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We can all agree that COVID-19 created an unprecedented wake-up call, and organisations everywhere have had a very powerful and direct reminder of the importance of systems resilience, agility, adaptability and scalability. Now, as businesses look for ways to outmanoeuvre the uncertainty heightened by the pandemic, the focus has shifted to sustaining operations under severe disruption, flexing to address highly volatile customer demand, and managing vastly increased needs for remote network access.
Retailers are transforming their digital capabilities to attract new customers and stay competitive in a rapidly evolving industry. The global pandemic has shown us the importance of being able to quickly shift with changes in the environment, for example, enabling contactless payments, supporting a remote workforce, and pivoting to entirely new business models.
Internet access has come a long way from the R28,000 it cost for a 256kbps connection in 1995. Even prior to the lockdown, almost 500,000 homes and more than 114,000 business premises were connected to fibre according to FTTX Council research from the end of June 2019. Of course, having high-speed access does not necessarily solve all problems.
After working from home and collaborating at a distance, the importance of the workplace and all that it offers has become clear: An office is more than just a place to work and while some people have adapted to working from home (WFH), many people miss the office, perhaps even surprising themselves.
October marks International Cybersecurity Awareness Month which raises awareness around safety in cyber space as well as the need to upskill and treat cybercrime as a priority. Cyber attacks and disruptive events are on the rise, affecting 82% of organisations surveyed in the Technologies Global Data Protection Index 2020 Snapshot. These organisations included both public and private organisations.
Disruption taking place through isolated digital innovations are a thing of the past. Instead, a complete digital policyholder journey is becoming the expectation within insurance. This can be attributed to how innovation has become commonplace for a business to stay ahead of the curve.
Only by building risk intelligent organisations will leaders be able to overcome six distinct global threats that we have identified. Leaders at the highest levels of the private and public sectors must embrace an enterprise-wide culture of integrated risk management to secure their future.
Digitalisation was already a key theme in the growth strategies of financial services providers before the global COVID-19 pandemic struck. The need to innovate in response to shifting customer demands around engagement and experience, rising industry disruption from digital-native challenger banks or pivots from major digital-native businesses, and the need to respond to a dynamic regulatory environment has spurred digital transformation and entrenched an innovation agenda across the industry.
COVID-19 cannot take all the blame for the disruptions taking place in the global economy. The pandemic and resultant lockdown simply provided a conduit for highlighting the failings across industries in South Africa, whether that is healthcare, public transport, education, or others.
Up until a few years ago, digital transformation was not high on the agenda for most finance chiefs. Though they recognised that IT was important, most CFOs thought of digital as a technology play, a channel strategy or a customer experience concern.