19-03-2020 | by: Floris Regouin
The Coronavirus grabs hold of itself and practically shuts down our current way of doing things. Times of crisis call for drastic measures. To break down barriers that have never been broken down by habit. Digitalization is now being implemented at a rapid pace. What CIO or Digital Transformer could have thought this would happen?
The whole society is shaking on its foundations, companies are under heavy pressure and people fear their health. Commercial air traffic is almost at a standstill with many planes on the ground (Flightradar24, Telegraaf), streets in cities are deserted, bit rates of Netflix are lowered (Nu.nl) and so on. But fortunately there is a bit of positivism as well: in the meantime the air in China hasn’t been as clean since ages (NPR), and the water in Venice hasn’t been as clear as it is now (@JarlvanderPloeg) and CO²-emissions have been reduced enormously (NASA/ESA). And thanks to digitization we don’t need to fully stop, we can stay in touch and look for new opportunities to continue selling our services and products. Or we can completely transform our business and offer completely new services, focused on the need that exists or adapted to the changes that are taking place. A good example of how this can be done is the newly launched add-on on Netflix, the so-called ‘Netflix Party’. Although it was developed by a number of clever minds, it is a nice addition to Netflix’s capabilities (Superguide) for people in home insulation.
Connecting in a virtual world
As mankind we are enormously creative and our true nature is now really coming to the surface. Now that social and personal interactions have been reduced to a minimum, getting together and going to work is barely possible or impossible, and meetings and appointments and events are being radically cancelled, we still have to move on. In recent years many thresholds have disappeared or faded and experiences have changed as a result of digitization. Fortunately, we now have the technology and software to look for alternatives and to stay connected and meet in a virtual world, from one to one, to many to many. So: at full throttle we are now stepping into new technology and digitizing our existing way of working.
New ways of working
After a complete “lock-down” was announced in Wuhan and later all over China, people started looking for opportunities to reorganise their private and working social life. Digitization was the solution, and where homeworking was scarce, the business community quickly adapted to start a new way of working. e-Commerce solutions and delivery services flourished, people were given more time to learn and sought refuge in ways to stay in touch.
In a recent article by TechCrunch, it was described how quickly new technology is adopted in times of need. As early as the time of SARS, a first appearance of the coronavirus in humans, China Internet expert Duncan Clark wrote in his biography of Alibaba founder Jack Ma: “Although it made thousands of people sick and killed nearly eight hundred people, the outbreak had a remarkable beneficial effect on China’s Internet industry, including Alibaba. Now, due to the Coronavirus outbreak, several business work environment apps and platforms such as DingTalk grew by 1.446%, Lark by 6.085%, and WeChat Work by 572%. In addition, many other digital initiatives and communities emerged. QuestMobile, a big data intelligence service provider in China, also saw a huge increase (+20%) in the number of hours of mobile usage and an increase (+15%) in daily active users on short video platforms alone.
Working from home suddenly possible
In Europe – also in the Netherlands – but also America (CNN) we now see exactly the same pattern. Companies are forced to go back to the drawing board in order to continue their operations. Where working from home always seemed impossible or would not fit in with the way of working, this has now become a bitter necessity. What is special is that it seems as if many people have never experienced this before or thought it was possible. Of course, it’s often not necessary; you did meet at the office or in the conference room, if your company is not active in an international environment. The past few days the timeline on LinkedIn was filled with screenshots of screens and faces of people behind a webcam, proud that they mastered the situation to be able to work remotely.
At the beginning of a new era
We are at the beginning of a new period, in which we also have to get used to new manners. That is difficult and does not happen by itself, but now we try and accept, at least much faster. And many are now going to undergo new experiences, which hopefully, but expected will definitely contribute to better connections between people, between companies and customers and between employees. Hopefully we can add to this the positive effects on our climate, and this crisis will bring us closer together as people, in many cases virtually. Let’s turn this need into a virtue and embrace digital acceleration. But even after the crisis, will we fly less and leave the car? And in particular, will we continue to embrace further digitization? Time will tell.
Guidance and continue to invest in Marketing
In the speed at which normal business operations are now changing, guidance can be extremely useful. Not only to get into gear now and get back up to speed tomorrow, but also to be supported in this change towards the future.
Passing the time now and sitting out is a bitter necessity for many companies. But the smarter ones keep looking ahead, and investments in marketing and advertising continue to make sense (Adformatie). They will convert these changes and the experience they have gained into scalable business operations and grow their businesses again. Good guidance is therefore absolutely advisable: the quickest way to return to a profitable business with a scalable and affordable new way of working.
Want to know more?
TheNewTomorrow helps organizations to realize and accelerate a better business by making better connections with your customers and your own employees, so-called ‘Connected Experiences’. As ‘business guides’ we help you to get your business back on track tomorrow and ready for the future.
1. Flightradar24 – https://www.flightradar24.com/blog/commercial-air-traffic-now-down-7-2-in-march/
2. Telegraaf – https://www.telegraaf.nl/nieuws/2067672764/ongekend-beeld-merendeel-vliegtuigen-schiphol-aan-de-grond>/a>
3. Nu.nl – https://www.nu.nl/tech/6038909/netflix-verlaagt-bitsnelheden-in-europa-kwaliteit-videos-mogelijk-omlaag.html
4. NPR – https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/04/811019032/why-chinas-air-has-been-cleaner-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak?t=1584528960255
5. Jarl van der Ploeg, Volkskrant via Twitter – https://twitter.com/Jarlvanderploeg/status/1239464755607351296
6. DailyMail – https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-8121515/Global-air-pollution-levels-plummet-amid-coronavirus-pandemic.html
7. Superguide – https://www.superguide.nl/nieuws/nieuw-met-netflix-party-kun-je-samen-series-kijken-op-afstand-films
8. Techcrunch – https://techcrunch.com/2020/02/23/china-roundup-tech-companies-coronavirus/
9. CNN – https://edition.cnn.com/2020/03/17/tech/internet-infrastructure-coronavirus/index.html
10. Adformatie – https://www.adformatie.nl/merkstrategie/blijf-investeren-marketing-tijden-van-coronarecessie