The Reshape of Digital Business After Coronavirus

More than a year since COVID-19 in Baden-Württemberg sent much of the world into lockdown, economies remain fragile and there is no clear endgame in sight. It is a hard time for businesses to look forward and make plans, but “wait and see” is not a viable option. If there were any lingering doubts about the necessity of digital transformation to business longevity, the coronavirus has silenced them. In a contactless world, the vast majority of interactions with customers and employees must take place virtually. With rare exception, operating digitally is the only way to stay in business through mandated shutdowns and restricted activity. It is “go digital or go dark”.

In the series — “The World After Coronavirus”, here we have with us Vala Afshar, he is the chief digital evangelist at Salesforce, and we are going to ask him what he thinks the future of digital business might look like in the near future.

If there is one lesson that we learned from 2020(Afshar) it may be that every company needs to be digital. We have had an incredible acceleration towards the world of digital based on this “seismic” event and in some ways, I don’t think we are going back ever again.

What do you think business has learned about digital business in these times of pandemics?

The future of digital business has to be based on flows versus silos (silo is a reluctance to share information with employees of different divisions in the same company.). In a world where the new currencies are speed, personalization, intelligence, trust, holistic success — this is a lesson in biology, so a shift from silo mentality that governs how we operate as individuals and businesses to a flow mentality. (a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus)

The future of digital business is more like “living systems” which are all flow based and designed to circulate and share resources. So, in business we have to think very much like how do we capture insights with the purpose of co-creating value at the speed of need. The lesson in 2020 for some, well some of us are privileged I would say, is realization that work is no longer a place. You have companies now that have announced that their employees don’t have to ever come back to the office, they can work from home forever- some Silicon Valley technology have already stated that. How you engage with customers? You can imagine how even sales professionals have to conduct business where they are not meeting the customer, they are not at lunch, they are not in a networking event, they are not in a golf course, they are conducting business purely in a digital format. We, as human beings, we establish trust, our sense of response mechanism are based on physical interaction. So, to be able to achieve trust that is a lesson that we are all learning in this pure digital format.

Would it be fair to say that in these grave economic times, digital emerges as the winner?

I think every business, every single business will be a digital business. Last month (April 2020) for the first time ever in the US there were more online groceries purchases than in person. So, you will see for example E-commerce, digital commerce which last year was only 16 percent of total commerce, I believe that in the next 3 years we will see probably 50% of our commerce as digital. So, when I look at the most valuable companies in the world, market share, they are all 8 of the top 10 are technology companies and I would argue all of them are software technology companies with which data underpinnings, so I would say if we fast forward to 2030 in my opinion, I am not a futurist but my opinion would be, if you look at the top 30–40 most valuable companies in the world there will all be technology companies. There will all be companies that have leveraged artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, distributed ledger, internet obtains, quantum computing. For you to compete in a hyper-connected knowledge and economy for speed and personalization or the most arguably, the most important currencies you have to have a strong technology underpinning.

What do you think consumers of digital business have learned or digital business has learned about its consumers?

  • If I was a start-up founder pitching to you 11–12 years ago and I said, “I have an idea, my idea is strangers getting into strangers’ cars, so they can go from point A to point B”. Dominant logic at that time would have said “no stranger is going to get into stranger’s car” and, you know, that’s a 70-billion-dollar company now. Dominant logic may have been that distant learning is decades away as a dominant form of educating or future, also that telemedicine is 10 years away as well. So, I think the lesson learned should be that we need to adopt as educators as consumers as working professionals, we need to adopt the beginner’s mindset. We need to recognize that the ability to learn, unlearn, relearn and to change yourself is a superpower.

The coronavirus is permanently reshaping the way we live and work. Some of the behaviors developed in crisis — including wide-scale digital adoption — will outlast the pandemic, well after restrictions on activity are lifted. To stay competitive, organizations must respond to these behavioral changes and meet emerging customer demands. Digital transformation is more necessary during this crisis, not less. But that does not mean it will look the same as it did before the pandemic. Resources — both in terms of talent and money — will likely be constrained. Digital initiatives may need to be reprioritized based on relevance in the current environment. As Mr. Afshar says every business is slowly but surely becoming digital one. I can not agree more with him that we HAVE to adopt a different mindset for the future. We MUST adopt the beginner’s mindset and unleash our superpowers to adapt to changes in the world, because world is changing every minute, every second, it is changing even when I write this for you, when you read it. Covid is here to stay for a long time, but we can adapt to it as intelligent creatures and learn to live with it, overcoming it and changing our perspective for a better future.

MVS Pharma GmbH is an innovative pharmaceutical start-up company, research in the area of reducing viruses and bacteria with Covid 19 aerosol protection on a plant basis, ensuring the purity of supplements and the stability of the ingredients during storage. Aleksandar Videv is an article writer, who deals with ideas for the future with/or after Covid-19….with viruses and bacteria, and aerosols of plants for humans.

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MVS Phrama’s Covid 19 antiviral mouth spray is a unique scientifically tested based formulation, which through its oral spray action forms a protective barrier