The best business strategy is the one that can turn a mess into a success story. What businesses have learned so far from the COVID-19 crisis is that digital transformation was key to overcome the challenges brought about by the pandemic. With a new normal in the horizon, ICT companies should leverage the current situation to come out of it stronger and more resilient.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated the shift to digital and the winners are the businesses who have embraced digital transformation and were well prepared for such a situation. But what matters the most is how companies will act in the aftermath of the coronavirus period.

Recovery is the most important part that businesses should consider today. According to McKinsey, the first thing that companies should do is rapidly recover revenues. According to a report by Analysys Mason, the impact of the pandemic is expected to result in the sharp decline of telecom operator revenues by 3.4%, a world away from its pre-COVID-19 estimated growth of 0.7% at the dawn of the new year.

Rupert Wood, research director and co-author of the report, said, “Telecoms should stay healthier than almost any industry in this crisis. Telecoms should show some of the strongest post-crisis investment, in part because cash flow is more resilient in the telecoms sector than it is most others, and because some governments will emphasize 5G and fiber in stimulus packages.”

In the post-COVID-19 era, the use of automation and technology will define of the future of businesses. Digital communication has allowed employees to perform their jobs remotely and a rise in analytics and technical support has emerged.

In addition McKinsey states that in order to thrive, “organizations must answer important questions about growth and scalability. Three factors will matter most: the ability to embed data and analytics in decision making; the creation of learning platforms that support both individual and institutional experimentation and learning at scale; and the cultivation of an organizational culture that fosters value creation with other partners.”

One of the most remarkable changes that took place due to the COVID-19 is customer behavior. Digital solutions must be implemented to adapt to the new demands and needs and guarantee a seamless experience.

Data is also a key element in the post-crisis strategy. Companies need to incorporate new data and create new models to enable real-time decision making. This will involve rapidly validating models, creating new data sets, and enhancing modeling techniques. Moreover, companies have to accelerate the development of digital solutions to keep up with the new customer behavior.

A digital culture should now be adopted for a successful recovery. A new mindset is required now more than ever which consists of transparency, trust and leadership at a time when everything is done remotely and is likely to continue in the same direction for the few upcoming months.

New digital business models will emerge that prioritize the creation of digital solutions. Companies will increasingly start to build resilience in their businesses by complementing product-focused models with scalable and stable digital alternatives that include data analytics and artificial intelligence.

Positive/negative impact

The coronavirus pandemic has had different impacts on companies depending on the type of their businesses. For some, COVID-19 has generated revenue and created growth opportunities. The companies that have benefited the most are mainly in the fields of healthcare, streaming platforms and OTTs.

On the other hand, given that the number of the companies who are actually benefiting from this crisis is quite limited, the majority of companies have registered losses and had to lower their objectives for the remainder of the year.

As part of the recovery phase, the businesses who have been yielding profits are faced with the challenge of continuity and sustainability. In the aftermath, they should figure out ways to maintain the same incomes in order not to experience a free fall. As for the businesses who were negatively affected, the challenge is to find innovative ways for an effective rebound.

Prepare for the future

COVID-19 has amplified the need to acquire new digital skills to be better prepared for the current and future workplace environment. Everyone was trying to cope with the new lifestyle dependent on remote activities and we all learned new skills, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. All the talk about the digital era and Industry 4.0 has been translated into an actual reality we’re currently living.

The winners today are the ones who have been preparing themselves for a fully digital future. But it’s never too late. This was the turning point that many companies needed to embrace digital transformation and believe in its potential. It is time to resort to data analytics and artificial intelligence to cater to customers’ needs and anticipate problems. Remote working and education are no longer an option and patients have found comfort in telemedicine.

The digital era is here and even though technological developments have been halted by the COVID-19, however operations are gradually resuming. Experts will draw lessons from the setbacks to address the gaps that the pandemic has highlighted at the level of all industries.

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