Technological shifts and societal pressures always make way for expanding the industrial boundaries and existing models of business. Leaders take up the initiative to transform the rules of engagement for better delivery to the stakeholders.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, even those organizations that were earlier averse to digital transformation, are fast seizing the opportunity to shift towards digital mechanization of working at a pace unprecedented! So, we see relentless pressure to transition to digital, agile, and distributed models of operation.
The pandemic has thrown a challenge so grave that the corporate world is left with no choice except to rework its strategies toward a digital goal. Across the world, business leaders are busy formulating a digital transformation initiative to keep going their businesses as usual during the lockdown mandates and come prepared for the successive phases of recovery.
Although steering a digital push and keeping all stakeholders on the same page amid these unprecedentedly chaotic times, is another challenge in itself.
About the situation before the crisis, about three-fourths of the organizations were already in the phase of futuristic transformation by formulating some kind of digital strategy. But the coronavirus crisis has hit them so hard that they must fasten up the implementation of digital initiatives.
The situation is evolving so rapidly that it might seem impossible to harmonize the interests of the company, protect the employees, and deliver excellent customer service. As such, we are witnessing a compelled push to what were earlier slow-moving digitalization initiatives.
With coronavirus numbers showing no signs of receding, it would be too optimistic to believe that things would be back to normal in the times to come. However, with the right tools and a rationalized digitalization strategy, it is not as difficult as it may seem.
Let us brief on five ways in which COVID-19 is accelerating a digital transformation across processes, systems, and organizations.
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1. Sustainable Remote Working Culture
Doctors are not the only people who are reaping the rewards of flexibility offered by work from home schedule. We see that corporate workplaces have become more and more remote by utilizing collaborative technology that is giving way to virtual meeting places.
In today’s corporate environment, live video streaming, video graphic job interviews, internal meetings, employee training, and executive communication are used vehemently. Studies have revealed that a majority of tech founders would let their employees work from home using sustainable technological solutions even after the pandemic subsides.
Work-from-home culture has emerged as a significant technological paradigm shift from COVID-19 While most of the companies, especially those in the domain of service providing, were already providing their executives work-from-home facilities, it has been extended to almost all the workforce now.
No one would have thought that the global workforce in the service industry would convert their spare bedrooms and living rooms to workstations without compromising operational efficiency. It seems it was not the case.
The newfound potential of having sustainable remote workplaces has started to sink in at the high levels of a corporate setting. It affects everything ranging from residential to commercial real estate to cybersecurity training and planning and as far as product development and training.
Large and established corporate names have by now stated that they are not going to reopen their workplaces even after the virus wanes, and some countries are even thinking of granting legal right status to work from home. It has built an expectation that everything can be done remotely.
It seems like a doctor’s appointment, real estate appraisal, the audit of inventory, and more could be moved to the cloud seamlessly.
Accordingly, the industry needs to work out the development of extremely user-friendly platforms and protocols of cybersecurity that can out-pace the growing dependence on digital initiatives. More and more funds should be poured into cyberinfrastructure and bandwidth management.
2. Event Organization by Virtual Means
Coronavirus emerged out of nowhere and brought things to a complete full stop. Restrictions on gathering people have been put on all over the world to stop the spread of the virus. Global sporting events such as the Olympics have been postponed.
People are made to follow lockdown mandates at their homes and are only allowed to venture out for the most vital of the requirements. As such, event organizations by virtual means have come to rescue restless people in their homes.
Right from organizational town-hall meetings to religious services, awareness campaigns, talk shows, seminars, and trade shows, and as far as sporting events, all have gone virtual! Ruben Castano, the 6Connex virtual events platform CEO, has stated that virtual events on his platform have registered a growth of 1000% since the coronavirus.
They have to keep on working overtime and hiring people non-stop to manage the demand. There is an unusual interest from businesses, sports teams, and educational institutions. Live webinar hosting platforms such as On24, Accelevents, Adobe Connect, and The Virtual Show – have registered a very high growth and interest, compelling them to add additional features for full conferencing.
3. Revamped Merchandise Distribution Channels
Engulfed in a strict cycle of lockdown mandates, manufacturers have started following multi-channel merchandise distribution paradigms, enabling the en-masse sale of their products via online means and institutional buyers.
The coronavirus lockdown has made the eCommerce delivery model as one of the most crucial distribution channels. The complete transition from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to eCommerce was the result of the enormous growth witnessed during the lockdown.
The massive rise in online sales has underpinned a fundamental lesson for manufacturers: nothing can beat the agility, adaptability, and speed of eCommerce.
For scaling online businesses, manufacturers have overhauled their traditional distribution channels. Now they no more stock up their goods at thousands of warehouses in anticipation of sales, but they aggregate their merchandise in one or two locations.
As delivery requests come in, goods can be distributed from these centralized locations numerous times in a day. The coronavirus-induced strategic transition from traditional models of merchandise to eCommerce is also a direct consequence of an already-swelled number of smartphone users across the world.
The infrastructure was readymade on the side of consumers, and manufacturers just had to reorient their sales strategy towards digital initiatives.
4. AI-Powered Medical Diagnosis
Only the prompt diagnosis of coronavirus would enable healthcare authorities to implement remedial measures for containing its outbreak quickly. A significant barrier that was preventing quick diagnosis was the shortage of healthcare expertise and experience.
At one level, the dearth of healthcare professionals could be overcome through telemedicine and remote patient monitoring systems. Naturally, with such fast-moving viruses and vaccines not even a distant sight, even the best of the healthcare systems would come to their knees.
Moreover, the existing system lacks experience in making sense of diagnosis results due to the sheer shortage of trained medical staff. With the introduction of artificial intelligence, the rapidness of diagnosis has significantly enhanced.
For example, LinkingMed, a medical data and oncology platform, has built high-level technological mechanization powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning to detect pneumonia. Pneumonia, which we are aware of, is a deadly coronavirus side effect. The system can detect coronavirus based on the symptoms in time less than sixty seconds!
What is phenomenal about the system is that it is accurate in more than 90% of the cases, with the recall percentage standing incredibly high at 97%. The company worked out this by integrating an open-source AI model that assesses the CT scan for detecting and quantifying in terms of proportion, number, and volume.
5. AI-Powered Analytics
Despite the economic meltdown, business intelligence and predictive analytic tools have witnessed rapid growth. As per a survey done by Dresner Advisory Services, slightly less than 50% of the big corporate houses are putting their business analytics projects afloat.
It seems understandable as the coronavirus pandemic, one of its kind that has never happened before. Conventional econometrics have not been able to make sense of the economic impact of this crisis on the business scene worldwide.
It becomes more prominent in light of the fact that 250 big companies of Standards and Poor’s 500 have withdrawn their earnings guidance for this year, according to an S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis.
Traditional means of economic forecasting are simply not equipped to deal with the coronavirus crisis. For this, they require the ability to monitor discrete data on regulations and administration, health care, macro economy, and critical industrial metrics for making a reasonable prediction of the future.
Artificial intelligence-powered business analytics tools can effectively locate the connections between discrete metrics of the industrial domain. As such, AI-based predictive analytics tools tailored for specific organizational requirements seeing significant traction is an understandable phenomenon.
The coronavirus pandemic has left no option for the companies other than to review their long-term digital strategies. Working remotely or working from home is the new normal. For it, the companies have to chart more innovative ways of coming in terms of this new trend.
The organizational capability of navigating through a digital push while establishing coordination among all stakeholders during these highly challenging times is at a test now. With the right mindset and an eye on the future, digitalization can be achieved. Open communication with all the stakeholders, including the employees, is the key to steering through the chaos.
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