How COVID-19 is Accelerating Digitalization

Before the global health crisis, 92% of companies thought their business models should move towards digitalization. Many companies thought they were well on their way to that transformation only to find glaring vulnerabilities as the virus became a pandemic. Supply chains faltered. Online orders skyrocketed. Delivery channels were overwhelmed.

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe, the telecommunications industry is now more vital than ever. Learn how we can help you thrive in this crisis.

Of the 92% of companies looking to transform, 79% are in the beginning phase of the process. Many companies will rush to transform without rethinking their initial strategies, which were created long before the current crisis. Businesses need to look at the changing digital landscape to understand how to best move forward. Whether the customer is a consumer or a business, organizations must transform in ways that meet a post-COVID-19 world.

Looking at three areas that underwent unprecedented changes during the pandemic can provide insights into how quickly the move to digitalization is happening.

Remote Workforce

A survey by Workhuman found that only one-third of employees in the United States worked from home before the worldwide lockdowns. Some companies such as Twitter or JP Morgan were able to accommodate a remote workforce, while other organizations struggled because of inadequate infrastructures and no clear work policies. For those businesses that were unprepared, they have had to fast-track their digital transformation.

It’s not only the workforce that has moved online. A 1,500-person survey found that 42% of respondents purchased groceries online at least once a week during the last two months. Of those that had not, 41% said they would buy groceries online in the next six months. Based on current consumer behavior, analysts believe that consumers will continue to buy groceries online now that they have experienced its convenience.

Telehealth

Telehealth technology is not new, but it has been underutilized. Not until the current health crisis have healthcare providers embraced virtual medicine.  According to a recent article, Chinese physicians, like many of their counterparts, are using telehealth technology for the first time. Some healthcare professionals who resisted technology are now using telemedicine to reach more patients while keeping well patients at a safe social distance.  Patients seem more open to telehealth services. Mental health visits have moved online, and many patients with chronic illnesses have conducted their checkups through telemedicine.

Acceptance by healthcare personnel was not the only obstacle to acceptance.  Many countries lacked policies that would facilitate the widespread use of the technology. The United States waived a significant number of its rules limiting the use of video services so that Medicare would cover virtual office calls.  These temporary waivers will need to become permanent if the technology is to be used beyond the immediate crisis. The U.S. is not the only country making adjustments; Canada and the European Union are also contemplating policy changes.

Education

Education, especially in institutions of higher learning, is being forced to move to virtual learning if it wants to survive. Social distancing and minimal gathering sizes do not fit nicely within the current educational model. Online or virtual education for K-12 organizations has been more prevalent, with some countries offering an online-only education. Few colleges or universities have embraced the online-only model, although some schools such as the Harvard Business School have experience with virtual learning.

Corporations are turning to virtual training for their employees. Again, the health crisis accelerated the adoption of the technology as businesses scrambled to find ways to deliver skills training within health guidelines. As employees become more comfortable with virtual learning and remote work environments, employers may need to restructure their workforce policies.

Infrastructure

The increased use of the internet places pressure on service providers.  Consumers will expect smooth experiences with no lag time that 5G can provide.  They will be less accepting of downtime, especially during a telehealth call or class instruction. To ensure your infrastructure can meet the demands of the post-pandemic world, contact us.

As COVID-19 continues to spread around the globe, the telecommunications industry is now more vital than ever. Learn how we can help you thrive in this crisis.

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