The global pandemic is the time when many B2B companies and innovators want to bring help, innovate and create new solutions that can be useful to the world. Ever since COVID-19 started spreading, many digital products and services have emerged on the market. A lot of companies had to go through the digital transformation in order to survive these tough times, to evolve and maintain their relations with the customers and business partners. How significant is the influence of digitalization on the fate of companies? How will the adoption of digital affect the future of business? Let’s take a closer look at this topic.
Almost all areas of our lives have moved online in a very short time. The changes took place in most parts of our lives, from study and work, a revolution in public administration, through shopping and maintaining our social contacts. The changes in the mode of operation also affected enterprises. Many of them, even those who were initially unconvinced about new technologies, were forced to go through the process of digital transformation and help their businesses survive even if their digital capabilities weren’t high enough so far. The optimization and automation of the processes have helped companies to become more efficient, competitive, and better prepared for the next possible economic closures and economical consequences of the pandemic.
According to the survey conducted within the European countries, about 70% of companies from the DACH area claimed that the pandemic accelerated the speed of their digital transformation. Financial institutions from Asian countries rapidly switched their physical channels to digital channels. The changes affected every country, every industry, every sector and had to be implemented immediately. Healthcare providers have moved into telehealth at a dizzying pace, the same happened with the insurance industry that switched their model of working into self-service claims assessment and retailers into contactless shopping and delivery.
About 60% of the surveyed decision-makers stated that the global situation had a negative impact on their businesses. When it comes to the long-term effects of the COVID-19 on world economics, about ⅓ of respondents believe that the industry will benefit economically after all. 24% of the international digital entrepreneurs aren’t of such optimistic vision and maintain the opinion that the consequences will be crucially damaging for the digital economy in the long run.
Instead of treating digital initiatives as a fragmentary use of technology or a tool for achieving business goals, we should rather treat them as a holistic process of transforming and conducting the whole business. It covers all areas of the company’s operations: from production, logistics, supply chain, quality control, buildings management up to administration, controlling, or employees’ training.
Ways of supporting companies through digitization in times of crisis
The first and most obvious change in how businesses operate, brought about by COVID-19 and lockdowns, is changing the way people work. In the survey mentioned above, the majority of respondents (78% internationally) are of the opinion that working remotely will be more accepted after the crisis than it was ever before.
For some industries, working from home was nothing new but for most people, it was a completely unusual and shocking situation. Some companies that never even suspected such a change weren’t sufficiently prepared with their hardware and software. Business owners and managers had to learn how to maintain the level of employees’ productivity. The enterprises that took care of the proper flow of their network and internet capacity didn’t have so many troubles with communication with clients, suppliers, business partners, and stakeholders. On the other hand, those companies with bandwidth constraints, inflexible legacy systems, and processes, weren’t able to follow the users’ demands. The antiquated government systems have not been able to keep up with the enormous volume of requests for social assistance from citizens. Older systems can’t be quickly moved to the cloud, so IT departments have focused on finding a “workaround” to the problem. The good news is that with such a high percentage of people working remotely in terms of lockdown, digital cooperation is progressing both in terms of the advancement of tools facilitating work and the level of employees’ performance. Working from home will probably become the new normal permanently.
Multi-channel business model
In response to COVID-19, most of the shops and service-providing businesses were physically closed for a long period of time. Consumers started to go online shopping more than ever before. In order to meet their needs and also provide maintain financial liquidity in the company, business owners had to introduce omnichannel commerce solutions. In order to facilitate the processes of purchase and sales, businesses had to connect physical and digital strategies. Many restaurants and companies connected to the food industry have introduced different delivery methods such as curbside pickup or other methods of delivery that don’t require face2face contact. Pandemic has accelerated the rise of new digitalization trends when it comes to food delivery services.
Digital platforms enabling contact with customers and facilitating internal communication
According to the results of the above-mentioned survey, about 59% of the international surveyed companies assume that the role of digital tools such as Asana, Slack, or Microsoft Teams will be increasingly significant.
All institutions and organizations had to struggle with maintaining fluent communication with their customers. Trainers, coaches, and other industries which require face-to-face contact with their recipients were forced to switch their way of communicating from direct to online. Streaming services have become a new form of conducting classes by the teachers. Almost every school and university have switched to online courses. All events that have so far been carried out live as well as conferences have started to take place virtually. While some organizations have turned back to the traditional model of working, some of them rather opt for a hybrid model due to the financial benefits from that form of staying in touch with their consumers.
The use of automation
Another new digital initiative that came along with the outbreak of the pandemic and moved the world almost fully online is automation. In the retail industry for example there were introduced such facilities as in-store robots whose task is to handle the transactional part of work (conducting the inventory, fulfilling the online orders, etc). Thanks to digital solutions like apps designed to open doors remotely, mobile wallets, remote food ordering, and other products enabling contactless services in response to social distancing, customers are able to function safely in the new digital world. The main goal of automation services was to improve the customer experience, convenience, and security of them. Due to the changes that COVID-19 has brought, many companies had to introduce such solutions as RPA – Robotic Process Automation. Digital bots execute the tasks not just for manufacturing assembly lines but also for more complex jobs. They can be programmed in such a way that the work is performed quickly and precisely. At the same time, human workers are able to do more engaging, high-value work.
The growing consciousness of cybersecurity importance
Before the COVID-19 started spreading, the matter of cybersecurity was often neglected. Nowadays the importance of that issue is significantly growing. Nowadays, cybersecurity has become a crucial part of digital transformation. Many companies have changed their focus to better protect their employees from hackers and cybercriminals, especially taking into account that remote mode of working brings more opportunities for virtual attacks. That was possible for example thanks to the capabilities such as VPN (Virtual Private Networks) which makes it possible to educate employees and protect them from scams. A meaningful segment of maintaining safety in the virtual space has emerged the Identity and Access Management. Identity has become a new paradigm of security within organizations. They have done it by providing access to their resources by the right people doing the right things.
Innovative HealthTech Solutions
During the pandemic, the group of people that was the most vulnerable to infection were the employees working at hospitals and medical institutions. In order to remedy that potential threat, there have emerged many solutions from the field of telemedicine, remote diagnostics, healthtech, and medtech. The digital products that were created at that time were (and still are) helping patients gather reliable medical information, advice, and diagnoses without direct contact between patients and medical specialists. One of the products supporting that idea is the app of our client, Labplus. It lets users buy and schedule medical tests, without waiting in lines and visit the medical laboratory only once – for sampling. We, as Applover, were honored to contribute to their idea with the expertise of our specialists. If you are curious about the process of creating this application, how our cooperation went, and what was the final result, read more here.
Digital adoption – how do tech companies can help your business gain a competitive advantage?
- Agility – quicker decision-making process thanks to the usage of data-driven insights
- Efficiency – automation of internal processes, streamlined and systematized operations resulting in better work-flow, higher efficiency, less waste, and a greater focus on the core business
- Productivity – a better adaption of employees to working from home in advance contributes to maximizing their focus on productivity, teamwork, and maintaining the company’s culture
- Security – ease of management and prevention from the cyber threats
- Improvement of customer experience and satisfaction – a prompt answer to rapidly changing customer needs and demands, easier promotion of product and services
Do you want to find out more about digitalization?Talk to us!
Be agile and go digital! Digitalization as a rescue not only in times of COVID crisis
Let’s be honest, the fact that the pandemic caused by coronavirus has broken out in the times when digital infrastructure is already quite advanced and easily accessible has undeniably rescued many peoples’ lives. In addition, it has also helped many companies to survive this difficult period, and some of them even accelerated their development. Digital transformation is a long and actually never-ending business process but it definitely helps businesses across the world to deal with losses and destructions caused by the global pandemic. By adopting digital into your entrepreneurship you can provide business continuity, survive the crisis, face new problems easier, meet new customers’ needs, and contribute to economic recovery.
However, digital skills are helpful not only in times of corona crisis but also when it comes to dealing with emergency situations in general. In view of the recent situation in Ukraine, many software providers have proven that digital technologies are able to provide real help in a very short time. A lot of digital products and services were created already to provide both practical and emotional support for people from Ukraine in the blink of an eye. One of them, designed and delivered by specialists from Applover, was made in just 3 days and 3 nights. You can see the fully functional website, gdziezbiorka.pl (meaning “where’s a collection?”). Its idea is to help people to find the collection points nearby and see what is needed the most at every one of them. It was an honor for us to contribute to the action for a good cause!