Saturday, October 24, 2020 | ePaper

Digital Change Necessity Disclosed Further In Covid-19

  • Print
Liton Chandro Sarkar :
The Covid-19 shock has left everyone flat-footed and is forcing businesses to embrace digital alternatives much faster than before to face the emerging new norms triggered by corona virus itself. Uncertainty caused by the pandemic can turn complete attention of the leaders to a rapid recovery without imagining a path to rebuild the businesses to face future challenges. Covid -19, the current global pandemic which has created greater chaos, is forcing every individual and organisation to think out-of-the-box. When a situation of chaos is in the spotlight, two scenarios will be up for grabs: for those who can adapt as the opportunities will be countless, and for those that cannot, it could be a disaster. In such a context, businesses need to position their rationale to be on the front foot, prioritising 'digital agility' in this time of uncertainty.
The Covid -19 pandemic has revealed a great deal of vulnerabilities in our world and our way of life that we never imagined we had. But in this time, technology has revealed itself to be an invaluable tool to help us to continue to meet our basic needs even as we stay home and socially distanced. Whether it is e-education for our kids, tools to help us work from home, or services that allow us to get the products that we need to survive, our reliance on technology has deepened during the pandemic, and it has accelerated the technology takeover.
We have seen different companies react to this period differently. Travel, hospitality and ride sharing companies have suffered during the pandemic predominantly because the industries that they operate rely on direct services to people. Few businesses seen an increased patronage during the lockdown, and only experience a small drop when it ends. Ultimately, the momentum gained through the new customers won during the lockdown may allow them to continue to grow their customer base, even after the lockdown ends. These include video conferencing software like Zoom, online retailers like Walmart or Amazon, and paid online streaming services like Netflix. Companies like this may thrive as they are well positioned to provide good customer digital experiences and only increase market share from pre- Covid -19 situations.
A closer analysis reveals that it is simply an acceleration of a trend that we were already witnessing: the increased use of tech to meet customer needs. In truth it isn't a question of tech vs. non-tech, but a question of how technology can empower a company to provide a superior customer experience. In truth, Uber didn't kill the taxi business through technical wizardry, it simply increased access to cabs, provided customers with greater transparency over their fares, and a more convenient way to make bookings. Likewise, foodpanda didn't disrupt the restaurant business in Bangladesh, it simply used technology to increase the availability of different food and offer a greater array of pricing options. Although we may perceive the trend as a 'tech-takeover', it is really a 'customer-experience' takeover driven by technology. The shifts in cash, and the changes in customer behaviour caused by the Covid -19 crisis are simply accelerating this trend. At the end of the day, the customer is still key and as a business, being able to adapt to changing behaviour patterns of the customer will define the success of the company.
According to Fortune, the five largest companies in the world by market capital are all tech companies: Apple ($ 1.4 trillion), Microsoft ($ 1.39 trillion), Amazon ($ 1.2 trillion), Alphabet ($ 984 billion), and Facebook ($ 642 billion). These companies have continued to earn revenue during the pandemic while other companies have struggled to survive. Today, they have a combined cash reserve of $ 458 billion; so, a likely trend is the acquisition of struggling non-tech businesses by these tech companies who will then work on transforming them into businesses that harness tech to meet their customers' needs.
What this experience has taught us, or should teach us, is that businesses need to remain agile and adoptable to latest digital trends to navigate through this kind of crisis. Therefore, finding a balance between recovery and rebuilding according to an entity's own interest and environment are essential to cut through the clutter. Both the recovery and the rebuilding need simultaneous execution to better prepare the businesses to deal with disruptions and survive future competitions when the market become fully active. If businesses fail to adopt the technological swing, it's a question of survival and possible, wipe-out! No firm wants to follow the footsteps of Nokia and Kodak. Most of the firms chose digital transformation to rebuild the business. Covid -19 indeed is a dark cloud but even within that obscurity, there is a bright, silver lining which is the spur of effort and spirit for digital innovations. With numerous digital developments taking place, many firms have become more conscious of the need for a strong case of digital transformation. When businesses start to slowly recover from the aftermath of this pandemic, business priorities will gradually shift, making a digital transformation a case of 'when', not 'if'.
When developing business strategies and policies post Covid -19, the focus should be on improving data protection and digital inclusion policies as well as on solidifying the policy and technical capabilities of public institutions. Public-private partnerships will also be essential for implementing innovative technologies and to tailor digital solutions to countries' needs. At times of crisis, it is really important that private sector companies to bring about new innovations or integrate the already existing technology to make it more disruptive and convergent - not solely to capitalise on it, but to pay more attention on how it can benefit the society. Agility, or the ability to respond promptly via technology, not only helps the country to be aware of the current situation but, in the future, will also be able to prevent an oncoming issue in the foreseeable future. To re-emerge from the challenges and constraints imposed by Covid -19, the Government would need to look at accelerating the implementation of innovative digital technologies like AI, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) in the long term. We have in-house experts on these technologies where we would like to engage with the government to create long-term roadmaps as these technologies can tremendously support the future resilience of Bangladesh's economy.

(Liton Chandro Sarkar, Deputy Director, Bangladesh University of Professional. E-mail: liton.aioc@gmail.com)

More News For this Category

Italy returnees to pay hefty sum for Biman tickets

It is ironic that expatriate Bangladeshi workers to Italy have been fighting tooth and nail to get an air ticket and running from pillar to post to know whether

Transfer may offer protection from anger of local people

NINETEEN police officials including the Commissioner of Sylhet Metropolitan Police (SMP) have been transferred on Thursday in the aftermath of Rayhan murder in city's Bandar Bazar police outpost on

Child Poverty

Child Poverty

Sara Al-Mulla :Childhood is a magical time in our lives, full of precious experiences, memorable moments and adoration that our families curate for us. We only begin to appreciate

Rethinking

Rethinking

Dr. Md. Enamul Hoque :The proverb goes saying- "Better late than never".  Delayed exam is better than "No Exam at all". The examinations either annual or public are being

Protect our children from any kind of violence, be that domestic or others

FROM January 1 till June 30, at least 1,387 children in Bangladesh have been subjected to various forms of violence and abuse. A child rights body estimated that the number

Bangladesh should take immediate measures to cope with Kuwait's new foreign workers’ law

KUWAIT'S parliament has approved a law to reduce the number of foreign workers in the country by one year, as part of efforts to 'rebalance' its population. The new legislation,

Shopping Mall Safety & Environmental Concern

Shopping malls in Bangladesh are under a lot of pressure throughout the year, especially during Eid, Puja, Pohela Boishakh, New Year and other festivals. In the midst of so much

Child Protection Pandemic Left Them Most Vulnerable

Shantha Sinha :A right is an entitlement and it has three basic principles, without which rights cannot be enjoyed. The first principle is that of universality: A right has to

We fail to ensure quality air to breathe due to apathy to clean energy

THE country's air is becoming increasingly poisonous in the absence of effective measures to control the released pollutants.  State of Global Air 2020 report revealed that in 2019 air pollution

Readers’ Voice

Speedy Trial For Rapes According to the provision of Women and Children Repression Prevention Act, the trial for rape has to be executed within 180 days. Because of the culture