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At a time when digital transformation was on the agenda of companies, the coronavirus hit the world, leaving behind damaged economies and terribly impacted industries that had no other choice but to accelerate digitization.

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19, has challenged businesses to digitally transform their operations to survive this global crisis which is not ending anytime soon. Furthermore, this pandemic has pushed companies to innovate further and to find creative solutions and means to ensure business continuity. Businesses have had to embrace digital transformation to protect their employees first and foremost while serving their customers remotely.

According to KPMG, by 2022, fully 80 percent of revenue growth will depend on digital offerings and operations. This means organizations will be defined by the way they design and deliver technology services, respond to issues and anticipate expectations. That was before COVID-19. Today, this reality is expediting all digital processes which can predict a bigger impact long term in the post-COVID-19 period.

Even though this crisis seems to be all about losses, businesses can come out of it winners. Digital models adopted today to facilitate daily tasks will become the new norm. Remote working, telemedicine, e-learning, cloud-based operations, among others, have proven efficient in these difficult times, so why not benefit from it in the long term?

Some businesses were already well prepared. They had embraced digital transformation but never thought they would leverage it at times like this. Others were on the verge of a digital plan, so they had to act fast to keep up.

Digital communication, education and public services

Communication was the first thing that had to change. One-to-one meetings are now done through video calls. The concept of digital conferences emerged and many went in the direction of webinars and podcasts. New mobile applications and programs surfaced to facilitate our new professional lifestyle and routine, while existing platforms upgraded services and enhanced consumers’ experience.

Education was also one of the things that had to change. E-learning tools are now used all over the world to teach students remotely. Some countries were more ready than others. E-learning had already been applied in some parts of the world; whereas, in other areas, students, teachers and parents had to adapt to new teaching and learning techniques.  

Governments had to move to online services to apply social distancing measures. COVID-19 shed light on countries’ digital readiness and emphasized the importance of digitally-enabled public services. In many countries, this is not an ordinary situation; people are not used to requesting paperwork or official documents or paying bills online. The coronavirus forced such countries to digitalize services and allow citizens to remotely execute their obligations and receive all enquiries as requested.

5G accelerates response to COVID-19

5G has played an important role in the fight against the coronavirus in countries that have deployed this technology, namely China. The latter mainly used its 5G capabilities in the health sector. Remote consultation systems were put in place in many hospitals across the country which allowed for remote video connections and remote consultations with patients, thus further improving the efficiency and effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment.

Despite all the conspiracy theories stating that 5G might the reason for the COVID-19 pandemic – which was refuted by many industry experts - 5G has proven efficient in this fight.

Cloud adoption

Cloud adoption is considered a pillar in successful digital transformation. During this pandemic, the cloud has made access to everything online a lot easier and has enabled streaming platforms. The back-end infrastructure of cloud providers allow such platforms to run smoothly.

After the crisis, the expectation is that businesses that adopted cloud will emerge stronger, and for those who didn’t, migration to the cloud will happen at an accelerated pace.

Digital finance and e-commerce

Due to the coronavirus and to avoid cash money transactions that easily spread the virus, mobile banking has become the most important means to pay for goods and services. People are currently having recourse to digital financial services at a time when traditional banking has been put on hold. 

Moreover, e-commerce has thrived amid COVID-19. Shopping for all kind of goods is happening through online purchasing platforms. Shops and companies that did not provide this type of service rushed to create e-shopping platforms on their websites and social media accounts.

What the novel coronavirus has taught the world is that we should always be prepared for the worst. If technology had been less advanced, the fight against this pandemic would have been a lot more brutal. Businesses and governments know that after this ends, lifestyles will be much different than before the pandemic.

Digital transformation was long considered an important factor for success, but it is now a priority and will be in the post-COVID-19 period. Even though the repercussions seem unbearable and it’s been quite hard to adapt to this new way of working, studying and living; the results in the long term are promising. Businesses that continue with the newly-imposed digital habits will certainly achieve progress and thrive. 

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