coronaToday, there is hardly a company that can do without digital technology. Usually, a large number of IT systems and programs perform their services in more or less peaceful coexistence, but it was hardly possible to synchronize these systems and to structure processes better. The collaboration of processes and procedures, however, will bring the next boost in digitization.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, digitalization was an abstract concept for many. Of course, there was email and WhatsApp, and accounting no longer existed on paper, but was digitally mapped using appropriate software and Excel tables. Nevertheless, concepts like digital collaboration were abstract terms for most companies.

The fact is, that digitization combined with social tools lead to much more agile companies, as already McKinsey revealed in one of their global studies a few years back. According to the experts, the business use of social tools is nearly universal which is why we will make more and more use of team-collaboration technologies. “These tools are cloud based, designed for real-time interactions, allow users to search conversations, provide a distinctive user experience, and integrate with other enterprise applications (such as file sharing and social media), among several other features”, McKinsey states. Especially, since social media creates searchable content as a by-product of collaboration, the new-generation tools could even begin to replace email as the default channel of written communication, the company believes.

Because of the pandemic, companies are practically flung into the age of digitization, since work is organized regardless of time and place: it is not the time or location of the service that is important, but the measurable result. Companies that organize their digital collaboration on this principle have advantages in the current crisis.

Until a few weeks ago, it was just nice to have a distinctive knowledge management system that was easily accessible to all employees on an online platform: it wasn't really essential for survival but might be exactly the competitive advantage that’s needed now:

  • Companies that have made digitally processed knowledge and know-how available, have a clear advantage in the home office phase.
  • Internal blogs, in which current information is communicated in a structured manner, are significantly more effective than email chains or a quickly set up WhatsApp group.
  • Frequently asked questions and best practice solutions are available to everyone.
  • Meetings are not mapped personally, but via digital collaboration tools.
  • Work packages and projects are distributed digitally, as well as responsibilities and tasks assigned, so that everyone can concentrate and work effectively from their home office.

The advantage of digitization is only now becoming apparent to many companies - during the crisis. Whether home office or not, the work can go on as usual, since digital business models do not need a centrally organized production team. They can be managed and controlled conveniently from the home office, just like every digital process can also be administered from anywhere.

Thousands of companies are realizing these days that the often abstract-looking concept of digitization is now vital to survival – and remains essential for survival. Just keep in mind that the danger of another corona outbreak in autumn is not averted. On the contrary: situations like the one we are experiencing these weeks could repeat themselves. The corona crisis gives a boost to digitalization because companies woke up in the crisis, increasingly thinking about how they can make themselves more crisis-proof. The solution is making work productive regardless of space and time. Hence, thousands of companies are realizing these days that the often abstract-looking concept of digitization is vital to survival.

By Daniela La Marca