Digital transformation in a changing world


With the health crisis that has affected the world for over a year, companies and banks in particular have had to be agile. The digital transformation has accelerated in order to maintain resilience and business continuity for customers, who have also had to adapt.

The acronym VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity), which describes the global environment, took on its full meaning in 2020. Organisations have had to adapt on a concrete level, by taking a systemic approach and analysing the situations they have to deal with.

What were the main advances?

The impacts were felt at several levels. The need for companies to work remotely has contributed to changes in their IT infrastructures. The way we interact has evolved: physical meetings have been rapidly replaced by video-conferencing, and Skype, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom have become essential tools for interaction between employees and with customers. These new ways of interacting have been adopted in day-to-day business and for more specific processes, such as board meetings.

Virtual solutions such as electronic signatures have also become widespread. Document printing has been greatly reduced, which in turn has had a positive decarbonisation impact.

Working remotely has also accelerated processes such as remote customer on-boarding. Artificial intelligence and OCR (Optical Character Recognition) in particular are used to collect customer documents and perform machine reading. Virtual automation has become a reality. These technological advances were aimed at resilience and business continuity.

What are the lessons to be learned?

Under stress, organisations have an undeniable ability to execute and innovate. As Akio Morita, a Japanese physicist and co-founder of Sony, pointed out:

Anyone can innovate, if their life depends on it.

These achievements suggest that the world of tomorrow will be marked by technology, with the customer experience being the common thread.

This will change the way customers and suppliers work and interact with each other. A return to the pre-crisis world is no longer conceivable. A new normal is emerging, to cope with such behavioural and societal changes. The arrival of younger generations on the labour market will be an additional catalyst.

What can we expect in 2021?

Despite the promise of emerging technologies (e.g. blockchain and artificial intelligence), 2021 will still be marked by a balance between digital solutions embedded in information systems and new technologies. Many organisations still have a long way to go when it comes to the traditional digital solutions mentioned above. The organisations that have come the furthest will have to review their strategy and optimise their choices. Some decisions taken in haste last year should be rethought this year, with the aim of providing the customer with an optimal experience and securing internal processes and associated operational gains. At the same time, companies will have to make the most of emerging technologies in order to stand out and offer innovative solutions for their customers, tomorrow and beyond. Peter Drucker, an American professor, business management consultant, author, and theorist, said:

“The best way to predict the future is to create it”

It is therefore up to us to write the pages of the future together, for an optimal customer experience.

Article published in Paperjam on May 17th, 2021.