It is expected that the coronavirus pandemic will become the driver of the digital transformation development since it will show the importance of transferring a number of processes to the online mode in the current situation. This is confirmed by forecasts of authoritative sources. For example, according to a KPMG study, by 2022, 80% of revenue growth will depend on digital offers and operations. The current situation in the world only spurs this process, and despite the expected economic downturn, it clearly shows the need to go digital.
So what is a digital business transformation?
Digital business transformation, by definition, is the introduction of modern technology in the business processes of an enterprise. This approach implies not only the installation of modern equipment or software, but also fundamental changes in approaches to management, corporate culture, and external communications. As a result, the productivity of each employee and the level of customer satisfaction increase, and the company gains a reputation as a progressive and modern organization.
Digital transformation of business is relevant not only at the level of individual enterprises: entire industries choose this development path for themselves as the only opportunity to adapt the rapidly changing conditions of the surrounding world. Thanks to this, the digital business transformation of industry, retail, the public sector, and other areas is already changing the lives of every person and every company.
Every day the demand for digital technologies for business in the market is growing. Nevertheless, many companies find the digital business transformation process more or less problematic. For example, 71% of companies say they don’t understand how to behave with customers in the new digital environment, while 69% think that the digital business transformation is not entirely justified. However, the current situation in the world no longer speaks but yells about the need for digital business transformation.
What are examples of digital business transformation in times of crisis?
The need to virtualize people’s work because of COVID-19 stimulates the digital business transformation and deepens the differences between online and offline firms at an incredible speed. Within a few days, virtually any process that could be quickly digitized was virtualized - for example, video conferencing, which allows conducting meetings, and telemedicine, which provides remote diagnostics and treatment. At the time of writing the most significant examples of digital business transformation have been demonstrated by the countries of Asia in general and China in particular, since they had to face an epidemic earlier than the rest of the world. Simply don't be surprised that most of the examples below relate to China. We warned you. :)
- Given that more than 45% of blockchain startups in the world originate from China, it is not surprising that the country is leading the way of using blockchain to fight coronavirus. According to the Xinhua News Agency report, at least 20 blockchain applications were created to battle the virus. The city of Xi'an in Shaanxi Province uses the blockchain to store medical records and organize consultations and patient examinations. Also in early February, in Xi'an, an online consultation and screening system based on blockchain technology was launched. Local authorities say this approach allows you to manage medical records without compromising patient privacy. The Nansha District in Guangzhou also uses blockchain through its “Collaboration System for the Prevention and Control of Epidemics,” in which all data and records about coronavirus are located in one place, so multiple departments can access it simultaneously. Suizhou City in Hubei Province has a similar initiative.
- An interesting case of digital business transformation was presented by the subsidiary of technology giant Alibaba - Ant Financial. In collaboration with authorities, the company has developed the Alipay Health Code system, which assigns three-color QR codes to hundreds of millions of Alipay online wallet users. The green code allows free movement (including in the subway), yellow - recommends weekly home quarantine, red - two weeks of self-isolation. The owners of the yellow and red “tickets” are advised to urgently contact the doctors. In addition, Alipay launched an information platform in a mobile application to ensure transparency in the distribution of humanitarian aid. Together with government agencies, a blockchain-based platform monitors demand, supply and logistics of materials for the prevention of epidemics.
- Digital technologies are being actively introduced to reduce paperwork when, during an epidemic, you need to process a large number of medical documents double-quick. For example, Blue Cross Insurance speeds up its work with a medical claims application. This removes the need to deliver paper back to the clinic after examination and helps reduce the risk of infection.
- The development of financial technology has led to the emergence of new forms of targeted assistance. Fintech giants Tencent, Baidu, and Ant Financial offer financial support to businesses, hospitals in need of medicine, and scientists working on vaccines. Thus, special communication channels have been created to ensure the most efficient distribution of resources.
- As Milind Wagle, director of information technology for data center operator Equinix Inc. said: “ CIOs must ensure that they have deployed the appropriate digital infrastructure in order to support the mainstream digital communications growth trend, as well as being able to adapt to potential global events, which affect these communications.” For this purpose the company provided support to 10,000 employees through a “virtual technical panel. The panel is a technical support service with Zoom integration, which is available worldwide, 24-7. The company has also created performance monitoring dashboards that track everything from how many messages people send, how many meetings they organize, to the number of code checks that they record. Equinix also began to use Zoom for daily planning meetings and just to communicate between employees working remotely.
- In Hong Kong, the transition to online education began as quickly as possible, when in November last year its state universities replaced face-to-face studies and evaluations with digital alternatives due to the closure of campuses caused by anti-government protests. Thus, except for a few weeks in January, Hong Kong's campuses are already operating digitally for several months. “Hardware, software and systems are all there,” says Yung Yau-Yuen, an expert in information technology and education at the University of Hong Kong Education (EdUHK) and a visiting professor at Sichuan Normal University. “We still do not have enough bandwidth, but this is likely to be resolved with 5G.”
- The Hong Kong forum readtogether.hk, a consortium of more than 60 educational organizations, publishers, media, and entertainment professionals, has provided over 900 digital educational resources, including videos, book chapters, assessment tools, and free consultations. The consortium intends to continue to use and maintain the platform even after COVID-19 is localized. From examples such as these, it becomes apparent that educational innovation draws attention beyond the scope of a typical social or nonprofit social project funded by the state. In the last decade, we have already seen much greater interest and investment from the private sector in educational solutions and innovations. From Microsoft and Google in the US to Samsung in Korea, as well as Tencent, Ping An, and Alibaba in China, corporations recognize the strategic imperative of an educated population. Although most of the initiatives to date have been limited in scope and relatively isolated, the pandemic can pave the way for the creation of much larger cross-sectoral coalitions around a common educational goal.
The current situation in the world clearly shows the need for digital business transformation. If earlier the prospect of digital business transformation might have seemed dubious, now its benefits are more than obvious. The main thing is not to be discouraged and remember that night is the darkest before dawn and in the nearest future, everything will be fine. The crisis comes and goes, while a great custom solution remains and continues to be useful for a long time after. Why not start developing it right now. And how exactly to do digital business transformation read in our next article.