The coronavirus pandemic has shut down many businesses, and dramatically changed the way all others operate. Over time, businesses will begin to the new normal, and start their recovery from the pandemic. And the key to doing that, says a new McKinsey report, “The COVID-19 recovery will be digital: A plan for the first 90 days,” is digital transformation.
The report piggybacks onto what Intel CEO Bob Swan said when the pandemic started to hit the U.S. in a big way: “Today, we are witnessing what will surely be remembered as a historic deployment of remote work and digital access to services across every domain.”
The McKinsey report notes that the pandemic has dramatically sped up digital transformation: “We have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks.”
That’s just a start, though. McKinsey outlines what else needs to be done by businesses digitally in the next 90 days to help businesses thrive. First, it says, companies must “Refocus digital efforts toward changing customer expectations.” This doesn’t just mean using new digital technologies. It explains, “Companies must also reimagine customer journeys to reduce friction, accelerate the shift to digital channels, and provide for new safety requirements. For example, an automobile manufacturer now handles functions traditionally performed by dealers, such as trade-ins, financing, servicing, and home delivery of cars.”
Businesses should also “Use new data and artificial intelligence to improve business operations,” it goes on to say. It explains, “In the same way that many companies had to rebuild risk and financial models that failed during the 2008 financial collapse, models will similarly need to be replaced because of the massive economic and structural shifts caused by the pandemic. For example, models that use time-series, oil-price, or unemployment data will need to be rebuilt entirely. The data must be reevaluated as well.”
Businesses should also “selectively modernize technology capabilities,” it says. That means moving to the cloud, updating their technology stack, recruiting new digital talent and accelerating “digital upskilling” of the entire organization.
Finally, businesses should “increase the organization drumbeat,” that is, become more agile and act more quickly than in the past.
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