McKinsey: Digital strategy and COVID-19
McKinsey & Company is a leading global consulting firm helping businesses across the private, public and social sectors to allow them to create “change that matters”. The consulting company has been leading the industry for over 90 years and has recruited over 30,000 experienced employees in 130 cities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has hit many businesses hard, it has accelerated the digital transformation of every business in a very timely manner, even the world's largest corporations have been rushed into a whirlwind of remote working. The pandemic will leave long lasting effects on all of us, both negative and positive.
The pace of digital transformation and the technology industry was already fast, now factoring in a pandemic, the industry is changing in a way we have never seen before, from breakthroughs in artificial intelligence to combat the virus to providing the healthcare industry with the most in depth and detailed medical tools.
Businesses that had planned a digital strategy over the next few years have been swept off their feet and need to transform in just a matter of weeks. According to McKinsey, a crisis demands boldness and learning. The company’s research shows that bold moves to adopt digital technologies early and at scale and at scale, combined with a heavy allocation of resources against digital initiatives and M&A, correlate highly with value creation.
McKinsey suggests four key areas of focus to become bold, the four key areas are to innovate entirely new digital offerings, deploying design thinking and technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) at scale across your business, and doing all of this “at pace” through acquisitions.
The global consulting company says that it is imperative to reinvent your business at its core. The way to do this is through making changes to; Supply chain transparency and flexibility, data security and finally remote workforces and automation.
McKinsey’s website hosts a COVID-19 case tracking system to keep customers up to date and knowledgeable about the pandemic. It contains an interactive map colour coded by the population of age groups, it also contains a table of how many cases are in each geographical region.
Dark Wolf: accelerating security for USAF
As a small company whose biggest customers are the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community, Dark Wolf Solutions (Dark Wolf) is a triple-threat, specializing in Cybersecurity, Software and DevOps, and Management Solutions. Dark Wolf secures and tests cloud platforms, develops and deploys applications, and offers consultancy services performing system engineering, system integration, and mission support.
The break for Dark Wolf came when the Department of Defense decided to explore software factories. Rick Tossavainen, Dark Wolf’s CEO, thinks it was an inspired path for the DoD to take. “It was a really great decision,” he says, “Let’s pull our people together as part of this digital transformation and recreate what Silicon Valley startup firms typically have. Let’s get into commercial facilities where we have open windows and big whiteboards and just promote ideation and collaboration. And it creates this collaborative environment where people start creating things much more rapidly than before.”
It has been, Tossavainen says, “amazing to watch” and has energized the Federal Contracting Sector with an influx of new talent and improved working environments that foster creativity and innovative ways of approaching traditional problems.
“We originally started working with the US Air Force about three years ago. The problem was at the time you could develop all the software you wanted but you couldn’t get it into production – you had to go through the traditional assessment and authorization process. I talked to Lauren Knausenberger and she told me about Kessel Run and what eventually came out of this was the DoD’s first continuous ATO [Authority To Operate].”
The secret to Dark Wolf’s success – and its partnerships with USAF and Space Force – lies in a client-first attitude. “We’re not looking to maximise revenue,” Tossavainen explains. “We tell all of our employees, if you’re ever faced with an issue and you don’t know how to resolve it, and one solution is better for the customer and the second is better for Dark Wolf, you always do number one. We’ve just got to take care of our customers, and I look for other partners that want to do that. And let’s work together so that we can bring them the best answer we can.”
Rapid releases and constant evolution of software are common themes among USAF’s partners. Like many firms operating in the commercial and public sector spaces, Dark Wolf leads with a DevSecOps approach.
“Failure is tolerated,” says Tossavainen. “If it’s not going the right way in three months, let’s adjust. Let’s rapidly change course. And you can tell really quickly if something’s going to be successful or not, because they’re doing deployments multiple times a day – to the customer.”