By Grant Phillips, CEO of fintech specialist e4

The Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked industry-wide havoc. The headwinds of which will continue to blow for years to come, leaving businesses in an almost permanent state of evolution and change. I believe that a dogged commitment to change execution is the only way businesses will survive in 2021.

Despite the negative impact of Covid-19, we have seen several unique responses to the extraordinary challenge it created. This has led to many new opportunities and with it, ingenuity and creativity across several sectors. Macro-economic responses like interest rate management, changes in consumer buying behaviour, reduced local and global mobility, and a worldwide shift to low or no touch engagement all have very different but marked impacts on many industries globally.

The realisation that the usual ways of operating are no longer fit for purpose has created a wealth of new opportunities and channels for diversification and differentiation. For business to embrace these opportunities, fundamental shifts in mindset and focus need to take place immediately.

While digital transformation and organisational resilience have been touted for several years, 2020 and Covid-19 made it evident that without a focused commitment to change execution, the view for 2021 and beyond will be bleak. Seeking out strategic partnerships and proprietary investment in new ways of engaging are critical to sustaining market relevance and long-term sustainability.

Broader collaboration between traditional service providers and innovation experts is yielding faster, more relevant change in much shorter sprints. These partnerships enable traditional players to focus on their core capabilities while co-piloting a genuine UX-focused evolution that only a few months ago felt too big, too expensive, and way out of the real sweet spot.

Necessity has ultimately become the mother of all re-invention. The shift has forced several businesses to realise that while digital transformation is a necessity, it needs to address improved UX and the change management associated with this approach.

We see demand for less friction in internal processes and systems due to the more virtual existence we are becoming familiar with now. This has led to low or no touch as non-negotiables for many interaction points. The client-driven agenda and an organisation’s ability to meet that expectation will be paramount as companies look to expose all the other innovative investment outputs to their chosen, often new, client base.

However, digital adoption, urgency around fit-for-purpose innovation, and persistence are not necessarily enough. The ability to succeed requires a constant focus on what is meaningful to clients while ensuring the business has a disciplined organisational culture – a culture comfortable with change and always ready to pivot in these unpredictable times. Becoming accustomed to change and addressing its needs head-on will win the day.