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Covid is accelerating digital transformation for many businesses

(Image credit: Image Credit: Chombosan / Shutterstock)

The outbreak of Covid-19 was the “digital accelerant” of the decade, according to a new report from Twilio, forcing businesses to change how they operate and communicate practically overnight.

Based on a poll of 2,500 enterprise decision-makers, the report claims digital communications strategies were accelerated by a global average of six years (5.3 for the UK). 

Previous innovation inhibitors were broken down, with executives forced to rubber stamp new initiatives and resistance to replacing legacy software evaporating.

Covid-19 also appears to have affected different industries to a differing extent. Tech companies saw the fastest digital transformation, followed by energy, healthcare, construction and retail businesses. The greatest acceleration in communication was perceived among construction and energy businesses (8.1 and 7.2 years respectively).

However, it’s not just about how businesses communicate – it’s also about how they operate. Almost all agree that remote work is here to stay, at least in some capacity, regardless of the industry. Omnichannel communication, the report concludes, is also “taking on new importance”, with many UK businesses “very likely” to expand into new channels.

“Over the last few months, we’ve seen years-long digital transformation roadmaps compressed into days and weeks in order to adapt to the new normal as a result of Covid-19. Our customers in nearly every industry have had to identify new ways to communicate with their customers and stakeholders – from patients, to students, to shoppers, and even employees – essentially overnight,” said Glenn Weinstein, Chief Customer Officer at Twilio.

“Cloud scale, speed, and agility are enabling organizations to innovate faster than ever. We believe the solutions being built today will be the standard for digital engagement in the future.”

“In the UK, we’ve observed how businesses have rapidly modernised in response to the pandemic,” said David Parry-Jones, Vice President, EMEA at Twilio.

“This has affected everything from the ways in which businesses talk to their customers, to how their workplaces function. We’re seeing how digital technologies are being used to completely reimagine the business landscape.  Communications technology is at the heart of this transition to a flexible remote working model for employees, and a seamless, digital customer experience for businesses at large.”