Impact of COVID-19 on Digital Transformation

March 31, 2023
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Amidst the Covid-19 outbreak, we have witnessed a lot of changes around the globe. Within a glimpse of an eye, countries went into complete lockdown to contain the spread of a virus, restricted social gatherings, which restricted people to work remotely. To address the new challenges, businesses started to find new ways to continue their operations remotely by adapting a variety of collaborative platforms and video conferencing utilities to remain intact with their employees and clients.Even before the pandemic, technology had become an integrated aspect of the workforce. Businesses were looking at technology as a helpful utility of interacting with customers, enabling some operational scalability, and for a way to adapt automation and quick processing. However, the spread of the coronavirus and the containment measures boost this adaptation process faster. It forced companies to consider creative digital to continue their function remotely and serve their client base with zero hurdles.[lwptoc skipHeadingLevel="h1,h4,h5,h6"]The restriction in gathering as groups pushed many professional organizations to find modern solutions and tools to ensure communication, collaboration, and task completion. In the meantime, customers have expressed their interest in receiving services with little to no contact with people, demanding remote and contact-less operations from customer-facing departments and job roles.All these factors fueled the digital transformation that has impacted businesses throughout the world. Exploring how these transformations have cast contrasting shadows over the businesses can help people acknowledge how organizations can adopt digital transformation and which aspects of such transformation will likely last longer.Below are the notable changes the businesses went through in recent times.

Changing Priorities and Perspective

Businesses have been encouraged to determine that integrating technology into their existing systems requires utmost perfection or technical expertise. Organizations involving different industries have been able to adapt to these changes notably quicker than expected. According to statistics, companies could adopt digital changes 20 to 25 times faster than expected. Specifically, when it comes to remote working, businesses could introduce solutions 40 times faster than they would have expected before the COVID-19 outbreak. What employees would have expected to take a year-long effort to implement at their organizations took an average of 10 to 15 days. The brands could create an effective solution to enable employees to continue their jobs while staying at home.Simply coming up with a solution that functions adequately enables businesses to remain active while allowing employees to work remotely in compliance with containment measures. Most businesses thought that a lack of prioritization was a primary reason digital transformations and capabilities were not adopted, but Covid-19 encouraged organizations to make these changes their top priority. They were bound to do so with an overwhelming pace.

Employee and Customer satisfaction

Due to the increasing trends and need for remote work, companies are forced to think carefully about the degree of dependence of employees on digital technology. They could not simply force employees to start doing with what’s available. With many businesses coping with adapting to the challenging conditions that the pandemic has introduced, paying attention to the significance of introducing an effective digital platform for employees involves many perks for businesses.In the same way, brands are also adapting the ways and digital mediums that can improve customers’ experience and engagement. With customers involved in digitally sustaining rich interactions with brands, businesses must adopt practices that ensure their customers do not face any problems while shopping and converting on their websites.

Evaluation of existing technology to reduce costs

The sudden upsurge in digital transformation has also pushed many businesses to start organizing their technology investments through a ‘spring cleaning’ process. In the pre-covid period, when businesses depend less on their digital capabilities, it is easy for redundancies or service errors to be neglected by both employees and business owners. However, the adaption with an overwhelming dependence on technology triggered by the pandemic has pushed people to ponder over their technology investments and how they align with what they need to run a digitally-enabled business efficiently.Brands have started evaluating the software and digital capabilities they depend upon to check if there are overlapping costs, unnecessary expenditure, or redundancies in operations or modules. Examining why the businesses invested in many technologies to check if there is any justification for the services driving money outflow is mandatory to maintain a budget-friendly approach. Finding ways to eliminate unnecessary expenditures while ensuring that the priorities of the different departments are met is a crucial aspect of smart budget expenditure. Similarly, it is equally essential to look for gaps in the services and examine how other businesses are doing with their digital services and their shortcomings. Businesses need to understand how technology can assist them in streamlining their processes so that the brand can operate effectively in the online world, creating a hurdle-free and direct experience for employees and customers.The primary objective here is to create automated services across the organization. Conferencing platforms, software utilities for hosting projects, tracking mechanisms to monitor customer experiences and reviews, and other important software tools should be opted to create a unified digital experience so that the brand can perform well with fewer complexities and interruptions as possible.

Automation as a way to improve the customer experience

With the increasing demand for contactless services from customers’ end, brands have also experienced a dramatic push towards automation, which interns improved their ability to introduce contactless services for customers. The more automated and tech-driven process, the easier it is for brands to offer safe experiences for their customers.Automation offers great opportunities for brands, such as assistance in managing every process from inventory to customer care. While many businesses have already started to realize the potential of automation in streamlining routine and iterative tasks, more and more companies are pushed by the COVID-19 crisis to change their conventional ways of doing business and enjoy the perks offered by technology and digitization.This trend is instrumental in manufacturing businesses, as the advantages of automation to reducing human interaction by downsizing the staff are notable.

Technology as a tool to innovate and thrive

In the pre-COVID period, many businesses hold a perspective regarding technology as a utility to spare money. For instance, an automated email and order confirmation system spare the marketing and sales team from many iterative tasks and focus on core processes that cannot be handled through automation and technology. But it comes amidst a by-product of other benefits as well. A digital transformation also enables businesses to innovate and improve overall ranking.With the increasing need for lockdown and other containment measures, businesses started to discover the bright side of technology. More businesses reported that creating a business ecosystem centered around data and technology allows them to attain a competitive edge, make informed decisions and improve innovation and value addition.Using technology with a broad perspective allows brands to engage more customers, address their needs, and make their way forward.

Cybersecurity - Challenges and Solutions

Another top trend is cybersecurity concern which comes amidst the increasing dependence of businesses on technology. As businesses across industries rely heavily on technology and data to carry out complex operations and handle important projects, putting an adequate cyber security and information security system in place should be a top priority.The average cybersecurity breach takes an average of 280 days to identify and resolve, which provides crackers a wide window of time to cause immense damages to the company’s data and computer systems. As more employees are working remotely and accessing companies’ servers from their homes and coffee shops, the probability of plausible intrusion is also increased. Therefore, conventional practices to ensure cybersecurity within organizations have also been reformed. In addition to maintaining internal networks, companies have started educating and preparing their remote workforce for any unforeseen problem. Use capabilities such as virtual private networks (VPN) to educate and protect employees from scams or attacks.In the wake of the necessity to work remotely, many companies have recognized the importance of increasing their cybersecurity expenditure. However, it creates a deadlock of problems for the industries worst hit by the pandemic, with decreased revenues forcing budgets to shrink while, on the other hand, the increasing need for cybersecurity.

The age of digital transformation in the post-COVID era

As the world is waiting for the pandemic to end, there exists a question on the future of the multitude of reforms, infrastructures, and practices businesses have adapted to survive during the pandemic. Certainly, most of these reforms are here to stay. The ongoing pandemic encouraged businesses to curb many hurdles that once blocked their way to digital transformation by taking network security measures and developing infrastructures and mechanisms to allow employees to work remotely. Another reason to continue the existing work model is that companies have already made notable investments to protect their digital security and create technological sustainability that allows employees to work from their homes. Last but not the least, the overall productivity and satisfaction of employees working remotely are increased significantly due to perfect work-life balance and flexible working hours.As we have discussed earlier, adopting technology is about saving expenditure, gaining an edge over competitors in a dynamic market, and cracking new opportunities in the industry when it comes to digital transformation. As businesses realize these advantages, they will gear up to keep deploying newer technologies and capitalize on what it has to offer.

End Words

Technology allows businesses to unleash their hidden potential to engage with people around the world within no time. In pre-COVID order, many organizations were uncertain about the opportunities offered by technology. But with the restriction on physical meetings and work to comply with containment measures, organizations who were shy to leave their conventional ways of doing business quickly realized just how powerful technology can be. The way the COVID-19 pandemic helped to boost the digital transformation and created an infrastructure layout, businesses will continue to embrace innovation and technological adoption as a way to move forward. With a better understanding of the capabilities offered by digital transformation, businesses will be likely to capitalize using the opportunities that lie before them, even after the pandemic is over.

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