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Post Pandemic Business Relaunch

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide.  It presents an unprecedented challenge to public health.  The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating.  Ten of thousands enterprise face an existential threat.

The pandemic has dramatically increased the speed at which digital is changing and disrupting the business.  We saw how the food delivery business taking a share in restaurant business value added.  The meetings are conducted in virtual rooms, and the retailers with only physical store and without access to eCommerce lost out.

This is a unique moment for business to rethink the role of digital technology in service delivery to consumers.   This article views on possible business responses in these 3 areas and how business could relaunch to the new challenges.  The 3 areas are remote work, online marketplace and tele-healthcare.

Remote Work

The pro-longed COVID-19 pandemic has changed consumer behaviour, attitudes toward office work.   As non-essential, close-proximity jobs come under scrutiny by the employers, remote work will become a new normal.   The frequency of office visit will be reduced, and some will work away from office permanently.

Remote work has a big implication on future real estate management & business models.  Before the pandemic, there is already a glut of commercial office space in this city.  The pandemic has worsened the situation and challenged the current practices of long-term leases.  The businesses that have seen the employee productivity maintained or even increased will question why the expensive office space is required.   On the other hand, the increased safety measures to keep the office users safe and safe distancing arrangements have put cost pressure on the building operator and owner.   The pandemic will have a lasting impact on the commercial real-estate ROI.

The real-estate business must figure out what their post-pandemic offices will look like.  How to balance what appears to be a lasting shift toward remote work, with the advantages of the physical workplace.   And what is the role of digital technology in a ‘Real-Estate Business Rethink’ to bring back the tenants.  New operating and business models are required.

Secondly, remote work poses new challenges on team collaboration, customer engagement, employee performance issues, employee psychological issues etc.   Successful corporation will also leverage on collaboration tools and platform to reshape the teamwork and formulate new customer engagement strategy.  Indirectly, digitization of records – from phone conversations to customer engagements – will create new competitive edge for the business.

Thirdly, remote work will also attract pools of new talents who previously were not able to attend work at the office locations.

The pandemic has allowed to see our cities in a different light – without the choking traffic.  Remote work plus digital collaboration tools may remake our city environment and make our city more liveable.

Online Marketplace

The COVID-19 pandemic will be remembered as the acceleration of digital access to products and services in all domains.  During the pandemic, consumers have moved dramatically towards online channels.  There is a flourish of online fresh local produce marketplaces, delivering vegetables to your homes.  Post pandemic, the online marketplace is here to stay, and it does not mean that the physical store will disappear.  The new competitive space is how to deliver better, seamless online to offline customer experience.

The more profitable businesses make money on 24/7  basis, not restricted the operating hours of physical shops.  Business mindset has to change – from ‘my core products’ to ‘lifestyle services for my core community’ to widen the choice for my brand community.  The engagement with my customers must be 24/7, with the help of machines.  One of the tools to execute this strategy is online marketplace.

Online MarketPlace operation is not purely a digital technology adoption exercise.  It requires a new customer-centricity and increase in speed of operation.  It requires the organization to learn digital-subject-matter, encourage experimentation, and quick to react to new customer demand.   The challenge is helping the local micro SMEs to make their products and services online in sustainable manner.

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Connected Healthcare

The pandemic has exposed the deficiency of relying only hospital-based care. Many countries ran out of hospital beds for COVID patients.  Other patients are willing to delay healthcare if they do not feel the clinics and hospitals are safe.  The US consumes are adopting in-homes alternatives and shifting to online and omnichannel engagement.  These shifts could also happen here if there is a choice.  The healthcare ecosystem can facilitate the shift toward making care personal and convenient.  This could be the begin of tele-healthcare in this country.

The first half of 2020 saw a record US$5.4 billion in venture funds flowing in to digital-healthcare companies, with on-demand healthcare services as the top-funded value propositions.  The race is on to deliver healthcare to consumers to provide seamless and integrated physical and virtual care.

Generation-X is aging, and it requires more personalized healthcare solutions.  Old folk home is passé, and aging-in-place is the ‘in-thing’.  Healthcare can be delivered remotely to this group living on their own through wearable and connected devices.  In this model, the healthcare providers can attract any customer, anywhere.  Real-time data provides timely intervention to save life.

The healthcare sector has long been a laggard in digital adoption, but the pandemic delivered a massive jolt of urgency to embrace new tools and technology.  The establishment of such ecosystem would be an innovation for our digital city.  The healthcare big data may also help the digital city on the next disease prevention measures.

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Summary

The digital transformation for businesses in digital city is not limited to the above 3 areas. Every business will face with challenges on digitization of internal processes, digital disruption to current business model, and establishing new digital engagement with customers, partners & suppliers.

Successful digital city is not only about its infrastructure and sophistication of its system, but also the connectedness, liberty on choices, and participation of its community.

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