In what direction will the global crisis drive disruptive digital transformation?

Digitalization is one of the key transformation methods in the last decade. COVID-19 crisis has shown which companies are digital champions and which - laggards. Several sectors have suffered enormous shock due to forced transitions to remote work and demand disruptions. How will digital affect tomorrow's businesses and what do we need to do to be future-proof?

 

A tail wags the dog... and digitalization - businesses?

The role of digitalization is undisputed today and the results of the CIVITTA business barometer study clearly illustrated this. Companies operating in or providing for the digital sector have endured this period most easily. However, our data reveals certain patterns of behavior that are coherent irrespective to the industries.

Companies that invested in digital solutions and new business models before the Covid-19 crisis, now have many more options to adapt than companies of similar profiles in their respective sectors. Most Early Digitalizers demonstrate improved or at least maintained performance. Meanwhile, businesses that were not prepared are faced with tough challenges of improving service quality, developing new value propositions, and strengthening e-commerce under heavy time pressure. So, how will the work culture change, and what will happen next?

Companies are switching to the digital workplace 

The need for remote digital workplace solutions has increased significantly and led companies to re-think their organizational set-up. While the movement towards a digital workspace was showing a steady trend before the pandemic, COVID-19 has accelerated the move to unimaginable speeds. Enterprises that have made the first investments towards the digital workplace before the pandemic, appear to be more resilient to the crisis. These companies with work-from-home tools that have retrained their staff for digital ways of working are more likely to experience revenue increase or at least - stability.

Building digital omnichannel capabilities

Companies had to respond quickly to emergencies and accelerate digitization processes. This has led to a full business reorientation to the online space. Many businesses had already started building their digital omnichannel presence before COVID-19. Some are starting only now. The latest trend is towards a complete move away from physical channels altogether - it allows companies to meet their customer service goals and drive operational efficiency. That is why it is crucial to learn how to work resiliently and support customers cohesively across all digital channels. Many companies are still in the process of figuring out how to rebalance and integrate offline and online operations.

 

Digitalization as a lifeline and future process resilience

Regardless of the extent of previous investments in digital transformation, all business leaders emphasized that many decisions made during this period had been under discussion for a very long time, but were continuously delayed.

For example, the transition to electronic documents, the simplification of processes (especially those that directly affect customers), the accelerated development of digital channels, the integration of the remote work model, and so on. 

"The crisis has provided an opportunity to test many initiatives that we have not dared to do in the past. When we return from the crisis, we have to maintain some of this speed and remember to scale the tests," - elaborated one of the interviewees.

It is important to mention that the increasingly entrenched innovation culture, as well as the digital and agile approaches, have a positive impact on operating businesses. Flexible, remote work culture is mentioned by 50% of the respondents as the most valuable change in their organization. Moreover, another 35% of companies indicated the digitalization of products and services. Thus, the winners will emerge from the crisis by fulfilling the digital transformation plans and behaving with the speed and creativity of a startup.

Learn more about the business future resilience: 

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