Vaccinate Then Automate? Business Changes Brought About by the Pandemic Could be Good for Automation

April 13, 2021

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“A year like no other”

“Unprecedented times”

“The new normal”

These phrases are considered overused for a reason, so we’re getting them out of the way early in our COVID-19 pandemic-specific topic while not downplaying the toll - both human and economic - of the disease.

Over a year into pandemic-related lockdowns across the globe, sufficient data points offer fodder for trends at the heart of research and reporting on business impacts and a re-envisioned future as a result.

Corporations have initiated digital transformation efforts for some time now, but the most common thread to these reports is how the pandemic response has accelerated the embrace of digital transformation and technology, often led by their finance teams.

According to “Digital Transformation in Finance: Understanding its Impact During COVID-19 and After,” a report on cross-industry case studies by business advisory firm, FTI Consulting,

“...companies that invested in digital transformation have benefited from their ability to digitize end-to-end processes such as order processing, supply chain and accounting, thereby capitalizing in this uncertain time.”

The FTI report noted for those firms successfully surviving with the chance to endure post-COVID-19, “the finance organization has emerged as a driving force of this transformation, and CFOs are often leading digital transformation initiatives by serving as first movers of digital solutions.”

A report co-authored by the Institute of International Finance and Deloitte, titled “Realizing the Digital Promise: COVID-19 Catalyzes and Accelerates Transformation in Financial Services,” declares corporate response to the pandemic “a defining moment” for digital transformation.

Conversely, the Deloitte report, which narrowed its focus to financial institutions, stated for those “that have historically struggled to kick-start their digital transformation journeys, the (COVID) crisis has exposed gaps in technology, and firms have responded quickly to close those gaps.

“Could COVID-19 be the chief transformation officer that has always been missing,” said Alex Manson, head of SC Ventures at Standard Chartered, according to the Deloitte report.

The rate of accelerated change could depend on the industry.

Though a survey in late 2020 by the consulting firm McKinsey & Company, noted a significant uptick in digital customer interactions compared to the prior year (58 percent through July 2020 versus 36 percent through December 2019), variances were spotted in digitization adoption since the pandemic started.

Industries such as healthcare, pharmaceuticals, financial services and professional services saw a jump in digitization almost twice that of consumer packaged goods industries, while those with a heavy focus on manufacturing didn’t see the same pandemic-spurred increase, according to survey findings.

Internally, the survey (comprised of 900 senior management respondents in July 2020) found both the consumer-facing side of businesses and internal operations, including back-office, production, research and development, and supply chains, also showed similarly high rates of digital transformation.

McKinsey findings also indicated many companies were stepping up efforts at automation deployment for critical business teams in the wake of the pandemic.

Forbes has run several articles on the impact of the pandemic on the finance and accounting aspect of business, even noting this past December that recent CFO pivots to technology have resulted in “optimistic signs that finance and accounting leaders and their teams are better able to navigate the current climate and are prepared for future scenarios, like more lockdowns or additional restrictions.”

Clearly, the pandemic and associated economic disruption have created catastrophic uncertainty across the globe, regardless of industry. Those CFOs and finance leaders who already had turned to technology have been at the forefront of the necessary change this year has wrought, with those swiftly willing to adopt not far behind in this semi-post-COVID-19 world. The organizations willing to transform - particularly in finance - have the opportunity not only to endure this crisis but be positioned for long-term, sustainable value going forward.

Contact us today to learn how RecVue’s OLM solutions can help your organization position itself squarely in this category not only to endure but thrive toward long-term growth.

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