COVID-19 Wave: Surf or Sink?

With Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic escalating every day, millions of lives are affected, and businesses around the world are hit hard. According to the WEF, the pandemic may cost the global economy at least $1 trillion loss this year. Yet, it's a huge wave of business transformation revolution and opportunities come knocking at those who are bold enough. If you can't escape the wave, learn to surf by seriously taking into consideration the following aspects:

1. Rethink Business Resilience

Companies in hospitality, tourism, retail, transportation, and manufacturing are among the most vulnerable for it is part of global value chains that highly depend on people. It follows that advanced technologies and capabilities should be leveraged to strengthen the resilience of their current business models and reduce impacts from global shocks like Covid-19. For instance, some supermarkets have gone online and handled customer inquiries through virtual chat bots. Manufacturers have started enabling data-driven solutions to increase visibility of channel inventory and better respond to changing situations. Regardless of aspect of the business model of next-gen technologies, the bottom line here is to grasp every opportunity to embrace disruptive innovations and sustain the continuation of services for the long haul.

2. Digitise Enterprise Collaboration Systems

With the enforcement of social distancing, several companies have put in place a flexible working policy, allowing employees to work remotely, adopting video conferencing, online customer support and project management, etc. ICT reports that 76 per cent of industrial users will adopt a sort of collaboration platforms. Compulsory remote interactions due to the growing demand for a real-time, uninterrupted connection. This is where 5G and its remarkable speed, near-instantaneous communications come in handy. But effective communication is not enough. Businesses should plan effective measures to ensure privacy and data security for you and your clients by, for example, utilising cloud-based tools to store and access data.

3. Improve IT Infrastructure Capabilities

Businesses don't survive on silver linings. We need preparation for the unknowns to be able to minimise their impacts. Formulating a long-term plan that focuses on the improvements in IT infrastructure is one way. While collaboration platforms, Cloud computing, Robotics, AI, Big data and 5G are among the most adopted next-gen technologies, there are more to the list. Therefore, business leaders should identify what are the suitable technologies and utilise them to reduce costs while keeping productivity flowing and optimising ROIs.

4. Digital Culture – Transform from the Ground up

Incumbents who don’t adapt, fail. While it’s leadership team to identify the IT initiatives, it takes the whole organisation to implement those changes. Hence, the alternation in the business landscape must go hand in hand with a change in culture. Digital transformations that focus on culture experience a fivefold financial performance breakthrough compared to those do not. This is heavy lifting, yet unavoidable process. To transform a company’s culture, communication, transparency, and accountability are key. Digital transformation training should be available to all levels within the organisation. As the companies evolve into a more digital-modified business, it’s crucial to track the progress regularly to ensure the transformation aligns with organisational culture. Remember: successful digital transformation begins with cultural transformation.

There’s no way for us to foresee the next Black Swan. The COVID-19 pandemic is a wakeup call for businesses hesitated to transform digitally; it forces companies to rethink the way they do business. A wait-and-see approach no longer works.

Ride the wave, or sink?

Your choice!



BCG. (2020, March). It’s Not a Digital Transformation Without a Digital Culture. Retrieved from

Business, C. (2020, March). CNN Business. Retrieved from

Forum, W. E. (2020, March). This is how much the coronavirus will cost the world's economy, according to the UN. Retrieved from

Gartner. (2020, March). React to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak via Raising Business Model Resilience. Retrieved from

IDC. (2020, March). CXO Surveys: IT and Digital Transformation Show Growing Value as the COVID-19 Epidemic Takes its Toll. Retrieved from

Author Tran Dang Hoa