The acceleration of digital transformation

The current global health crisis will change our lives forever.

Thirty top global experts, from technology executives to venture capitalists and analysts, weighed in on the pandemic’s lasting impact on how we live, work and think, as reported by Fast Company magazine.

Everyone agrees that wor­king from home is becoming the new normal. Employees will continue to virtually connect with colleagues and customers even after the pandemic.

The experts also believe that companies and organizations will accelerate their migration to digital applications and platforms. “What organizations resisted for a decade is now core to survival and innovation,” Michael Hendrix, partner at Ideo, told Fast Company.

Videoconferencing tools, learning management systems, cloud computing, e-commerce platforms, and others are being adopted by organizations all over.

Two traditional industries, health care and education, will also be forced to adapt.


“I expect that we will see an increase in blended lear­ning environments that include learning in both the physical classroom setting and online,” said Simon Allen, CEO of McGraw-Hill.

The health-care industry has likewise embraced digital health tools such as apps to check on patients.

All of these changes point to one common theme: Digital transformation is accelerating faster than ever. Organizations and companies, whether small or large, will adopt strategies to fully leverage on the changes brought about by the crisis.

In our digital transformation consulting work, we identified four groups of activities and processes in an organization—business model and operations, product/service configuration, customer engagement, and culture and employee engagement.

Because of digitization, business models will transform to nontraditional ones, such as subscription, microtransaction and freemium (offering free basic services).

Operations will likewise transform. Companies will automate processes for cost efficiency. A good example are banks. Customer service agents work from home to answer customer queries using advanced digital tools. Organizations are also adopting chatbots and artificial intelligence to automate certain customer-facing activities.

Lastly, culture and employee engagement are also being transformed. Apart from the digital work-from-home tools that ensure collaboration across the organization, lear­ning management systems and employee engagement tools are being adopted to make sure that employees continually reskill and upskill to better adapt to the changing times.

But like what we always say in our consulting work, culture is the hardest to transform as it involves changing mindsets and behaviors of employees. What’s more challenging to CEOs now is how to survive the crisis, while transforming for the future, and all of these happening in the midst of anxiety and worry among the employees; and not all employees will be able to adapt to the fast changing environment.

The business environment will be difficult in the coming years. In order to survive, business leaders need to adopt digital transformation strategies while balancing with culture transformation, exercising good judgment and compassion for the employees.


This article reflects the personal opinion of the authors and does not reflect the official stand of the Management Association of the Philippines or the MAP. The author is CEO of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation consulting firm. He is the Country Representative of the Institute of Change and Transformation Professionals Asia (ICTPA) and Fellow at the US-based Institute for Digital Transformation. He teaches strategic management in the MBA Program of De La Salle University.