People in train wearing masks

The pandemic is accelerating the future of work. Companies are in survival mode. Staying competitive in this new financial landscape calls for new strategies and practices. Thankfully digitisation extended a lifeline to many businesses to navigate these uncertain times. The pandemic has pushed organisations over the technological edge and is transforming them forever. Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation heightens the importance of tech advancements. And perhaps, causes us to embrace these challenges as opportunities for sustainable business growth. 

What Is Digital Transformation?

Digital transformation or digitisation is the adoption or integration of digital technology into all areas of a business. Transforming companies by replacing non-digital or manual processes with digital ones. Digital transformation changes how you operate and deliver value to customers on a fundamental level. In many ways, it’s a cultural shift compelling organisations to challenge the status quo, experiment with new tools, and get comfortable with change. 

Why Does Digital Transformation Matter?

A McKinsey & Company Global Survey reveals that companies have sped up their digitisation by three to four years. During the pandemic, consumers moved dramatically to online channels. As a result, companies and industries responded. Brands had to make a rapid shift towards interacting with their customers through digital channels. 

McKinsey survey respondents said they reacted to COVID-19-related changes quicker than they thought possible, which means that many realised the significance of digitisation even outside of the pandemic. 

COVID-Accelerated Digital Transformation

We live in an age where technology-driven approaches will always have the upper hand. There is a real need for digital strategies to adapt to corporate systems with digital foundations. In leading businesses, digital and corporate are two peas in a pod. And COVID-19 has made this more important than ever. Experimenting with and investing in digital technologies has been instrumental in helping companies navigate these unprecedented times. 

72% of the McKinsey survey respondents were first in their industries to experiment with new technologies during the crisis, while 67% invested more than industry peers in digital-related capital expenditures. 

Clearly, the pandemic is a tipping point of historical significance. And more changes will be required as the economic and human situation evolves. KPMG’s global survey: Going digital, faster – Impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation reveals that businesses are investing heavily in tech to address immediate concerns. 63% of respondents state that they’ve increased their tech budget as a result of COVID-19. The survey also says that organisations need to address five key challenges to stay ahead in the digital, post-COVID-19 age: 

  • Digital acceleration
  • Customer behaviour 
  • Supply chain and operations
  • Ways of working
  • Resilience

Digital Transformation For The Win

Even before the COVID pandemic, most organisations recognised the importance of digital transformation. It was imperative to survive in a tech-driven society. Either way, companies and executives will surely face more learning curves that emerge from the pandemic. A big one is the need to plan out the implementation of digital transformation strategically. 

For several reasons, marketing should lead your digital transformation. The truth is technology will continue to be an essential aspect of modern business. And marketers are no strangers to digital disruption. Advances in digital technology have transformed the world of marketing, perhaps more than any other industry. Within the span of a single generation, the industry has done a complete 180. From direct mail, print ads, and radio and TV advertising to online content, email marketing, PPC and SEO, and a whole host of other brand-new technologies. A few decades ago, this didn’t exist. 

Successful marketing teams learned to take an integrated approach and implement customer-centric efforts. Likewise, corporate leaders in the digital age must embrace digital transformation if they’re going to stay competitive and make the most of their available opportunities. Technology is a key part of digital transformation but not the only part. Real change requires a culture shift, and it must come from the top. After all, your marketing team or agency is positioned to understand the customer journey, and we know that digital transformation is crucial to maximising the customer experience for businesses today. So while the pandemic war rages on, perhaps the impact of COVID-19 on digital transformation is a small silver lining. 

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