Facebook along with GiveIndia collaborated with Indian entertainment industry for a fundraiser concert 'I for India' to provide relief to those affected by covid. The four-hour long star studded event featured Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Will Smith, Shreya Ghoshal. The caveat was the event was online, live-streamed on Facebook.
Who thought fund raising events could happen virtually! COVID has challenged many such assumptions. Facilities such as gym, schools, church prayers that were associated with the physical spaces all moved online. And, businesses that couldn't make the digital transition faltered during lockdown.
"This reinforces the fact that every single thing in our lives at some point is essentially getting digitally transformed," says Nigel Vaz, CEO of the digital business transformation company Publicis Sapient.
He adds, "COVID-19 has made businesses realise that digital transformation is no longer tangential, it is a matter of existence".
This big shift to digital banks upon three big pillars: consumer behaviour, technology and business model. "All these three things have to change in sync. What COVID has done is accelerated the evolution of all these three things starting with consumer behaviour, to how organisations are thinking about technology and new business models to build resilience and create differentiation," says Vaz.During the lockdown, internet saw many first time users come online to use digital services such as communication apps, ordering grocery or even accessing work-out videos. "Since social distancing is not going away for a while, the digital behaviour will continue and become a natural habit for many leading to behavioural hardening," says Vaz.
As consumers move online, businesses will have no choice but accelerate their digital foray. In response to the COVID 19, online learning platform Coursera announced free access to its courses for impacted universities through its Coursera for Campus platform. Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India and APAC, Coursera said that within a month, almost 900 educational institutions had reached out to enable them offer online learning to their students.
Organisations will have to start thinking about investments they need to make to prepare better for uncertainties and not get caught unawares. "Businesses will now be thinking about investing in technology to grow and create differentiation," says Vaz.
For instance, digitally enabled processes for self-service help businesses with cost avoidance and cash preservation. Take the case of call centres where bots and other digital mechanisms vastly reduce the incoming call traffic and the need for huge physical infrastructure. Also, digital allows businesses to pivot faster. For instance, Uber partnered with essential items provider like Flipkart and Bigbasket to help them with last mile delivery.
"Traditional companies will now have to think about business model shifts that digital native companies can make much easily than physical businesses and work towards that," says Vaz.