Accelerate Digital Transformation beyond Covid-19

By Jing Ertl-Yang

Nowadays, almost every organization embraces digital transformation and drives innovation that reduces operational cost and boosts business growth. According to IDC, worldwide spending on digital transformation is predicted to reach $2.3 Trillion in 2023.

However, even understanding the importance of technology, some organizations were reluctant to change legacy on-premises systems, either postponing their digital plans or slowly upgrading their systems.

Covid-19 has ruthlessly disrupted the way we live and brought the world economy to a standstill. To contain the spread of the virus, governments have implemented lockdowns or adopted stricter measures, forcing shops to close and employees to work from home. Companies that have invested in digital transformation could be a winner to overcome the challenge of disruptions and ensure business continuity, while some companies are struggling to survive due to the lack of digital technology.

It is a wake-up call for IT leaders to rethink their current digital transformation initiatives and reinvent a product or service that brings digital customer experience.

Cloud & Cybersecurity

In light of the pandemic, organizations seek cloud technology to ensure business operations keep running, and employees work efficiently in a remote working environment. They are changing legacy, traditional systems to a cloud-based system to maintain business continuity. The shift to remote work also forced IT leaders to look for various collaboration tools to support tasks and make sure employees efficiently communicate with each other. Therefore, the large amount of cloud storage capacity is needed for video conferencing, chats, file sharing and other communication tools.

There is a substantial boost in cyberattacks as cybercriminals are actively exploiting the pandemic crisis, attacking organizations by using phishing emails disguised as health organizations and ransomware. Covid-19 pushed organizations to re-examine their security strategy and reinforce cybersecurity measures or search for advanced solutions and remote technology such as VPNs and firewalls to combat cyber threats.

Digital Experience

Covid-19 has altered the way consumers shop overnight - accelerating digital transformation and bringing the digital experience to the next level. According to the Salesforce Global Shopping index, digital commerce grew revenue 20% compared to Q1 2019 (12%). As consumers are turning to online shopping due to store closures and social distancing, online retailers are leveraging AI and machine learning to optimize and recommend products based on customer purchasing behaviours, providing a superior digital experience. AI and machine learning also enable agile companies to control supply chain systems to maintain inventory and to avoid the delivery delay.

Retailers that have online channels could offset the revenue loss from physical shops as customers may purchase on their online stores. Nonetheless, some physical stores without any online platforms just started on their digital journey to shift to e-commerce.

The pandemic spurred art organizations to move to the digital arena; museums around the world are offering virtual tours and online exhibitions. It was not the mainstream, but now we can dive into the aesthetic and historical paintings and art collections on the museum’s website such as Louvre’s virtual tour. Undoubtedly, technology has opened a new door for organizations to survive and prosper amid the crisis.


While consumers turn to e-commerce due to social distancing and quarantine, customer service workers are being overloaded by high demand in customer enquiries. Chatbots can relieve their pressure and avoid long waiting times. More companies across the industries such as retailers and restaurants are adopting AI-enabled chatbots designed to interact with humans and answer their queries.

Furthermore, chatbots also help governments and health centres to respond to Covid-19 related questions as they are struggling to handle massive calls caused by the uncertainty and anxiety of the pandemic. With the help of chatbots, companies can respond to customers quickly and streamline their journey, thereby building a stronger customer relationship and decreasing operational costs.

Robotics and Telehealth

Hospitals are being overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients and afraid of the collapse of their health systems, thus eagerly looking for new ways of communication between doctors and patients to reduce the risk of transmission. As medical staff may be easily infected due to prolonged close contact, deploying robots and telehealth help medical professionals to examine and diagnose patients without any contact.

At an Italian hospital, a robot equipped with a computer-screen face is being used to take care of infected patients and help doctors monitor their condition. Hence, using robots not only protects doctors but also alleviates their workloads. Moreover, some hospitals in China have used robots to clean the floor or deliver medicine to reduce the possibility of infection.

Telehealth has been discussed for many years, but it was not widespread because of the doubt in its reliability and lack of infrastructure. But the global pandemic crisis forced healthcare institutes to scramble to find an alternative to provide healthcare services and thus rethink the adoption of telehealth as an ideal solution. To limit face to face exposure, hospitals are using telehealth to provide care through virtual channels. Telehealth demand has massively increased due to the lockdown.

Covid-19 is a catalyst to accelerate digital transformation and demonstrate the value of technology. Before the crisis, some organizations are still unwilling to take their digital journey seriously. It is evident that the pandemic forced organizations to confront the urge to adapt to the digital world and realize the importance of digital transformation in a bid to sustain business growth or find a new business model. With the right technology, a business can continue to thrive and shine even during the unprecedented crisis.

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