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Covid 19- A Booster for Digital Transformation!!

While Covid19 has created ruckus within the human society across religions/races/geographies/countries/continents, this can change the business models, working cultures and journeys of digital transformation within an enterprise for the future.

Humans are resistive to change, and many organizations have faced challenges to transform in a digital way- resistance from senior management, middle management or operational staff or altogether included. The consumers were also not fully digital savvy and did not try out digital options even if provided considering their comfort in doing transactions through conventional mode, though millennials were an exception. Since digitization is a necessity forced upon to the staff by the organization/environment because of the factors – competition, peer pressure, investor influences, business degrowth, dip in revenues, many firms have started adopting digital changes. The changes were minimal -could be a surface level UI change or enabling businesses through multiple modes digitally - online/mobile or other customer facing channels or back end platform changes but not fulfilling an end to end automated customer journey.  However, many of these changes have not enabled the enterprise for their business to grow and the end consumer /ultimate beneficiaries have rejected the changes and opted for organizations which provided for a better digital outlook.

The sector of Financial sector and Banks have been early adopters of digital transformation with electronic money transfer real time, Automated Teller Machines, transactions through mobile/web browser, digital onboarding of customer, document storage digitally, API/BPM/RPA driven workflow for automation etc. Other industries followed suit with digital supply chain, digitization of insurance, airline and travel, consumer goods, vehicle and transportation, manufacturing, retail and the likes. Though digital is a journey with more and more innovations and discoveries happening across the globe dynamically spanning across multiple industries, the concept of a fully digital industry /sector or digital country is far from reality or a concept never been inspiring to mankind.

With Covid 19, it is a forced change for human being/society to adopt to a digital and contactless mechanism for business transactions between individuals or companies or Government or trade / remittances cross border (B2B, B2C, B2G, G2G etc). The countries which are adopting to this methodology is more likely to succeed in the new digital paradigm post Covid 19. Except for physical goods which needs to be transported between parties, all the other underlying workflows will be digitized and avoiding human to human contacts. For the physical goods to be transported, robots, drones with sensors can be deployed for completing the delivery. For large machinery delivery, contactless mechanisms using big carriers can be deployed. Human intervention will be minimal and contactless except where skilled and analytical intelligence is required where a machine with AI/ML is unable to execute / may be little useful.  The trade between countries will commence and flourish only when the prerequisites of a new digital order is followed.

When civilization and countries evolved and modernized, comparison existed between Developed/developing, East/West, have/have nots, nuclear/non-nuclear but in the new World order, comparison is likely to be only between Digital/Contactless versus others.  Countries and communities will refuse to trade with other countries except where inevitable and fully essential if it falls into the conventional category . There could be likelihood of the human societies divided /gap between countries widening further on this parameter.

In a banking industry which has initiated the digital change, it is imperative that the next set of digital transformation will evolve post Covid 19. Cash, card, paper, cheques etc will be partially/completely replaced/face extinction in the aftermath of Covid 19.  The business models of selling and marketing will be virtual, and travels will be restricted except where essential or where digital contract documents are at a risk for execution. There could be few industries which is likely to be impacted due to this change unless it is completely digitized and contactless like airline /transport etc.

While the society is evolving, this new normal/order will ensure that minimum computer/mobile literacy is required for all the citizens which will get added to the existing 3 R’s (Reading, writing, arithmetic) which will be Computer/Mobile skills. This knowledge will be essential for basic trouble shooting and problem fixing which includes searching, installing applications, procurement of space/data from cloud and in case of exigencies of likely technical disruptions. Businesses will thrive and flourish with a new set of digital upliftment involving all stakeholders- consumers, businesses, IT Vendors, investors. In the future, when any businesses is likely to emerge/evolve, the minimum prerequisite based on the new digital order will have to be followed for backing from the investors. 

Housing/apartment/villas were constructed earlier based on specifications of bedroom/hall/kitchen which is likely to change to accommodate a working room for the citizens. While big office spaces are likely to diminish and more and more companies will adapt to a contactless digital atmosphere with all facilities provided at home to work for the employees, there could be more empty spaces, less vehicles on the road and drastic reduction in pollution which could solve some of the pre-existing environment issues faced by mankind.

To conclude, Covid 19 has brought the world to its knees shattering the businesses and economies worldwide. However, these challenges provide an opportunity for new businesses to flourish based on a new digital reality – completely digital and contactless. Digitalization has found a new meaning and it is going to reach more and more newer areas. The world is thinking about implementing ‘ways and means to minimize the disruption caused to the humanity. This is the perfect time to focus on digital transformation by realizing the necessities accelerating it. This of course will lead to a ‘lesser direct human interactive’ society but may be this is the way the ‘nature’ wanted to tame us – the human beings, who have been doing enough damage to the universe in all possible ways. Like in the past, human beings will find new ways to counter this, but the new World is not going to be the same anymore – the emotions and togetherness of contacts attached in the business relationships will disappear and pave the way for a completely mechanized and digital relationship.



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