Our current environment is showing how vital is digital. Everyone is forced to jump in the wagon whether ready or not. As for everything in life, you can learn the easy way or the tough way. There are two scenarios.
The companies who started their digital transformation before the crisis: they were ready for remote work, virtual collaboration, and had means to maintain their business as best as possible using virtual channels. They still function and some are even accelerating innovation so that they get out of the crisis stronger and better positioned to face competition. They use this time to reassess, analyze, and be very strategic about the direction they are taking. They reinforce their infrastructure and build the technologies of the future.
The companies who were not engaged in digital: they are suffering more than ever because they do not have alternatives. Their whole business relied on physical interactions so, without physical touches, they do not have any business anymore. Some are trying to catch up and make up for the lost time. They implement fast what they should have implemented years ago. They keep afloat the business but still lost time. Others, not able or willing to rush, just see their business tank or even go bankrupt. In times of crisis, companies need to be able to pivot quickly and make decisions that can save their present and offer them a future. The nice thing with digital is that quick wins can be easily implemented.
The situation that businesses are facing is another proof of the need for a true omnichannel strategy. Businesses can no longer survive on one channel. They need to diversify.
Digital is getting a bigger footprint as organizations are forced to use it. With the crisis, a lot of companies are making their technology more accessible and cheaper so it will help adoption go faster in all industries.
Medical insurances were already enabling a 24/7 health line to ask questions to a doctor or a nurse. Services like Better Help and others allowing people to talk online with a therapist is also available. Family doctors are now also allowing consultations with their patients online. Health is becoming more accessible and is getting treated more as a commodity. By making more accessible, it helps other services get developed such as prevention and personal assessment like Total Brain.
Teamwork and remote work
Some organizations were afraid of remote work. They were concerned that team spirit could not be maintained, that collaboration was not possible, and that they were losing control over their employees. Most of all, the biggest fear was that, when their employees are at home, they do not know if they are actually working or not. With the situation, they had to overcome those fears and take down all hurdles to make it happen. These organizations are forced to test what it means to have remote teams and trust their employees.
There is a plethora of teamwork and collaborative tools for who wants to use them.
The best way for companies to feel better about what their teams are doing, while at home, is simply to change the way they measure their people. People need to be more accountable. The good thing with digital is that it is possible to measure so there is full transparency. For people who are in positions that are less trackable, they need to be measured on results. After all, if someone does what they need to do, do you really care how they are doing it or when they are doing it? This implies letting it go and trusting people for being adults and accountable and the best way is to measure outcomes and efficiency. Metrics such as time spent in the office might be metrics to forego.
These past years MOOCs and online learning have developed. Schools have been forced to adopt online learning these past weeks. Students watch videos, interact with teachers for some part, but do most of the work themselves. This reinforces the homeschooling trend that more and more parents are following, believing that schools are not providing as much added value as before and that a lot of basics and values are no longer carried by our school system.
However, by forcing all parents to homeschool, lots realize their limitations and get more appreciation for the work done by teachers every day. In addition, it becomes more obvious that physical interactions are necessary for the teaching process. Even if one can find almost everything online nowadays, the value of education is still keeping its value. Schools and colleges are offering more than just knowledge. Their value is coming from all the rest: network, social interactions, professional events, connections, travels, …Education is more than just Calculus AB or Economics, it has to do with everything else.
Lots of events are being done online and way more is possible than anyone thought it would be. We are running conferences, trivia, happy hours online. In the same lines as education, physical interactions are forging a different bound so there could be a happy medium between the two. In this space, VR will play a big role as it will help create a closer relationship with participants and would be able to overcome the lack of physical interactions.
It is obvious that the delivery trend is about to become predominant in the industry. Lots of restaurants, not able to provide the service, are currently dying. The uber eats and the GrubHub of the world have a nice future ahead of them. This predicts the rise of more and more dark kitchens and a huge transformation of this industry to come.
Retail is suffering and Ecommerce is becoming obvious for all brands. It is their only way of survival. Ecommerce saw a boom these past months as people do not stop consuming, they order online. When a brand/retailer is not online, consumers have no means to purchase. We still see too many brands not being present online. During tough times, it could be an opportunity to build relationships with their customers and strengthen their position. Selling is not only about a transaction, but it is also becoming more and more about relationships. Brands have many ways of being useful to their customers by creating valuable content.
More and more people will also buy their car online. With VR and advanced visualization features, it will be less necessary to visit dealerships. The relationship will develop more around at-home delivery, acceleration of documents processing, post-purchase services such as all maintenance activities, car wash, and accessories.
We visit the brank offices because we have to. Many times, we would be just fine opening an account online or discussing issues over the phone. Banks will become 100% virtual in the future. As transactions and payments are becoming virtual, the bank has fewer and fewer reasons for having a physical presence. Some banks are already 100% online and many more will follow now that they realize that physical expenses are unnecessary.
Robots can be a wonderful help where humans’ lives are at risk. Decontamination of places (like subways), home support for infected patients are two examples.
It is more than ever a time for digital transformation. Companies that did their digital transformation before the crisis will survive, those who are doing it, will arise stronger. Digital is more relevant than ever.