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Covid-19: Catalyst for Digitalization

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Just after making the most strapping and hefty New Year resolutions of how to cuff 2020 win and come out like a coffee bean, the unexpected defining health crisis of our time, squalled the globe like a thief in the night. Corona Virus is the greatest challenge that has thrown the world into a pandemonium since World War Two, spreading to every continent except Antarctica, with staggering tragic millions of deaths and families suffering an almost intolerable burden of loss, according to UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) reports. People keep losing jobs and income, with no idea of when the situation will normalize. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labor Organization estimates that up to 400 million jobs could be lost, while the World Bank projects a US$110 billion decline in remittances this year, which could mean 800 million people will not be able to meet their basic needs. Serious!

In all the efforts and hands put on deck in an attempt to weather this cyclone, one laudable action has been the ability to leverage summa cum laude, on the digital space to keep the world a global village. If there is one thing that has defined the world recently, is the ability to adapt. Who would have thought that a time as such will surface when work, school, relationship, business and life in general will be mandatorily virtual? In all of the lessons Covid-19 has served the world with, is the springboard for innovation and adaptation. Like it or not, we are in a digital era and the least negligence to the updates and upgrades on digitalization, throws you off guard and you’re lost in an online space while others carry on with work, studies, shopping, etc. without a blink or halt. This pandemic has birthed numerous online platforms that connect people and virtual communication has become the new “standard”.

By every measure, the world has been in a quagmire. One may ascertain that the pandemic marks a turning point in history, where we journey on a fundamentally different trend.  In the thick of the pandemic a boom in e-commerce was observed as homebound customers turned to digital platforms for purchases. Even though there are already signs of recovery of global economies, it appears the effect of digitalization is unlikely to reverse as people adapt to the new way of life from home and most people seemingly at the edge of ease with the acceleration of virtual life.

With the current happenings, the future of emotional intelligence and human touch becomes uncertain, especially with the fear that another dreadful pandemic may hit the globe with a greater intensity than COVID-19. The ability to adapt is likely to see more digital applications offering a streamlined and simplified user experience, designed to reduce barriers of digital communication.

In a world where the business model of selling and marketing may become entirely virtual, companies will have to move away from purely traditional to digital strategies so as to stay at the upper level of a competitive market. It is primordial to develop digital marketing and personalization capabilities equal to those of e-commerce giants such as Amazon, Alibaba, and eBay and utilize the extraordinary amount of data accessible online to better understand their customer’s needs. Generally speaking, the way of life of our contemporary world is an immediate call to digitalization as almost every aspect of our lives has been transformed: from work, school, relationship, business etc. However, as George Westerman will put it “When digital transformation is done right, it’s like a caterpillar turning into a butterfly, but when done wrong, all you have is a really fast caterpillar.”

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