COVID-19: An accelerator of digital transformation for companies?
- In response to travel bans, school shutdowns and recommendations to avoid gathering and keep their distance to limit the spread of the virus. Many people are relying on the internet to maintain some form of social contact..
- Most countries are affected by Covid-19 and companies are already seeing the impact. When traditional channels and operations are affected by the epidemic, the benefits of digital networks, services and operations become evident!
- Most companies have a hybrid infrastructure. This means that their operations rely on a mix of in-house and online tangible tools such as the cloud and SaaS services.
Since the beginning of March 2020, more than 3.4 billion people have been compelled or called upon to stay at home, i.e. almost 43% of the world's population. COVID-19 has pushed many citizens around the world to rethink their daily lives, from work to education to leisure. For businesses, the biggest challenge is to ensure business continuity while ensuring the safety of employees and customers.
What we can observe at the moment is an intensification of the relationship that men have with technology. Previously, an employee associated his "workspace" with his company's premises, as did the vast majority of society. Now, this norm, which is well anchored in our minds, has been overturned by the current situation and now translates into telework with a mobile "teleworking space". For example, in the healthcare, banking and e-services sectors, figures are skyrocketing in terms of the shift towards digital systems and platforms. Adoption is widespread, even among the elderly!
Indeed, this is a wake-up call for companies that focus on day-to-day operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Keep in mind that in this period of global containment, a good level of flexibility will allow businesses to continue to operate. Even if their usual protocols will be strongly tested.
COVID-19 is not the only reason for the boom in digital transformation projects initiated by companies. But this is clearly a major acceleration requirement, since during this period a large majority of the population has understood that technology can be used to solve some of their problems.
- Would having a website with an e-commerce section be an immediate and affordable solution for SMEs?
- And what if digital outsourcing is currently the practical solution to acquire the resources needed to optimize your website?
Businesses around the world have seen their priorities change dramatically in recent weeks. At the top of the list are typically supply chain concerns and fears of economic fallout. But the disruptions faced by a company's employees are causing their managers to rethink daily operations in order to keep them running as smoothly as possible, despite the fact that their employees are unable to get to their workplaces.
Traditional Business Continuity Plans (BCP) and Disaster Recovery Plans (DRP) set out what should be done when the most significant impacts hit facilities and buildings. However, only few of them propose concrete actions on how to maintain daily activities when the population is in confinement and the employees' situation becomes unstable.
On one hand, the main negative impacts of COVID-19 on companies can be summarized in 3 points:
- Inability to meet clients physically
- Significant drop in revenues threatening cash flow
- Inability to resume production
But on the other hand, this situation also offers a number of exceptional opportunities. These positive points should be used by companies as a lever to continue and develop their activities:
- Improved remote collaboration within the company
- Awareness by all employees of the value of digital transformation and information technologies
- A strengthening of skills in digital marketing and commercial business development
Businesses must be able to offer simple, digital and low-cost products, services and user experiences for continued growth. Unfortunately, businesses need to make a leap of several years in just a few months to be able to deliver easy-to-implement, intuitive and reliable digital experiences as quickly as possible.
Towards a business model that focuses on technology and the future
Many people associate digital transformation with an IT project. Why not see digital transformation as a journey and not just a destination? Indeed, each company is at a different stage of this journey. Today, even the majority of high-tech companies such as Apple, Amazon or Microsoft are transforming themselves to become even more computerized - if you look at the way they are moving towards the "Cloud".
In addition, there are also the so-called "traditional" companies that are still taking their first steps in digital adoption. For a company that is at the initial stage, the road to digital accessibility is still long. It has to overcome a number of obstacles in order to be able to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital transformation.
Another challenge is that many companies have the wrong culture, motivation or philosophy about our subject. For many of them, technology, IT and digital marketing are synonymous with risk and unnecessary expense. The philosophy here is to limit the risks and minimize the costs.
Today, technology is shifting from risk and extra cost to value and differentiation. The latter's greatest strength: providing a decisive competitive advantage over the competition.
Here are some predictions about the new technological standards that companies will have to adapt to once the pandemic is under control:
- An increasing trend towards online shopping and e-commerce
- Strong demand for hybrid events where guests can attend in person or online
- A better approach to risk management of future health disasters through the use of IOT (Internet of Things) technology and Big Data
Before embarking on your digital journey, evaluate your production systems
Business resilience begins with a comprehensive assessment of current core systems. Most companies have a hybrid infrastructure. This means that their operations rely on the collaboration of internal tools with online platforms such as the cloud on the internet.
This allocation of production resources allows a plan to be developed to ensure that employees can continue to have access to the tools and data they need to carry out their missions, even if they work remotely.
It is an excellent alternative to take advantage of new technologies while keeping costs down at the same time. However, this means having a state-of-the-art computer system to support the future constant flow of data. So, more than ever, it is important to ensure the smooth operation of your digital services, from your hosting services to the security of the data that circulates within them.
And you, how has the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the digital transformation of your business or industry?