The Transition To A New Normal: About Connectivity and Digital | Part 1

Who knew that the year 2020 would take such a dramatic turn of events? From devastating bushfires and the Taal volcano eruption to the sudden passing of an NBA legend and, now, the aftershocks of the COVID-19 pandemic—to say that this year was eventful would be an understatement.


We are experiencing the most significant shifts in decades. Families physically separated. Our access to necessities limited. Even the economy is in question, making tomorrow uncertain. These are just the tip of the iceberg that the global health crisis brought.


But the next question should not be, "What is about to come?" Instead, we should start asking, "How do we build ourselves from here?"


Considering the developments and the new normal that has become our reality, businesses need to adapt to this digital age and prepare for a new breed of challenges. If 2020 made anything clear, it is that connectivity—the foundation of innovation—and the tools that result from it have become integral in our lives. The combination of a strong internet connection and digital solutions play a crucial role in helping businesses keep up, cope up, and transform for the better.


Building Interpersonal Relationships and Collaboration—No Matter the Distance

Since the outbreak started, business continuity has become a primary concern for all companies. As work from home policies pushed them to make do, the first thing most did was to integrate digital channels to communicate with employees and customers. This only propelled digital transformation plans that were already set by modern-day companies. The rest lagging behind quickly realized the benefits of making work environments more flexible.


For instance, digital tools such as G Suite and Microsoft 365, which support millions of users daily, have been handy in enabling team collaboration through real-time access, sharing, and editing of documents. Video and audio conferencing technologies, like Zoom and Amazon Chime, introduced new ways of meeting with colleagues, partners, and even clients. Virtual events in the form of live streams and webinars have become great alternatives to business gatherings and hotel seminars, addressing social distancing, which may carry on for the next few months.


A reimagined workplace is not all bad. Having a virtual workforce could potentially lower overhead costs, increase scalability, and decrease commute hours, allowing employees to spend more time with their families and boost their morale. 


Of course, nothing compares with the atmosphere created by being physically present at work. What connectivity and digital tools do for us is to encourage communication and productivity amidst what could have been a complete standstill period for everyone.


Supporting the Public and Responding to Emerging Needs

Global Web Index reports that 46% of surveyed respondents reveal that they worry their friends and families might catch the virus. 40% are concerned about the healthcare system not being able to cope with the COVID-19 cases. Another 46% are fixated on the economy, while around 33% are troubled by not having enough to live.


The pandemic has taken a toll on countries globally. But, it has also created an underlying theme for humanity: commitment to service. Beyond ensuring business continuity, many large organizations are encouraged if not expected to come up with creative solutions to adapt to volatile environments, afford financial security, and facilitate physical health for society at large. 


Even with a skeletal workforce and partial operations, companies can use connectivity and digital tools to implement omnichannel strategies, which seamlessly integrate multiple channels to interact with customers. Rather than just having brick and mortar stores, an omnichannel strategy can let companies engage, connect, and provide services through apps, online platforms, and devices.


Take the well-known grocery brand, Puregold, for instance. The company, together with Globe, developed an app that allows users to maximize mobile connectivity while shopping for essential goods. The app, known as SALLY (short for "shopper's ally"), lets customers scan the barcodes of grocery items through their phones and conveniently checkout online. This innovation eliminates the hassle of waiting in line, hence encouraging social distancing in public places. What makes the app even more convenient for shoppers is the option to pay through GCash for a cashless transaction. 


The likes of KonsultaMD have also been tremendous in addressing people's health concerns through medical advice, from the comfort of their own homes. In addition to toll-free hotlines, KonsultaMD—a platform that permits corporate employees 24/7 access to primary medical information through licensed physicians—hosts online "eKonsulta" sessions. The live webinar features a doctor who discusses various health topics on fighting COVID-19 and preventing common illnesses. This effort effectively lessens foot traffic within hospitals and health facilities to give way for those in critical condition.


With initiatives similar to these in place, connectivity and digital channels can limit the spread of the virus while still giving the public access to information and critical transactions, like grocery shopping, e-commerce, bill payments, prepaid loading, and cash remittances. Not only is safety ensured, but supply chains and the economy are kept running for the benefit of everyone.


Making Way for the New Normal

This long and heavy time reminds us of the value of digital transformation. It is no longer just about maximizing the power of internet connectivity, integrating digital technologies, and instituting an innovative culture to remain competitive. Digital transformation requires us to take a step back, reassess our priorities, consider its necessity, and revise our playbook.


More than surviving the crisis, we can take this opportunity to reclaim our narrative and accomplish what we, as organizations, can do—create value so that families and communities remain well, healthy, and safe.


Know more about connectivity and the importance of digital security in this transformative global crisis, in the 2nd part of this blog series.


Interested in learning more about our products and solutions? Arrange a consultation with a Globe Business Advisor today.


SOURCES:


Malig, Kaela. "JANUARY IN REVIEW: What Went Down in 2020 So Far." GMA News Online. GMA, February 1, 2020. www.gmanetwork.com/news/hashtag/content/724443/what-went-down-in-2020-so-far/story.


Glover, Rod. "​​​​​​​Expert Says Interconnectivity Is the Foundation of Innovation." Data Center News. Data Center News, May 4, 2019. datacenternews.asia/story/expert-says-interconnectivity-is-the-foundation-of-innovation.


"Advantages and Disadvantages of a Virtual Workforce." The Hartford. The Hartford, 2020. www.thehartford.com/business-insurance/strategy/virtual-workplace/advantages-disadvantages.


"GWI Coronavirus Research." Global Web Index, April 2020. 

www.globalwebindex.com/hubfs/1.%20Coronavirus%20Research%20PDFs/GWI%20coronavirus%20findings%20April%202020%20-%20Multi-Market%20Research%20(Release%205).pdf.


15 Examples of Brands With Brilliant Omni-Channel Experiences. HubSpot Blog, January 16, 2020.

blog.hubspot.com/service/omni-channel-experience.


"Globe Telecom and Puregold Introduce Grocery Shoppers to the New Scan-and-Pay App 'SALLY' ." INQUIRER.NET. INQUIRER.NET, February 4, 2020. business.inquirer.net/289736/globe-telecom-and-puregold-introduce-grocery-shoppers-to-the-new-scan-and-pay-app-sally.


"KonsultaMD Provides 30-Day Free Access to Medical Advice." Globe Newsroom. Globe Telecom, March 30, 2020. www.globe.com.ph/about-us/newsroom/partners/konsultamd-free-access-medical-advice.


"KonsultaMD Hosts Live Webinars on COVID-19, Mental Health, Etc." INQUIRER.NET. INQUIRER.NET, April 3, 2020. business.inquirer.net/294080/konsultamd-hosts-live-webinars-on-covid-19-mental-health-etc.


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