Andrew Dabbs, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop, says that business has been caught out more than ever before and the companies that held back on their digital transformation may not make it through 2020. But what is digital transformation?

They said: ‘there is time’, ‘the investment in technology could be made next year’, that ‘things were not going to change overnight’, ‘consumer habits will remain the same’, ‘don’t change something that’s not broken’, and then Covid-19 happened.

Andrew Dabbs, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop.

The world has spun into absolute shock with global economies taking the brunt of the devastation. South Africa is providing relief to the tune of at least R500bn, while other countries like the UK announced an unprecedented package of government-backed and guaranteed loans to support businesses, making an initial £330 billion of guarantees available (R23 to £1 = R7,590,000,000,000Tn).

According to Technopedia, ‘Digital transformation is the changes associated with digital technology application and integration into all aspects of human life and society. It is the move from the physical to digital.’

According to Mckinsey, ’16% of respondents say that their organisations’ digital transformations have successfully improved performance and also equipped them to sustain changes in the long term. An additional 7% say that performance improved but that those improvements were not sustained. In traditional industries like oil and gas, automotive, infrastructure and pharmaceuticals, digital transformation is even more challenging: success rates fall between 4% and 11%. Success rates also vary by company size. Organisations with fewer than 100 employees say that their respondents are 2.7 times more likely to report a successful digital transformation than those from organisations with more than 50,000 employees.’

It’s not a promising picture and this has been substantiated by the budget speech, UIF temporary relief, the Solidarity Fund, etc., so on a positive note, let’s consider which industries have successfully embraced digital transformation. In my opinion, the fitness/health and wellness industry is a leader in adopting technology.

The myriad of online content covers anything from dieting to high intensity exercise, which can all link back to a virtual leader board if you require it for your medical aid. Virtual games can be created between you and your colleagues, friends, family or even people who have the same interest and live in an area around you. The applications and associated brands who have connected individuals, built communities and collated databases based on goals, body weights and heart rates are endless.

If we consider the pure shortage of live sport and the inability for people to connect at races and events right now, it’s been wonderful to see people running a virtual two oceans marathon and multiple other races around their houses or on treadmills. We’ve also been lucky enough to see the world’s top cyclist competing on SS1 in a virtual tour.

Ultimately, technology is there for us to embrace and to make life easier. It’s time consuming and costly, but in the long run, it might help you keep your doors open and keep customers engaged. Hopefully we didn’t hedge all our bets on there being another day to look at digital transformation.

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