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COVID-19: A Call for Digital Transformation

The COVID-19 outbreak may be a tragedy which will have widespread and long-lasting implications for humanity and our global economy.

As the coronavirus continues to spread round the world, more and more enterprises will miss their financial targets due to supply chain disruptions and dampened customer demand.

It’s also unclear how long this pandemic will last, since there’s no vaccine to combat it yet, nor any approved therapeutics to slow the course of its toll on the physical body. What should be clear is that COVID-19 will drastically impact most businesses for months, probably years. Bottom line: This will not be a short-term event so businesses must prepare for the long haul.

With this mindset, it’s imperative for enterprises to create within the necessary operational resiliency to survive this new reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has showcased the worth of IT and digital transformation and organizations should use this point to accelerate the transition.

IDC conducted a survey in China last month and canvassed the opinions of 32 CXOs in 10 industries regarding the impact of the new coronavirus on corporate business, the worth of IT and digital transformation within the fight against the outbreak, and new digital transformation measures after the pandemic. Here’s what they found:

The top 3 negative impacts of COVID-19 on enterprises are:

  • Inability to visit customers
  • Significant decline in sales performance
  • Inability to resume production.

The top 3 positive impacts on enterprises are:

  • Improved corporate ability of long-distance collaborative work
  • Wide recognition of the value of digital transformation and information technology among all employees
  • Gaining ability of online marketing and business development.

“The value of digital channels, products and operations is immediately obvious to companies everywhere right now,” says Sandy Shen, senior director analyst, Gartner. “This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now, and over the long term.”

In countries such as Italy, where the restrictions have been stronger, they have seen a surge in e-learning, streaming and online shopping.

As companies evolve to become more digital, more and more interactions with customers will now occur on a screen rather than in person. These digital transformation efforts start with creating new accounts online. Digital identity verification is an unsung hero in an organization’s digital transformation strategy because companies must verify that a person’s digital identity matches their physical identity when conducting business online.

Within Jumio’s customer base, volumes have increased 20% to 100% (depending on the vertical) with significant upticks in banking, financial services and online gaming over the last few weeks — further proof that black swan events can be a boon to businesses that are prepared to seize the opportunity.

Sadly, many companies still require users to visit a store or branch office to create a new account or to perform routine transactions — increasingly, this is going to be a difficult mandate as many of us are now homebound and social distancing.

Organizations that have web enabled their businesses are in much better position to weather this pandemic, both in the short and long term. Digital transformation covers a lot of territory, but starting with identity verification makes practical sense as it enables modern companies to streamline the customer onboarding journey. This enables their users to create new accounts and transact from their smartphones and computers 24×7 without ever having to set foot within a branch office.

For the past few years, digital account opening has been at the top of the list of technologies organizations intend to add or replace, but COVID-19 is pushing digital transformation to the front of the line.



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