Andreea Guțu, Contributor
Servicii Financiare & Imobiliare & Auto
Digital Hour of Power 2020
While some lost their jobs, others became even richer than they were before the pandemic, that was the case with Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, who recently became the only person in world history with a wealth that exceeds $200 billion.
The success of the billionaire in recent months was also due to this health crisis, which led to changes in consumer behavior, and more and more people turned to online shopping. Specifically, those who knew how to adapt with astonishing speed to these times, in which uncertainty was the predominant feeling, took full advantage of the crisis. It’s no longer a secret that IT and technology players are the winners of this recession. Nor that major changes occur when people have a “knife to the neck”, as they say.
So, if by March the vast majority of entrepreneurs were somewhat reluctant to automate and digitize their businesses, now, almost seven months after the pandemic broke out, everyone seems to be focusing on just that. Also, it is the most discussed topic currently. Both business and political leaders are paying increasing attention to the phenomenon of digitalization.
The year 2020 will certainly be a year that will remain in history, as a “completely unexpected” year as Bogdan Gălușcă, Director Business Development – Digital Transformation Services at Stefanini EMEA, says. He also claims that, during the pandemic, more than ever they had to collaborate with their partners, to innovate more often. “Now we are challenged to rebuild our business models if we want to be successful”, he said.
At the same time, the pandemic also showed how powerless the human race is in the face of such a global disaster, but it also brought solidarity between people, inexistent until March. Basically, throughout the pandemic, everyone was fighting for the same thing: survival. “It is a completely different reality. No one has answers and we are supposed to collaborate. What we can do is to learn from each other and to be as open as possible”, says Alexandru Cernătescu, the founder of the advertising agency Infinit, which later became Stefanini Infinit, following a joint venture with Stefanini.
The establishment of a state of emergency all over the planet, social distancing, the implementation of the work from home concept, which seemed only a dream, are just some of the elements that have brought massive changes among small, medium, and large companies. So, for sure, these are extremely volatile times. GDP will contract, profits and prices will fall, and on an upward trend is, perhaps, only the unemployment rate. The key question remains: how do we prepare for such situations? With over 20 years of experience in digital transformations, Mark Yates believes that digitalization is part of the answer. Thus, companies have created platforms and moved mainly online. Hence the steep increase in the percentage of online sales, from 10% to 50%, and the trend seems to continue in the next period. “The first thing we need to do is invest in technology to keep our clients and help them. When the crisis passes, we want them to remember us and to be there for us”, explains Mark Yates.
So, the secret to survival remains technology, but it comes with all sorts of challenges. Specifically, the technologization and digitalization of business and public institutions also mean greater exposure to cyber-attacks and the risk is commensurate. “More and more companies need to accelerate the adoption of technology, and therefore they will need to accelerate the response to the cybersecurity challenge”, said Gustavo Zeidan, an engineer at Sage with more than 20 years of experience in different technologies and industries.
However, the reality is that most security solutions have not been built to deal with this new situation, and Gustavo Zeidan believes that a hybrid approach is more appropriate and advises entrepreneurs to use “slightly more scalable” technological solutions, but also invest in what matters to their business. “Look at the risks you are facing in your business, that are relevant to your industry and find a solution that solves them directly”, says Gustavo Zeidan.
Also, the digitalization and technologization of companies help in eliminating human errors, present both in everyday life and in business. Yugo Neumorni, President of the European CIO Association, also draws attention to the risks that lie ahead in the not so distant future. In his opinion, no one can say that a company is 100% protected in terms of cyber-attacks and claims that it is absolutely impossible. “You can’t protect your company. You can protect certain parts of your company. Unfortunately, it is very difficult, but that is the reality “, says Yugo Neumorni, mentioning at the same time that every entrepreneur should have a very solid contingency plan because both human nature and people’s weaknesses remain the same. “At the end of the day, security is a culture. What I mean is that human error is the main vector of cyber-attacks”, he said.
But while addressing cyber risks is a priority for entrepreneurs, people remain the biggest “asset” of a company. This is also pointed out by many business leaders. If an entrepreneur has the right people by his side and if he knows how to make them work correctly and appropriately, then, in Alexandru Cernătescu’s opinion, he can solve almost any challenge that life poses for him.
“It is very important to understand people because the way they buy and act in today’s reality will be the deciding factor on which companies go bankrupt and which ones are successful”, emphasizes, Alexandru Cernătescu, co-founder of Sefanini Infinit. In such times, entrepreneurs need to understand how to run a business and add value to other companies while keeping their consumers happy, which, according to Alex Cerantescu, should be the “ultimate goal” of a businessman.
In addition to digitalization, another phenomenon that has taken a dramatic advance in recent months has been the implementation of the concept of work from home. If before the pandemic broke out, working from a distance was considered a “luxury”, now it is a normality, which will not disappear anytime soon. However, a new concept has emerged, the digitization of the workspace, which has gained increasing value in recent pandemic months. “You have to make sure that everyone works in an optimized way, and integrating certain tools can really help you”, said Peter Keane, EMEA Digital Workplace Director.
On the other hand, exploiting artificial intelligence brings a major benefit to organizations, and with the automation of repetitive processes, people can focus on the really valuable things. Specifically, they could do more with less. Ionuț Șerdean, EMEA Digital Workplace Practice Lead, considers that 30% of the support activity will be performed automatically, using artificial intelligence and machine learning. “It is a strong concept and a strong technology that you have to look at when it comes to digitizing the work environment”, emphasizes Ionuț Șerdean during the Digital Hour of Power event organized by Stefanini Infinit in partnership with Forbes Romania.
Eventually, the world will no longer be as it used to be, more and more changes appear with each passing day. But compared to the previous crisis, digitalization could now save companies from the recession that is expected around the globe.
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