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The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the way we do business. It highlighted the need for companies to invest in technology and to accelerate their digital transformation to ensure that their organizations are operationally resilient, agile and customer-focused.

 

Accelerating digital growth

CEOs are more confident in their own businesses’ growth prospects over the coming 3 years. In part, this is because they have greater control over the levers that will determine this. One of the most critical levers they can control here, and a major growth driver, is digital acceleration. With commerce increasingly taking place online because of factors such as physical distancing, companies are having to rethink what customers want and how to deliver. We found that 75 percent of CEOs say the pandemic has accelerated the creation of a seamless digital customer experience, with over 1 in 5 (22 percent) of those saying progress “has sharply accelerated, putting us years in advance of where we expected to be”.

The challenge for organizations is to focus efforts and investment on the areas that are capable of generating the most long-term value, while avoiding those areas that might just prove to be a short-term reaction to the pandemic.

When we asked CEOs to name the greatest challenge they have faced in accelerating digital transformation, the biggest issue was ‘lack of insight into future operational scenarios’. Companies need to understand whether a COVID-related change – such as shifting customer behaviors – is evidence of a permanent trend that is emerging rather than just a temporary effect of the pandemic.

As we move towards the New Reality, we will navigate through an entirely new landscape and it can be difficult to distinguish temporary shifts from more permanent trends brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among the themes that that will likely have enduring impacts include ways of working, labor force, digital commerce and continuity and resilience.

Building an effective technology strategy and identifying areas that require transformation are key to thrive in the new reality. In our daily operations, we use design thinking to ensure relevance even beyond the pandemic.

 

Reflections for the new reality

With digital acceleration shaping the future of industries, organizations will need a deep understanding of how customer behavior will shift and how to meet these emerging demands. Data-driven insight – and scenario modelling – will be critical to understand what major shifts are likely to emerge. Pre-pandemic, the major challenge to many organizations’ digital transformation was the burden and complexity of legacy IT and a continued struggle to manage their data effectively. These challenges have not gone away and organizations will need to focus on cybersecure IT transformation, across organizational silos drawing on cloud technologies and agile techniques.

The pandemic has presented many challenges that business leaders have never encountered before. As the business landscape continuously evolves, IT resilience is key to protecting the health of both your people and your business. Technology leaders must step up to help organizations respond to immediate disruptions, maintain business continuity and allow for a competitive recovery towards the New Reality.

Jallain Marcel S. Manrique is an Advisory Partner and Head of the IT Advisory Group of KPMG R.G. Manabat & Co. (KPMG RGM&Co.), the Philippine member firm of KPMG International.

This article is for general information purposes only and should not be considered as professional advice to a specific issue or entity.

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of KPMG International or KPMG RGM&Co. For comments or inquiries, please email ph-kpmgmla@kpmg.com.