COVID-19 Crisis and the Need for Digital Transformation

  • Victor Fredung , CEO at Shufti Pro

  • 10.04.2020 11:30 am
  • COVID-19 , Digital transformation

COVID-19, the current global crisis is affecting individuals and businesses equally. Isolation and selective lockdown of the economy are helping in containing the pandemic, but it is leaving a lasting impact on businesses. Most of the businesses moved to abrupt remote work without prior planning, which is affecting their sales, employee retention, production, and marketing. Once this pandemic subsides businesses will face a plethora of changes.

Consumer behavior is changing, people prefer digital facilities and avoid public places. Statista found that home delivery increased 73% in a week in (February 24 to March 22) as compared to the same week in 2019. People are avoiding crowded superstores and prefer online shopping. 

Businesses that went into sudden remote work mode are having a hard time achieving their monetary goals and to fulfill the changing demands of the customers. The primary goal of businesses is to get along with the rapid changes in the market and to adopt necessary measures before it is too late.

But unfortunately, not every entity has the option to opt for remote work. Banks, healthcare institutions, NGOs, research institutions, airports, security agencies, etc. These entities are in dire need of introducing digital transformation in customer onboarding, security measures (such as KYC/AML screening), and financial operations.

Banks are thriving to stay afloat and to serve the customers well. Certain customer services could not be provided remotely for which they’re forced to open brick and mortar branches. New customers are scarce but older customers are making constant withdrawals, with businesses facing a decline in sales, the next big issue will be credit recovery. Airports are also delivering limited services because shutting down is not an option due to the high maintenance costs. The problems of both these industries are quite similar, both have high maintenance costs, customers are scarce and the need for digital transformation is inevitable to stay afloat.

The major issue is to change the services with the shift in consumer demands. Banks and airports both have stringent security needs but conventional means such as manual document checking and biometric fingerprint scanners are losing value for them. Because these security means are receiving a lot of criticism lately for exposing a lot of people to contagious diseases. Opting contact-less technologies for security clearance and KYC screening is much needed as timely measures will help in gaining stability after COVID-19. COVID-19 will leave a ripple effect on the economy and digital transformation will prove to be a boon for these industries. The use of contactless technologies will encourage consumers to overcome the fear of the virus and to resume their normal life.    

Hospitals and NGOs are serving humanity amidst this pandemic and many of them are lacking on basic resources such as masks, surgical suits, and ventilators. Not every country has enough resources to produce these goods on an emergency basis. Public and private sectors are working hand in hand to overcome this crisis. On the other hand, research institutions are working day and night to find a cure for this deadly disease. NGOs are hiring volunteers to provide relief services to the doorsteps so that people wouldn’t have to come out of their houses. Unfortunately, fraudsters are also out there ready to exploit the crisis. Most of the NGOs perform manual identity screening on their volunteers. But the risk of thieves disguised as volunteers is high. Digital identity screening of volunteers is important, but spending on this technology will be costly.

Considering the need for these institutions Shufti Pro recently launched a charity campaign named “Shuftify for humanity” and announced to donate 10 million free ID and face verifications to healthcare institutions and NGOs. We received a remarkable response within a week of the campaign launch and still, applications are flooding in. It’s because these entities are catering to people beyond their resource capability and hiring new reliable resources is inevitable. But they’re also aware of potential fraud risks. Proactive fraud prevention is necessary otherwise the governments will have another crisis in the form of frauds based on COVID-19 relief programs. Such frauds are already rising, the UK National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reported 509 cases to date with total losses amounting to £1.6 million. 

The virus will subside eventually leaving a longlasting impact. Proactive change management is a major concern, proper planning for the future crises (that might appear) and to opt for the necessary digital substitutes of conventional business operations is crucial. If we talk about transformation, a revolution in fraud prevention mechanisms is the need of the hour. Businesses are making hasty efforts to provide remote services to their customers which will have an impact on customer due diligence measures. Focusing on digitally transformed fraud prevention mechanisms is vital to prevent a surge of global frauds after the pandemic

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