. So the normal is not the normal we’ve been used to. We’ve seen there are different ways of working, ordering and consuming services. Many of the things we used to do in specific locations don’t actually have to happen physically and face-to-face.

Digitalisation starts with your business model and customer-journey paths

It’s time to ensure that businesses meet the requirements of the new normal. I recommend looking at existing business models and customer-journey paths. Can you serve your customers online in all use cases? Are there any steps I call “manual steps” – something where you, for example, need a printer or visiting customer service?

“In normal circumstances, these kind of “non-digitised” flaws in the process are allowed. But if you want to succeed in the new normal, I don’t think so.”

When all this started, I immediately noticed many fundamental parts of my daily work suddenly became issues in the home office. Within the first week, there were several times I desperately needed a printer or scanner, which I didn’t have at home. For example, the new firm’s accounting cannot be connected to our account, because banking authorisations must be signed manually (the print-sign-scan drill). Yep, there are a lot of processes without the possibility for digital signing. In normal circumstances, these kind of “non-digitised” flaws in the process are allowed. But if you want to succeed in the new normal, I don’t think so.

I recommend modelling your processes and finding these manual steps. Processes modelled in the right way can be used as a part of your IT as such, and then, one-by-one, unwanted elements of your business processes can be automated. This way, even your legacy systems are no longer an excuse for not modifying processes.

But what about cases where your business is always served face-to-face? There are definitely manual steps like visiting a salon for a haircut. I can’t promise every business model can be fully digitalised. Still, thinking out-of-the-box, you might find a new angle. As a semi fitness enthusiast, I was suffering when I couldn’t meet my physiotherapist (although I guess she was suffering much more than I when all her revenue was cut suddenly). I found a simple online service with ready-made progressive programs for different problems experienced by runners for 9,90 USD / month. I’m not saying it’s the same as meeting a physiotherapist face-to-face. Still, the updated content has kept me doing daily routines continuously, and my hips feel better than last February.

Sounds simple, and it actually is. The first step can be as simple as the previous example. In the end, it’s quite a no-brainer, but it’s a scalable business model and fully digitalised. Then the next question is what to do when every physiotherapist is offering a similar service? Well, the next step is to go further, build new and differentiating business models. Maybe combining real-time video feed with a personal touch in the service. By leveraging ecosystems and partners you could still maintain scalability.

Small steps towards automated business

I’m not an expert in planning new business models for every domain, but what I and especially our team can bring, is technological know-how. The world is full of wonderful platforms, applications, frameworks, and digital tools. Building digital services can mean picking ready-made pieces that are suitable for your business model. The first version can be quick-and-dirty, but let’s make sure the user experience is flawless. And let’s remember, in the end, the real winners are the ones with fully digitalised business models. Since day one, users can’t meet any manual steps. From day two, you have to make sure the back office is fully automated as well.

Trust me, it’s doable and it’s not even as hard or complicated as you might think.

Jarmo is a digi-savvy CEO with a passion to shape business with better use of technology. He has 20 years’ experience from different domains and business sizes, private and public, and working with systems like ERP, Asset Management and Tracking, Reporting and Location Analytics.

If you’d like to have a chat about digitalising your business processes, please book an appointment in Jarmo’s calendar through this link:

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