Digital business transformation and resilience: where do we stand?

Presented as essential to guarantee business continuity, competitiveness, and business growth, digital transformation has been a focus for businesses for several years.


As a result, we could suppose that this evolution of the organizations and their operating method is now widespread throughout the entire economic and institutional fabric, regardless of the country. But is this truly the case and isn’t there a mismatch between what has been said and reality?

Even though, in 2019, two-thirds of companies estimated to have made progress in this area, the answer to this thorny question now appears to be evident given the lockdown period we have just experienced. It should be noted that many businesses were not as ready as they said they were to switch into 100% digital mode overnight.

Indeed, this lockdown period was a real crash-test for the level of preparedness of companies and their capacity for cyber resilience. During our support operations, we saw that many IT infrastructures were sized to support no more than a third of their employees in telecommuting. A recent study by Malakoff-Humanis confirms this figure by stating that only 30% of private-sector employees were telecommuting in 2019. Unfortunately, this is nowhere near enough to ensure full business continuity in many sectors.


Evolve your organization to stay in business

During the lockdown, many businesses had to adapt in order to continue, sometimes with forced acceleration, relying heavily on digital technology through a massive increase in telecommuting capacity, replacement of physical events with virtual ones, training delivered as e-learning, consulting services or medical consultations carried out remotely, launching delivery services with online ordering for the sale of products and convenience foods, etc.

Companies that were able to initiate a real transformation in this area are now in the best position to limit the impact the crisis has on their business. Digital transformation is no longer just a performance and productivity issue; it is clearly a means of survival. In light of these facts, it seems clear that companies will have to consolidate or reinvent the foundations of a new organization where digital technology will play a central role.

Furthermore, digital technology’s new strategic position in ensuring the sustainability of companies and the continuity of public services also highlights the absolute need to provide for its protection. Now more than ever, cybersecurity must be a critical collective responsibility.


A top priority for sensitive industries

While digital transformation affects all stakeholders, it is even more crucial to ensure the proper functioning of critical and operational infrastructures, especially in the fields of energy, water management, defence, or health. In that regard, it is essential to build organizations that are resilient to all possible risks, including cyber risks, which pose a real threat, as illustrated among other things by the recent attacks on hospitals. Critical organizations must continue their digital transformation and secure their infrastructure to persist in carrying out their vital mission for millions of people.


Do not fall into oblivion

After the crisis, the main danger will be to think that we can return to our previous working methods and pretend that this exceptional situation could not happen again. The electroshock we experienced must help us to identify more precisely the gaps that digital technology can fill and the improvements it can make in regards to operational continuity, managing the customer relationship, internal and external communications, and value creation in offering products and services, but also for maintaining social connections when distance is the rule. Digital transformation projects and associated cybersecurity issues should no longer be seen as purely technical subjects but as a source of business resilience and an utmost priority for all top management.

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Just as we have done every year for the past three years, we have been interviewing companies and organisations, large, small and medium-sized, to find out more about their digital projects and security. So, has this year been just like every other year? Hardly, as you can imagine. 2020 has already been – and will remain – a remarkable year in every way. That’s why, in this third edition of the Digital Transformation Barometer, we’ll give a more detailed interpretation of the short- and medium-term effects of current events.