By: Carly Kroll | Director of Education | New Resources Consulting
2020 has brought with it a host of challenges worldwide. The spread of Covid-19 created an unprecedented change in industry with countries closing borders, communities shutting down, and social distancing becoming the norm. With this sudden immense change, businesses quickly found themselves facing a reality to see if they were ready for a remote virtual work environment.
Over the past two decades since Y2K, companies large and small around the world have been introducing new technologies to their workplaces. However, despite different places getting wi-fi, and software systems, many had a rude awakening of how far behind they still were from where they needed to be. This event of the shutdown shone a light on companies that were more forward thinking than others. It also created a race to see who could catch up, evolve and adapt to stay relevant, and keep their business afloat. Already, 70% of companies had some digital transformation in place, but most of these companies were not digitized enough to overcome the hurdles of Covid-19 (Morgan, 2020). As a result, Covid-19 has now become a “before and after moment in digital transformation,” (Filev, 2020).
According to Forbes contributing writer Andrew Fliev, “the digital transformation has already saved millions of jobs, helped slow the spread of the virus, and allowed businesses to maintain a level of normalcy amidst a chaotic situation,” (Filev, 2020). Digital video sharing and conferencing tools like Teams and Zoom helped companies keep internal and external communication going despite remote working arrangements (Kelly, 2020). Online payment portals and apps for delivery services kept food services able to reach their customers without having physical guests on-site (Morgan, 2020). And innovative tools like autonomous robotics, smart glasses and Artificial Intelligence (AI) software kept industry running their factories and warehouses through the ability to oversee work remotely as well as prevent plant shutdowns (Fannin, 2020).
Corporations, Universities and Governments that were behind in digitization felt the heat overnight as suddenly websites began crashing, workers were unable to carry out their jobs, and people were left scrambling to troubleshoot (Romm, 200). These groups that are behind not only created consequences for their employees, but also those who rely on their services as well. For example, many US state unemployment offices were using outdated technology that was not mobile friendly and was not built to withstand large amounts of digital traffic creating difficulties for those seeking unemployment, resulting in thousands not receiving their unemployment payments (Romm, 2020).
Companies may feel overwhelmed by the need to innovate and digitize, but “they also realize that if they don’t do anything, they run the risk of being disrupted and replaced,” (Morgan, 2020). Countries around the world aim to protect their economies by investing in new technologies across the board to help prevent standstills, and shutdowns (Fannin, 2020). It seems that Covid-19 became the reason many companies finally prioritized digitization. It is unfortunate that it took a catastrophe of this scale and loss of life to initiate such changes, but the world and industry will be forever changed.
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Digital Transformation Quiz Susanne Wolk (TWITTER)
Fannin, Rebecca. (2020). The rush to deploy robots in China amid the Coronavirus outbreak. CNBC. Retrieved from https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/02/the-rush-to-deploy-robots-in-china-amid-the-coronavirus-outbreak.html
Filev, Andrew. (2020). COVID-19 Is A Before-And-After Moment In The Digital Transformation. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/andrewfilev/2020/03/30/covid-19-is-a-before-and-after-moment-in-the-digital-transformation/#28296d00d422
Kelly, Heather. (2020). The most maddening part about working from home: video conferences. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/03/16/remote-work-video-conference-coronavirus/
Morgan, Blake. (2020). Is COVID-19 Forcing Your Digital Transformation? 12 Steps To Move Faster. Forbes. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2020/04/05/is-covid-19-forcing-your-digital-transformation-12-steps-to-move-faster/#a326c7c617bc
Romm, Tony. (2020). Underfunded, understaffed and under siege: unemployment offices nationwide are struggling to do their jobs. Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/04/06/unemployment-benefits-coronavirus/