The Covid19 has seen unprecedented times with many countries, worldwide, being forced into National Lockdowns. For South Africa, this was no different and the national lockdown, starting on the 26th of March, had many organisations scrambling to find a way for business to continue while its workforce had to stay at home.
Since then life is slowly returning to normal and it is becoming increasingly clear to everyone that at some point in the future, we will need to turn our attention from survival to adaptation. Every industry will need to restructure in order to play a part of the Global transformation to digital.
Business leaders will need to consider the following factors during this transition.
1. Heightened agility
There has been a strong shift towards work agility, with many business leaders reporting significantly shorter meeting times and faster decision-making, taking place.
Agile organisations are expected to have a greater chance of surviving this pandemic. They will use early insights, flexible strategising, realign policies and procedures, and train their workforce to new adaptations. This will bring efficiency and optimization, allowing them to proactively seize emerging opportunities.
2. Deeper collaboration
Business leaders have experienced a much deeper and more effective team collaboration emerging, despite the fact that many teams, who often sat together, have now been separated by remote working.
It has been essential for teams to improve collaboration in order to keep up with the accelerated change in customer demands and product development, brought on by the national Lockdown.
3. Improved innovation
As we know, necessity is the mother of invention. The rapid and fundamental changes in the way the world operates has driven organisations to innovate at an increasing rate, as many improve on business strategies and seek new business ventures to help drive sustainability.
Companies that adapt their business models quickly, or have been able to innovate in the development of products and services, are enhancing their chances of survival exponentially.
4. The ability for Remote Working
Over the years we have seen an increase in remote working, however, due to the national lockdown, this has been rapidly elevated and become the new norm for many organisations.
With the increase of internet access, the improvement of online management platforms and the evidence of office cost savings, this new way of remote working is expected to continue even after the lockdown ends.
Yet, remote work may also come with its own set of challenges such as company security, privacy, policy implementations and a work-life balance.
While every industry will need to work on new ways to transform, the following industries are well-positioned to leverage opportunities, faster than the others.
From the effects of social distancing and the national lockdown, Covid-19 has transformed online shopping from a nice-to-have to a must-have.
We will see an exciting transformation in e-commerce as new categories emerge making every product and service, available online. This growth will be higher in emerging economies as the use of smartphones and internet availability increase.
By the end of 2020, it is expected that over 85% of all customer interactions will be handled without a human agent. Not only are Chatbots estimated to be able to answer approximately four out of five routine questions; people also find it easier to simply type a short message into a chat box rather than to send an email or phone in.
The implementation of automated tools such as Chatbots can be a major time-saver for both organisations and their clients.
3. No-Touch Payment Options
One area that is continuing to see innovation is how we pay for goods and services, especially in the eCommerce space. This will continue to increase as businesses look for new ways to offer contactless-payment options that enable faster and safer money transfers.
The availability of digital payments, however, relies on internet access, and devices that convert cash into a digitalized format.
4. Robotics and Drones
COVID-19 has made the world realize how heavily we rely on human interactions to make things work. This, in turn, has created a strong push to roll out the use of robotics.
In recent weeks, we have seen Drones being used to walk dogs, deliver items and even disinfect areas.
While some predict that many manufacturing jobs will be replaced by robots in the future, there will be an increase in new jobs created in the process.
5. Cloud Computing
Post COVID-19 we expect to see exponential growth in cloud computing as it is affordable, easy to use and highly customised to meet requirements of scalability. Organisations will undoubtedly move a large scale of their enterprise to cloud as this will simplify the monitoring of resource consumption, and move beyond foundational infrastructure to cover every facet of an organisation, including sales and marketing.
6. Cyber Security
As industries move to adopt the new era of digital transformation, Cyber Security will become an absolute must. The development of safety, secure payment gateways, and security walls will drive the growth of this market.
Blockchain, application program interface (API), and other advancements to arrest the occurrence of cybercrimes will all be involved in the advancement of Cyber Security.
7. Online Education
There is no doubt that Education has been one of the most impacted industries of the COVID-19 pandemic, and yet it has and will continue to embrace the digital world in the fastest and largest scale.
Many educational institutions started offering courses online to ensure education was not disrupted by national Lockdowns. The impact of this can be seen from pre-school all the way through to higher education, as more institutes offer students the flexibility of learning, and teachers the flexibility of teaching.
The cost of education will also become cheaper and accessible to a larger section of society.
8. Online Entertainment
Although quarantine measures have significantly reduced human interactions; human creativity has brought the party online. We have seen a new era emerge of Cloud raves, online concert streaming and even museums offering virtual tours of their institutes. There has also been an increase in the online gaming industry as humans look for a way to interact with one another virtually.
The above industries have already proven to embrace agility, digital transformation, and a work-from-home culture, which pro-actively make our lives easier, and businesses more profitable. These are the industries expected to continuously hire for talent and become one of the largest sources of employment generation as the world moves forward into uncertain times.