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Digital Transformation is Accelerating, Here’s What Companies Can Expect

In 2019, digital transformation was a trend that was being adopted along the usual bellcurve pace. Those who raced ahead as all-digital and those who stalwartly used printed paper forms defined the edges with everyone else in between. In the last year, however, millions of professionals and families were sent home to isolate as best we could. Digital transformation, already popular, suddenly became necessary. Businesses without a website or app were cut off from their clients as entire populations sought online face-to-face services and delivery-only shopping.

The 2020 worldwide digital transformation spending forecast pre- and post- COVID increased by %3 to %9 across all sectors (Distribution, Financial, Infrastructure, Manufacturing, Public)

– IDC

 

Cutting Off Customers & the Bell Curve

That trailing end of the curve stuck on office meetings and paperwork was suddenly cut off. It was sink or swim, and many sank in that first crashing wave of COVID lockdowns. Those brands that survived were the brands who could reach their clients and workforce through digital means. This rapidly pushed the overall bellcurve of digital transformation forward. For brief to extended periods of time, each region faces lockdown and became isolated from customers who could not connect digitally.

 

The Workplace Digital Transformation Impact

The need to send workforces home for remote work had an even deeper impact than customer lockdown. Before COVID, the vast majority of companies believed that presence in the building was necessary for productivity. While websites and apps were widely available to customers, the workforce was caught wholly unprepared for sending every non-essential employee home to work remotely.

In December 2019, Zoom had about 10 million daily peak users. In March of 2020, Zoom’s daily users were at 200 million plus.
Business of Apps, Zoom Reports 20192020

Millions of companies were forced to quickly assemble a remote work infrastructure. This started with the readily available tools (ex: Zoom) and then expanded into real remote-work software stacks. In the way of industry, the adaptation was taken seriously to meet both customer demand and regulatory requirements.

COVID Remote-Work Progress Is Here to Stay

Now that remote work infrastructure is here to stay. Companies who invested in remote work are unlikely to dismantle the stack, once built. With the pandemic situation yet to be settled and new achievements being reached with remote teams, this sudden forced-progress is likely to continue forward. Companies have no reason to stop good progress once it has begun.

Most Workers Want to Keep Remote Work

The initial COVID scare and lockdowns sent more than 50% of the workforce home to work remotely, whether or not they were prepared or preferred the change. Between April and September of 2020, that number dropped to a modest 33%, indicating industry recovery as workplaces and professionals perfect their anti-infection plans and get back to the workplace.

In April 2020, 50+% of the workforce was working remotely in response to COVID. In September 2020,

Gallup

That said, the other two-thirds of the workforce are now increasingly interested to continue working from home. At the beginning of 2020, 18% of the workforce were working from home part of the time, and that statistic has jumped to 25%. Now, one-fourth of the surveyed professionals are adapted to remote work and are currently working remotely for some of their clocked hours.

This means a continued interest and investment in digital transformation, both for employers and professionals connecting to work online.

 

What to Expect in Customer-Facing Digital Transformation

E-Commerce Website Development

The race to the cutting-edge existed before COVID. With the removal of many companies unable to go digital, the remaining industry are those who were already reaching customers digitally or who adapted quickly. Companies who had websites quickly upgraded to offer online orders, and those without websites quickly commissioned one. Many brands also outsourced to larger platforms like Amazon for drop-shipped selling.

Digital sales grew by 18% between Q1 2019 and Q1 2020

– Deloitte

This created a massive surge in digital presence for businesses and an acute awareness of why this is important. Local shops who never had a need for websites were suddenly thinking about needing their own e-commerce site just to reach local customers. Even public services who had websites but were behind the times were forced to push their customer-facing digital transformation forward.

Social Media Marketing

Social Media traffic grew from 6% to 8% of all online traffic in 2020

– Deloitte

This push has naturally included a massive amount of traffic on social media. Between isolated people contacting each other and online engagement with online brands, social media became the new foot traffic to Google’s express train to desired content. Users browse through social media instead of searching directly. They look at what their friends have shared and peruse pleasant ads for aesthetic value. In other words, modern window shopping. A social media presence is now a must-have for brands looking to attract a casual crowd, audience, or supportive online community.

Mobile App Development

Global hours spend on mobile apps peaked in March 2020, but have consistently risen from 60 billion from the 50 billion in June 2019.

– Marketing ChartsAppAnnie

Mobile app downloads peaked during COVID isolations as those quarantined sought both tools and entertainment through their phones.  Brands with apps were more likely to be flooded with customers, for better or worse. Robust apps survived and became popular while buggy or ad-riddled apps were reviewed aggressively. Brands that developed new apps were eagerly tried out by their existing customers, and in many cases customers demanded apps for the services they had once accessed in person. Those who met the demand reaped the benefit of the downloads and app hours peaks during COVID and can expect continued use from now-adapted audiences and from winning high ratings for their apps.

 

Is your brand preparing to tackle another wave of digital transformation? We can help. Contact us today for more insights on digital transformation or to consult on the ideal transformation path for your business. We look forward to working with you.