Digitalisation: now more than ever

Published on 21 July 2020

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  • Digitalisation: now more than ever

Tomorrow comes quicker than we think

Conventional wisdom has always encouraged us to fall back on the things we’re most familiar with, but what happens when the unknown is the state we’re all getting accustomed to? As the world continues to grapple with covid-19 and the far-reaching impacts any global humanitarian crisis will cause, global businesses are looking for answers.

Any cursory google entry will underscore how urgent the transformative process has become. From a digitisation programme in the Alps to emerging digital efforts in Latin America, the world seems to be in a mad rush to cross the digitalisation finish line. It’s easy to see why.

As we have moved through the initial stages of the crisis, it has become more and more clear that international travel and face-to-face meetings are not going to be the norm for some time. Our new methods of working have exposed some flaws in the “old way” of doing things – so even when things do come back online businesses are going to be operating very differently than they were pre-2020.

“Everyone has noticed that online meetings take less time than regular meetings. Board meetings which would normally have taken eight to nine hours we can suddenly do in two to three hours. That has been quite an interesting statement on the inefficiency perhaps of meetings in the past.”

John Hollows (CEO), CSOB

Uncertainty in the world of business is disarming, but forward-thinking businesses will be able to adapt to that uncertainty and chart a clear path for success moving forward.

What does success look like?

For many businesses, the metrics of success aren’t defined in terms of what things look like today, but how things are projected to look in the future. This position makes even more sense when the global GDP has undergone an unprecedented collapse (13% decline in the first half of 2020). Entire industries have been forced to pivot: If today doesn’t look so good, how can we make tomorrow look better?

Moving to a digital mode is particularly attractive now because it addresses multiple issues simultaneously. First and foremost, the way we do business has mandated a change, both in terms of strategy and execution. And the bulk of this change has meant a heightened reliance on efficient and resilient digital environments. From creating remote working ecosystems almost on the fly, to filling a need for more complex, cloud-based transactions, the thirst for digital solutions is coming from all directions.

Secondly, many businesses already have digitalisation initiatives in the pipeline. The question facing these companies was never if, but when. It’s easy to let “when” stay vague and non-specific if the drivers forcing the change are abstract, but when real-world circumstances begin to drive the change, then “when” becomes more crucial to define.

Moving into tomorrow

Tomorrow is already here. What looked like the new normal ended up being superseded by something else totally new and unexpected. This is why we instinctively fall back on past experience to imagine what the future will look like. But in reality, the future will never totally align with our expectations.

The businesses that are going to adapt and thrive moving through Covid-19 are those who will embrace the future and the change it will bring with it. Whether it’s by transforming your physical footprint to a digital one or whether it’s a software solution used to increase productivity and efficiency, a comprehensive digital strategy is going to be an integral part of any future success.

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