Corona pandemic winners and losers of digitization

Across the country, digitization has been carried out at a rapid pace in recent weeks in order to reconcile social contacts and social distancing. Or should one say better “made up for it”? For many, new opportunities have arisen to make up for what has been missed at short notice and without red tape.

In many companies, the budget for digitizing employees was quickly increased many times over. Home office and business messenger are the new buzzwords in companies in which modern forms of work were overwhelmed with an unclimatised open-plan office.

Digitization in companies

Especially companies with a lot of catching up to do had to quickly realize in the context of the corona crisis that pushing a laptop with VPN access into employees’ hands and moving it to their home office was not enough. In many companies, digital collaboration was practically non-existent. File exchange via drive releases and isolated solutions with various messengers and collaboration tools were commonplace.

At the same time, many providers and resellers have made it easy for late-entry companies with special offers and free entry-level months to make the switch immediately and thus take what is probably the last simple step on the winning streak.
Those companies that are not moving now will have missed the last chance. A subsequent jump on the ever accelerating digitalization train can only be accomplished with immense strength, effort and financial commitment. Or they resign themselves to being among the losers of digitization with immediate effect. These companies will then find it increasingly difficult to maintain successful business relationships with digitized partners.

From digital deniers to forced digitizers

In retail there is still a special type of company. Although they offer customers card payments, they limit them with minimum sales or even with the Girocard (formerly EC card). At times like these, when people are asked to make contactless payments using cards, many retailers have given up their resistance at short notice. Sentences like “card payment only from 10 euros” were hastily pasted over. The companies were happy that the customer had not ordered everything online from the next best mail order company. Even the baker on the corner recently equipped his counter with a card terminal. However, some retailers note that the restrictions will be reinstated immediately after the end of the corona pandemic. At this point, it should also be said that they should consider whether their resistance is still up to date. Especially customers who have become accustomed to contactless forms of payment – for example, using Apple Pay with a smartphone or watch – will increasingly choose the stores according to the payment methods offered.

Digitization against loneliness

Digitization does not bypass private life either. Older people in particular belong to the risk group of the corona crisis and were therefore increasingly isolated from their families. Here, messenger and video telephony services help to counteract loneliness and lack of closeness due to the sometimes unusual physical distance. The proportion of older people who have used a smartphone or tablet for the first time in the past few weeks will never have been so high.

If you don’t participate now, you will never do it

You can sum it up like this. Because even the last ones should now have realized that digitization will only progress. The gap between the digital losers and deniers and the digital natives has never before been as clear as in the current phase.

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