As the world undergoes unprecedented change while facing a period of uncertainty, there is but only one certainty - the COVID-19 pandemic will permanently alter businesses for the long term.
Digitisation has seen extraordinary interest from business leaders over the past year and a half. Those of us who have been an intrinsic part of the technology world have been gazing into the crystal ball trying to determine how technology will impact the future. Now suddenly we are inside the future watching it take shape right before our eyes.
According to the KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse Survey, 66 per cent CEOs in India felt the pandemic has accelerated the digitisation of operations and the creation of next-generation models. In essence, digital is driving the future and there is no going back.
World of possibilities
As enterprises across industries take stock of the magnitude of what this unexpected transformation might mean for them, they are turning to technology to find solutions for the following expectations:
Organisations across industries will benefit from the digital transition, but each industry will have its own trajectory of transformation. Let me highlight the potential digital transformation opportunities in two very different industries – manufacturing and banking.
Manufacturing: These uncertain times put a lot of pressure on the manufacturing industry owing to supply chain disruptions, unavailability of labour and highly volatile demand.
The progressive organisations will:
Banking: In a matter of only a few weeks, the world of banking experienced a level of disruption, which changed the way banks conducted business, the way employees work, and the way consumers managed their finances historically. The sector was ahead on the digital transformation curve compared to other sectors but the new normal required the industry to develop comprehensive capabilities that are integrated across every aspect of banking.
The leading banks will most likely build on:
Key challenges and gaps
While we may agree that the new normal is here to stay and technology adoption will continue to pave the way, it comes with a set of challenges, which organisations must consider:
Talent/skills gap: Drastic digital adoption of the modern IT architecture leads to specific skill requirements. Skill shortage and talent gaps will likely create the biggest challenge that organisations need to deal with.
Cyber security: Remote work, which practically is now a norm, poses new data security risks to organisations. As a result, global business leaders have identified cyber security as the top concern impacting their growth and operations.
Regulation: The heightened pace of technological innovation poses serious challenges to governments that must cope with the disruptive speed and scope of the transformations occurring in many domains. While these technologies offer opportunities for improvement to economic efficiency, they also generate many unexpected consequences and pose new forms of risks.
Change management: Organisations need to change, rethink, and refresh their strategies to respond to disruptions across businesses, people, suppliers, and customers. The transformation to new ways of working is a journey and leaders will have to adapt to manage this journey effectively.
Digital disruption is here to stay. Organisations can deal with it as a challenge or embrace it as a gift. The latter group is likely to realise faster and longer-term benefits. Therefore, it is vital to develop a strategy to take advantage of digital technologies. Here are a few key steps:
The future is about breaking down silos and getting connected. The fine balance between renewing the old and uncovering value from the new can enable technology to create the value that enterprises demand.
 KPMG 2021 CEO Outlook Pulse, KPMG International, accessed on 26 June 2021