Digitalization Is The New Norm

This crisis has indeed been a pivot point for many businesses and like other major inflections in human history, we’re seeing a major shift in the way we work, live, play, and learn.


With more than half a billion active internet subscribers, India is one of the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers. As we try to assess what needs to be done to accelerate India’s growth, what comes to mind foremost is automating and digitizing systems. Innovative technology needs to be deployed to store and access data, which can be crucial for the fast running of civil systems and almost everything else in the country. In the past year, COVID-19 has disrupted the world on such a scale that businesses have been compelled to make bold decisions to survive. This crisis has indeed been a pivot point for many businesses and like other major inflections in human history, we’re seeing a major shift in the way we work, live, play, and learn.

The aviation industry has undoubtedly been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic and we’ve seen many airlines having to be creative to stay afloat. From flights to nowhere to meals on the tarmac, airlines have had to get creative. Likewise, the hospitality industry, to fill the tourist vacuum, has reached out to citizens with a staycation and workstation packages.

But beyond the hardest-hit industries, businesses across the board are looking at revamping business models and supporting their employees, customers, and partners remotely. Central to the business transformation is the technology and more pertinently, data-driven technology.

Even as the pandemic takes a severe toll on the Indian economy, it is accelerating digital transformation across business models, and touchpoints to stay relevant. Underlying this shift is the need for greater organizational responsiveness as well as closer ties with customers in the changing world order. However, the process of digital transformation is complex and tedious for businesses as well as consumers.

Unlocking the Power of Data

Given the high stakes, companies that are able to harness the potential of data, leverage technology, and pursue open collaboration will have a critical advantage. The ability to make sense of numerous data streams enables business leaders to understand corporate performance and opportunities at a very fine level of detail. Teams can pick up sentiment and feedback in real-time, and constantly tweak how services are being deployed and received. We’re seeing this happen in many companies. For instance, in the F&B space, the major fast-food players are able to respond quickly to changing tastes by bringing on stream new flavors due to feedback from consumers. Likewise, many online commerce players rely on real-time targeting to generate new leads and improve sales forecasts based on real-time consumer behavior.

Diversifying operations and revenue streams

The pandemic has forced businesses to rethink their operating models and adopt sandbox thinking on accelerated timelines. For instance, AirAsia had to reposition themselves from being just a pure-play airline to a digital venture which includes fintech, logistics, F&B, and a loyalty program under its belt.

Many businesses have also quickly expanded into new areas based on emerging demand by leveraging data and technology to solve new problems that have surfaced as a result of the pandemic.

Rediscovering the Benefits of Open Innovation

We are also seeing more brands embark on innovative partnerships to address business challenges and pursue new opportunities. As the pandemic kept Indians isolated and limited their access to essential services, technology played a key role in ensuring seamless continuity. Especially, the travel industry has carried the brunt of the pandemic, and innovation across all touchpoints using data and analytics will attract customers in the post-Covid era. With unprecedented challenges emerging across all aspects of business and society, organizations have become more willing to share resources and expertise to create value for not just themselves but the wider community.

Throughout history, crises have pushed the boundaries of problem-driven innovation and COVID-19 is no different in this regard. With technology as an enabler, human ingenuity is being tested like never before.

We’re seeing businesses that are able to skillfully and creatively wield data and technology, emerge as leaders in their fields. One day in the not too distant future, the pandemic will be behind us, however, I believe it will leave a lasting impact on societies and organizations as innovation through digitization becomes the norm. Also, the country must focus on developing a comprehensive digital ecosystem that effectively analyses data for better decision making, connects businesses and customers, and automates processes that will create significant opportunities for a swift economic recovery.

(This article includes the inputs from Andrew Sotiropoulos, VP, Asia Pacific and Japan, Pure Storage)


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