- Digital technological solutions are key drivers of productivity gains, and it is believed that they would enhance businesses, sectors, and economies over the next decade.
- Going digital is no longer a choice; it is a fundamental business strategy that must be interwoven with broader operational initiatives to thrive in the current pandemic situation.
- Amid COVID-19, New Zealand has emerged with a pragmatic solution to virtually host APEC group summit in 2021, thus upholding nation’s commitment to host APEC events.
COVID-19 pandemic continues to take a catastrophic toll on the lives of people across the world. However, it cannot be denied that it is also acting as a catalyst for rapid change at individual, business, and economic front.
The extent and pace at which changes are happening, is throwing a light on the fact that companies are facing a transformational shift towards digitisation.
Let us now apprise ourselves with reasons for businesses to have their ‘Digi-Corner’ ready like economies:
It is extremely difficult to gauge how long this pandemic would last; therefore, it is essential to be prepared for all the upcoming scenarios.
Globally, businesses are still in agony and grappling with effects of COVID-19 pandemic. Also, it is still unclear as to when things could return to normal.
Most of the businesses are facing a challenge to keep their financial wheels running due to diminishing revenue and cash flows, as well as a general uncertainty in the economic environment.
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It would be unreasonable on the part of businesses if they would say that, they are waiting for the changes that this turbulent wave of virus would bring.
You must have heard of the phrase, ‘React to cope, respond to thrive.’
Following this phase, businesses must look beyond the prevailing condition and rather gain a long-term view of the picture to remain dynamic and operational while outpacing their competitors.
During the time of pandemic, digital technology has helped to evade the impact of virus on people, businesses, and governments around the world.
Amid the chaos, a new era based on digitalisation has unfolded new opportunities.
As government-imposed restrictions started easing and businesses re-commence their operations, the accelerated shift to digital technology is not ready to wave goodbye anytime soon.
The pandemic has led to the adoption of digital technologies for shopping, learning, production, consumer behaviour as well as business operations.
It has also put up an important question on our 'readiness' to shift to digital 'everything' and adjust to the new normal.
In the current times, people are practising self-isolation or social distancing norms; they are increasingly demanding digital services ranging from e-learning, online streaming, online shopping to remote working.
In light of lockdown and social distancing norms, consumers have got habitual to a string of digitally transformed services. These services are providing them with an easy way out; hassle-free shopping in the physical stores or making secure payments.
Let’s be prepared for the so-called ‘new normality’.
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This trend of remote work has fundamentally changed how many businesses operate. Post pandemic, many companies are likely to adapt parts of working remotely to save money and boost employees’ morale.
Owing to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the world, companies have swiftly moved to work from home and leaned on remote work tools to maintain business continuity. For various companies, this is the first time where most of the workforce have collaborated, operated, and communicated virtually via technology for so many months.
While the virus continues to spread globally, numerous companies are planning for the future when the spread of coronavirus would cease, and life gradually adjusts back to normalcy.
One of the factors that is driving the permanent change to work from home is the cost-saving benefits of remote working. These benefits materialise from the reduction of both on-site technologies spend, as well as diminished costs in real estate expenses.
Furthermore, there are financial benefits for the employees working from home in the form of savings from commuting, office meals, and other miscellaneous expenses.
These financial gains, when coupled with the least effect on productivity levels and staff wellbeing, leaves hardly any reason for companies to move back to conventional working styles even after the end of pandemic.
With the digital workspace, many companies are likely to stick to working remotely as part of their ‘new normal’.
Now, let us shed some light on the happenings induced by the pandemic on the economic front:
The negative effects of COVID-19 pandemic are flowing down to significant sectors of the economies around the world, with sectors like automobile, retail, manufacturing, travel, aviation, and hospitality bearing consequences of the lockdown.
Moreover, cross-border trade of goods has considerably plunged owing to the temporary shutting down of borders, resulting in restricted movement of goods.
The pandemic has boosted the adoption of digital technology and services, which have kept trade flowing even when physical movement of goods have been restricted.
Did you read; Digital Trade: The Next Big Thing at Global Level
Of late, on 17 June 2020, the UK kickstarted expeditious negotiations for a digital trade deal with New Zealand and Australia. The primary area of focus was trading digitally and assisting small businesses in the UK to sell goods and services across New Zealand and Australian market.
As per the Department for International Trade, UK, the completed free trade agreement with the old friends ‘Australia and New Zealand’ could increase UK exports by ~ £1 billion.
You must have heard about the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) was established in 1989 to facilitate economic growth and reduce trade barriers amongst its Asia-Pacific member nations.
Each year one APEC nation hosts the senior APEC events.
APEC meetings for 2020 would be hosted virtually by Malaysia. Subsequently, New Zealand would host the APEC group’s summit in 2021 via digital platform.
Undoubtedly, the decision to go virtual was due to the unprecedented uncertainty caused by COVID-19.