A control switch adjusted towards digitisation.

The Value of Digitisation

Feb 2, 2023


Despite its significant potential, the economic gains of digitisation are still to be fully realised. Industries such as automotive, healthcare and manufacturing have been slower to adopt new technologies.

However, Covid-19 made digitised society an achievable reality. Today, many organisations are facing a major threat to their existence. Sadly, there will be companies that fall by the wayside, but the survivors must adapt in order to build new momentum in an uncertain future.

How Covid-19 Accelerated Digitisation

A core consequence of social distancing during Covid-19 has been more time spent working from home. For many office workers, this has translated into the daily use of online tools such as Slack, WhatsApp groups and CRM tools – instead of face-to-face meetings. Moreover, attendance in virtual conference calls and events increased as well.

In a few short weeks, employees have become much more comfortable with a connected style of working and are becoming more open to digital work processes in the future, both in their professional and home life.

Other digital trends that have increasingly taken hold in recent months include a growth in online shopping for clothing, household goods, fresh food and health products which is moving shopping away from malls and encouraging retailers to develop omni-channel strategies that provide a better consumer experience including a variety of low-touch options to buy online and pick up in store.

With a surge in demand for internet based shopping that has seen Amazon report 25% YOY growth in Q1 of 2020, eCommerce financing has entered the trade financing mainstream as a source of working capital. It helps stabilise supplier cash flow when large volumes of goods are shipped to the warehouse of major online retailers like Alibaba or eBay prior to purchase by consumers.

Digital payment platforms – such as FPS (Faster Payment System)  and PayMe from HSBC – have enjoyed a surge in popularity during recent weeks, with usage up by 25% from the previous year.

Equally significantly, online entertainment and home fitness have taken off around the world.

In a global consumer survey by McKinsey across 41 countries, around 40-60 percent of respondents who have adopted these new products and services intend to continue using it in the future.

Retailers, restauranteurs and business leaders all need to learn from these new consumption patterns – in order to build a suitable new strategy around digitisation to come out on top when the Covid-19 crisis subsides.

Lessons From the Finance Sector

While eCommerce giants have been early adopters of digital processes, organisations in the finance sector are now adapting to the trend to enrich customer experience, develop a competitive advantage and meet tough regulatory requirements.

These processes include:

  • real-time electronic money transfer
  • automated teller machines
  • mobile transactions
  • digital on-boarding of new customers
  • online document storage
  • automated workflow
  • technology tools for management oversight

The more innovative players – often specialist Fintech have already digitised with a platform-based, self-service business model. The model offers a high degree of automation, utilising e-signatures and storing all documents on the cloud. Paper-free processes are conducted entirely online including customer on-boarding and KYC (Know Your Customer) with documentation to match regulatory requirements that is easy to follow without the need for staff intervention.

This compact and efficient model offers scope for a high degree of business scalability and the potential for partnerships with other industry players as a catalyst for a true digitisation of the finance sector.

Quality organisations use data analysis extensively to continually improve their business model. They maintain a sharp focus on security to protect their data and ensure the privacy of their customers.

Other industries can learn from these developments in finance and apply a modified approach to fit their individual requirements for digitisation.

Digitisation in a Post-Covid-19 World

Once CEOs realise the value of a digitisation strategy for the survival and future success of their business, a detailed plan is required to be deployed as the world emerges into the post-Covid-19 world. This is both a major challenge and a great opportunity – a necessary step to secure a competitive advantage ahead of rival companies.

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