JOHANNESBURG-Under the weight of the global Covid-19 pandemic, the world is straining. Covid-19 and the resulting alienation have rattled the foundation of cultures around the globe, the business world and the economy.
Sadly, South Africa is no exception to this. While the global crisis has struck South Africa much later than Europe, the number of infections is also on the rise.
Many businesses have had to close during the government's declared lock-down. Some companies closed their doors indefinitely, and about 1.8 million people lost their employment and earnings. Volatile sectors such as the hotel, transportation and airline sectors have endured one of the most turbulent periods in history since the Second World War. They have been struck by the Coronavirus and government lockout.
Yet the old saying, "Every dark cloud has a silver lining" is also true of Covid-19. There is one good that has been the product of these very troubling days. Eventually, millions of workers in South Africa have to continue working from home to use remote networking software to do their job and keep in touch with their organizations. Organizations have no choice but to reconsider their tactics to keep their operations running.
Data traffic in the telecommunications network increased exponentially as companies began to interact virtually with their employees, customers, suppliers and stakeholders. A significant number of people working at home used video conferencing applications or other collaboration tools or software such as Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, Trello, WeChat, FaceTime, WhatsApp and many more devices, software, or systems.
Throughout the months after the global release of Covid-19, the video conferencing tech provider Zoom has reported more engaged subscribers than it did in the entire of 2019.
Market research company AskAfrika finds that 63% of South African participants reported using video chat sites such as WhatsApp, FaceTime and Skype more than in the past week 7 of the lock-down.
Many businesses and their employees have undeniably proven that they can evolve and quickly adapt under strict lock-in regulations to work, interact and even succeed through digital means.
AskAfrika 's study on the industry showed that 71% of workers said they would do their best to keep their employers in company. The optimistic status of workers, but also to maintain work stability, can partially be due to this.
Most firms put their activities online in record time and were up and running (nearly) entirely within weeks of the midnight lock-out.
Certainly, plenty of those quickly out of the blocks had invested in distributed networks for some reason and had a higher degree of digital preparation. Many workers have have to know how to use interactive information technologies – capabilities that are important in the future as companies became more and more global.
If it is automated marketing sessions, virtual client sessions, virtual board meetings, and even logging critical internal jobs over the Internet on time, the increased introduction of digital technologies – mostly outside of existing corporate processes – has brought immense confusion to many businesses and maybe transformed the way company operates.
Whether or not businesses were ready, the corona virus inevitably pushed all of them to use digital communication tools and, ultimately, the physical world for the first time.
This was not easy for many, provided that market analysis by AskAfrika suggested that the internet bandwidth and connectivity within the first six weeks of lockdown were very unsatisfactory.
Week 7 showed some change, but 43 percent reported that Internet speeds were weak all day long and 45 percent complained about unreliable access to the Internet.
A minimum of 26% had trouble in making outgoing calls and accepting incoming calls.
Calls have been steadily falling by 28 percent. Thus, although improvements can be seen in the previous weeks of the lock-down, the current state of telecommunications and the Internet is a significant impediment to remote business operations and needs urgent attention.
The excellent lesson of the tough period, though, is that businesses, associations and organisations have proven they can handle the transition, discover new ways of continuing to work, communicate around the board and support consumers in extraordinarily challenging circumstances.
I assume that these skills gained by organisations as a result of the COVID 19 crises are not only essential to the current crisis, they are critical to the future, as businesses are always digitally changed, run differently, and conducting business in new ways due to the impact of the internet revolution, shifting customer behavior, and also transport congestions. In future company digitalization will play an significant role, whether it be for interactive meetings, internet marketing and advertising or information sharing.
Everything we are now seeing is the global revolution that many researchers and technology analysts theorized would only achieve over the next decade. An unexpected crisis accelerated the digitization of organizations, which was a catalyst for a massive and sudden shift towards digital, remote organizations.
But one thing is clear. We established the framework for the digital transformation of companies during the crisis. Organizations have shown that they can pursue their operations, collaborate efficiently, sustain the morale of workers and create partnerships through modern interfacing and communication technologies. While companies have been pushed into digital service as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and therefore may find that it is essential to return to the "normal" situation, thanks to the popularity of electronic meetings, cost savings and time-saving, workers can now find less road or air travel to actual conferences and meetings more interactive.
Case studies have shown that several organisations have found team coordination with digital interfacing is much more effective. Instead of gathering in a conference center, team members communicate with Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Gathering and this collaboration start irrespective of where they are based. And the app has additional functionality, such as the option to monitor the meeting for minutes.
Relations with prospective customers as well as quotes on work and fulfillment of orders have been fully revolutionized now that employees have developed the skills and digital infrastructure to interact with customers and do business worldwide.
Also, the IT Department will serve clients and operate services from anywhere with the necessary facilities to allow workers to meet the geographical proximity needs flexibly.
The IT Department must also represent businesses and offer staff from all locations with the appropriate infrastructure to allow employees to meet the needs of geographical proximity flexibly.
By digitizing different activities that are better suited for remote service, companies may not only save money but also significantly boost their performance. Nonetheless, several businesses do not have an option but will have to digitally turn because their customers have migrated to the new world.
For example, during Week seven of the lock-down, in their market research, AskAfrika found that 51 percent of consumers will change after lock-down. All of them will continue to buy and order online.
Some of the changes in companies due to Covid-19 and the resulting lock-up will certainly be irreversible because the importance of new platforms, goods and activities is increasingly evident for most companies.
The pandemic has significantly influenced the way companies to do business and manage their employees. The world is impossible without these emerging interactive innovations. When digital change in the future become more and more relevant, only businesses that respond to new market trends and pursue digital transformation can thrive.