Shaping and accelerating a digital first approach post pandemic

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Manjunath Harish discusses how Capgemini can support organisations adopt a digital first approach in the new normal post covid-19

Covid-19 has forced companies to adopt a digital first approach in order to survive in this uncertain and constantly evolving environment. However, one thing is certain, as we emerge from lockdown with a fear of a second wave(s), shopping patterns have changed, and an agile online presence is more fundamental for businesses than ever before. Capgemini has been supporting companies to transform their digital capability to thrive now and in the future.

Digital transformation is not a new endeavour for businesses but has often lacked the investment and priority it now urgently demands. COVID-19 has forced companies to shift to a digital-first way of working at an unprecedented speed, accelerating the need for agility, adaptability and transformation. According to the world economic forum “An estimated 70% of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platform business models”. Successful business leaders will seize the opportunity to build a roadmap for digital transformation that aligns to a new business normal of digital, intelligent enterprises: resilient, distributed and adaptive to disruptive change

The meaning of digital first

A digital first business model is designed around a digital world with all services and products offered digitally rather than the traditional physical first approach. This allows businesses to leverage digital modes to connect, communicate and resolve customer problems. All customer experience touchpoints would be digital and seamless.

A digital first company would have the tools, skills, culture & operations to successfully operate in a digital environment. With this digital infrastructure in place, employees would be able to provide support in all digital channels remotely, collaborate and have access to data anytime, anywhere & via any device.

Why does your organisation need to be adopting the digital first mindset?

During COVID-19, we have had to learn, change & adapt to new and different ways of how we learn, work, socialise, shop, communicate and collaborate. All of this has started to happen virtually via tools like zoom, Microsoft teams, apps like house party & virtual events platforms like Spotme VX. With these changing behaviours and shift towards an online world, our reliance on digital tools, the power and efficiency of digital models has highlighted the new value chains and experiences that can be created virtually.

While it has been a tough year for most companies, the big four technology companies Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Apple have been thriving. Apple became the first 2 trillion-dollar company during the pandemic and Amazons’ profits & market share rose exponentially. As per Jim Caroll, a futurist and business trend leadership expert “With fast ideas comes faster innovation: 60% of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist 4 years ago. Expect that to become the norm in most industries as the future accelerates, product lifecycles collapse, and disruption disrupts.

How can companies become digital first?

Organisations must reassess every aspect of their business, guided by the voice of the customer, the defined strategy and an articulated vision. Capgemini offers a path to execute that reassessment, formulate a strategy and guide the digital transformation journey. These transformations will be bespoke across companies, influenced by their size, industry, digital maturity and capabilities. To successfully digitise businesses, some key components which support a successful and sustainable transformation include:

Business model:  Businesses must have “digital-at-the-core” as their business model, which is agile, data-led, asset-light and migrate from product-based model to a service-based model with a digital eco system.

When the travel industry was severely hit with lockdown measures, Airbnb’s travel experience offering had no incoming revenue. After listening to hosts, Airbnb quickly pivoted its physical in person experience model to a digital model with hosts providing experiences online such as cookery classes.

When lockdown forced restaurants to close their doors, the founders of pizza pilgrim thought of a quick way to pivot their business model to digital by selling pizza by post online. In the third day of sales they managed to sell 1100 kits in 50 mins and had the busiest trading hour in the history of Pizza Pilgrims, when all of their stores were closed.

Supply Chain: Organisations need to adapt their supply chain network moving away from globalised, low cost, just in time model to a localised, ethical and efficient model. Adopting agile approaches to handle logistics and fulfilment of online orders – such as adopting ‘drop shipping’ where the supplier directly fulfils the customer order.

Using “dark stores”retail outposts with a store-like layout whose sole purpose is to fulfil online orders – will also help enable faster delivery. The organic and health food supermarket chain Whole Foods is reported to have turned some of its physical store locations into ‘dark stores’, a location that only employees can enter to pick up goods and fulfil orders.

Decision Making: To respond quickly to the changing supply and demand across different geographies, business leaders must build operating models which are predictive, cyber resilient, real time and silo-free. Every transaction interaction should be enriched with supporting information on customer experience. This would allow automated artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics to help employees make informed, real-time decisions on customer sentiments. Capgemini Research Institute has published a report on the global customer sentiment within consumer products and retail industry which can help businesses drive operational resilience and help refocus on customer experience and engagement.

McDonalds, which was closed for months during the peak of the pandemic, is demonstrating how technology automation plans are being scaled up. The company’s aim, according to TechCrunch, is to create voice-activated drive-thrus that result in faster, simpler, and more accurate ordering. The ambition is eventually to have more personalised menu for customers based on the order history.

During lockdown, Netflix had reverted to lower-resolution streaming in some locations to ease the data load on information networks. While most people did not notice the difference in quality, the decision meant that the internet did not crash whilst working from home and when parents were relying on it to keep their children occupied, educated and entertained.

Reimagine, reform & rebound with fast commerce

It is now abundantly clear the Covid-19 pandemic and its socio-economic impacts will stretch far beyond 2020, with no sign of businesses returning to the old ways of working. Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation as the new business normal across enterprises. It is expected 48% of employees will likely work remotely at least part time post-COVID versus 30% pre-COVID. More than 25% of consumers currently use mobile devices for purchases at least once a week. In the mid-20th century, the average Fortune 500 company lasted 75 years. Today, that average is 15 years, thanks to technology disruption. Most of these trends will continue to grow in the future as we start leading a new normal life.

Capgemini is a Digital Transformation leader and has experience of helping companies re-think their strategy and re-engage with customers by adopting a new business normal. Leveraging our digital solutions in commerce including Fast commerce using SAP Upscale to deploy a B2C solution in 5 weeks and B2B solution using commerce cloud in nine weeks, businesses can shape their digital enabled business model. Capgemini can help businesses relaunch for the longer-term, where the  key will be to future proof the organization for a new post covid world. Connect with us to explore more about our related offer, visit our webpage Fast Commerce for SAP Customer Experience to get a product factsheet.



Manjunath Harish

CX Solution Architect, Customer Engagement Team at Capgemini.

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