The consumer needs and preferences have hugely changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the most important trait that businesses need today to remain operational and growing is digital savviness. The impact of social distancing recommendations to prevent the spread of virus has been pronounced and the world turned to digital tools to continue living a somewhat normal life. Companies have accelerated their digital transformation initiatives and are now rethinking their business models and operational strategies not just to survive but also to stay ahead of the competition. While we are still uncertain when the pandemic will be over, the digitalization is increasingly taking the centre stage in the global business dynamics. Now the focus is not just on embracing the enabling technologies but using them in new and improved ways to build digital capabilities and ensure operational efficiency amid the most unprecedented changes.
Take a look at how COVID-19 is accelerating digital transformation:
Businesses are automating as much of their tasks as possible in the wake of social distancing recommendations. This is more relevant for the manufacturing sectors where automation is enabling the companies to continue factory operations even without a lot of human involvement. Automation is also helping in boosting productivity and reducing cost, without compromising on the quality. Robotic Process Automation is in high demand as it significantly improves customer experience. By automating regular, repetitive tasks, businesses are also minimizing the chances of human errors, while enhancing operational efficiency. The workforce is less involved in such tasks and more engaged in strategy formulation and other value adding jobs which, in turn, is helpful in aligning the business with the changed market scenario. This pandemic has made the advantages of digital transformation more prominent than ever.
- Data Analytics
Gathering the right information and analyzing them is crucial to make the right decisions in these uncertain times. Evaluating customer expectations and anticipating their future needs are extremely important these days. Analyzing the data thoroughly and making insight driven decisions help businesses produce and deliver relevant products, provide personalized services, mitigate risks and optimize business procedures. By using the right tools and infrastructure, businesses can be more responsive to the changing situation. Operational efficiency can be increased in asset management, handling sensitive supply chains and more. Analytics also helps in predicting and identifying risks and taking appropriate measures before it negatively impacts the system.
- Cloud Computing
Cloud computing is tremendously beneficial for organizations in an era where the use of IoT devices and applications is on the rise. The influx of more and more data requires advanced technologies for its handling and processing. The inconveniences arising due to remote work can be effectively eliminated by cloud computing which allows the employees, working together apart, communicate, collaborate and monitor work right from their safe places. Even in emergency-like situations, the technology helps in managing the business operations effectively as it allows universal accessibility as well as easy data back up and storage.
- Artificial Intelligence
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is one of the most vital technologies for managing business operations amid the Coronavirus crisis. The features like speech and image recognition, predictive analysis, natural language processing, video analytics, and chatbots are helping the healthcare sector in diagnosing the disease, tracing its spread and monitoring vaccine development. Asset-heavy industries like oil and gas, medical equipment manufacturers and transportation can leverage AI for their critical operations. Data transmitted by IoT sensors can be analyzed conveniently using the predictive analytics feature of AI technology and even the slightest deviations can be identified. This helps in preventing failures, understanding errors and spotting root cause of the problems. When only a limited workforce is allowed on sites, AI can help in actively managing the operations even in times of crisis.
- Augmented and Virtual Realities
When the majority of employees are working from home, technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) can build resilience and improve collaboration. These technologies can effectively fulfill the training needs and can also help in repair and maintenance, product development, field audit, sales and marketing and other vital operations. It allows real-time information sharing and is relevant in manufacturing, energy and aerospace sectors. AR/VR is redefining business processes and their deployment is encouraging the engineering service providers to explore varied business models for now as well as for the post-COVID market.
The importance of digitalization in business is today more prominent than ever. Businesses are increasingly embracing technology to find more innovative ways of carrying out operations during the pandemic and beyond. The digital transformation driven by this crisis will not only help the companies to survive the difficult times but also to address the future challenges more effectively.