Is COVID-19 fast-tracking digital transformation in companies?

Posted by Letswalo Marobane on 24 April 2020, 11:25 SAST

2020 has become a year to forget. Coronavirus is a pandemic that has affected everyone globally. Our government has encouraged South Africas to stay at home and distance themselves from others to help reduce the spread of the virus.

This has forced everyone to rethink daily routines. Work, school, and life as we know it has been disrupted greatly by measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus. Although these are necessary measures., they are to the extreme detriment of our economy. 

In response to these restricting measures, many people and companies have turned to digital tools to keep some form of normality. We are “shamefully” pushed by a pandemic to digitally transform our places of work and education to support this new way of life. 

Even companies that were resistant to the concept of working from home have accepted the idea, so work can still continue while taking precautions. COVID-19 has shown us that we need to move with some speed towards more digital solutions but companies that do this without firm strategies in place, may have to keep exploring the solution. 

 Since the start of the lockdown, video communication in South Africa has increased by 21%. However, prior to lockdown, two-thirds of companies were yet to begin the digital journey. That shows how far behind we are. 

Here’s what I’ve noticed while conducting my research. Digital transformation doesn’t look the same for every company. It’s difficult to pinpoint a definition that speaks to everyone. And that may be the reason why companies have taken so much time to implement the idea. 

This pandemic has shown us the importance of digital transformation and that message is loud and clear. But companies have questions that need clarity. Firstly, as I said, what is not clear to many business leaders is the meaning of digital transformation.  What are the specific steps that need to be taken? This may include training of the team, selection of technologies, a team culture that drives remote working disciplines, and more.

I just included a few steps, but company leaders have many more questions about this new journey. It’s clear that digital transformation is not an option. 

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