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Digital Leap: When If Not Now?

The coronavirus has accelerated digital transformation in many sectors. It has revealed deficits, but also released new energy. We look at five industries and their digital futures.

Not only students and teachers have learned a lot during the Corona lockdown - as for example in this virtual school lesson. In many areas of public and private sector, it led to a surge in digitalization. © Photo: Plainpicture

Health agencies reporting case statistics by fax, schools lacking the technical means for online instruction, and retailers without any digital presence—the coronavirus lockdown mercilessly exposed digital deficits in both the public and private sectors. But it has also released new energy and showed what is possible. For instance, the administrative organization with largely analogue technology that managed to digitalize its pandemic-related services essentially overnight from offices now located in homes. Or the teachers who successfully improvised their virtual lessons. And the retailers who creatively expanded their online business models. The cultural sector was equally inventive. Virtual tours of museums, livestreams of orchestra concerts, and literature festivals on Zoom will almost certainly expand accessibility to culture on a lasting basis.

Digital turning point
The speed with which solutions have been found during the pandemic is an impressive demonstration of how highly complex processes like digitalization can be accelerated within very short periods of time. “It seemed unimaginable that working and studying online would actually become standard practice,” says Achim Berg, the president of Bitkom, an association of more than 2,700 German companies in the digital economy. “But now the enormous potential of digital technologies can no longer be overlooked.” For him the crisis represents a turning point in digitalization, and a wake-up call to pursue the process with all available means. There can be no turning back to the pre-crisis mode, he says. The course is now being set. Depending on the sector, organizations and companies have responded to the need for digitalization in many different ways.

Read the full article in Porsche Consulting Magazine.