By: Yves-Michel GABAY, Managing Director MEA, Gamned! 

Yves-Michel GABAY, Managing Director MEA at Gamned!

For the past 5 years the digital transformation was a subject of great interest in the region. But each time it was discussed the main output was: “Yes, it’s very important, but it’s not that urgent”.

The main preoccupation of the business leaders was to reactivate the growth and the profit they used to get during the past 20 years without making a lot of efforts.

And because of 2 main reasons this ineluctable change has been postponed

  • The weight of the habits and a very conservative mentality: “why changing what we used to do? it used to work, the slowing is coming from conjunctural issues not structural”
  • The amplitude of the worksite and its related cost.

And it’s true, changing a business model needs a strong long-term vision, imagination, courage, and a lot of money.

But by doing nothing (or few) the regional industry was at risk.

And suddenly the pandemic situation changed the rules of the game.

It was compulsory to change and to change fast.

So many things changed because of the lockdown: Travels were stopped, retail shops were closed, working from home and home delivery became the new norm, no more on site events, arts and cultural places were closed, etc…

And even when the lockdown ended (quite quickly in this part of the world), the sanitary restrictions limited the exchanges.

Luckily digital was here to help and replace most of the traditional way of doing.

It means all industries must rethink their organization and business model, embedding digital at the heart of the new model.

Before when brands considered Digital transformation, they were most often talking about Digital Marketing.

And suddenly they realized Digital Transformation is vaster than the marketing field.

Some brands succeeded: the already ready and the fast and agile changers, some survived, the ones which have been able to quickly re-invent themselves and other disappeared because unable to change their business models and they have been replaced by others offering the same service with another model.

Today almost 2 years after the first shock, we see many things are not fixed yet.

The good news is most of the companies and industries realize that by re-inventing their models they can reinitiate growth.

For some it’s almost easy: like retailers which just need to create a hybrid model where adding a digital leg to their physical store can help them to deploy a better geographical and target coverage.

Same for many other brands (clothes, fashion, cosmetic even luxury brands) which diversified their business channels.

For many corporate services like banking and insurances it could be even easier because the relationship can be easily dematerialized, but the regulations have to adapt fast to ease the process.

It will be more complicated for Hospitality, and corporate real estate business, because it will be difficult for us to replace the high value business flow, they use to get from business travel. 

The dark kitchen concept and the transformation of offices’ buildings in apartment are solutions which will help but won’t solve all the problems.

Hence Brands should continue to conduct regular Digital Capabilities Assessment, using models developed by Consultancy firms and Website’s analysts. 

This way they will know where the strong and weak points within their organization are and where they need to strengthen before developing the right strategy and continuing the change.

The main point fall under the leaders who need to embrace and lead the change, they need to adopt a long-term vision, and encourage new way of thinking within their companies, they need to dump the conservative spirit to discover uncharted (business) territories.

Because there is no point to generate a fantastic user experience or accurate leads at the best cost, if your Sale dept. is unable to follow up with the right CRM tracking tools, or because your e-commerce website is not able to treat all the demand because there is a glitch somewhere in your website conversion pathway, or if the delivery experience or the after-sales dept. can’t manage the demand.

This is where we are today in the region, with quite advanced companies which understood the challenges and other which are lagging. The pandemic has been a fabulous opportunity to accelerate the pace of the change. Now we have to continue at the same speed to be sure the digital transformation fully happens.