How Covid 19 Accelerated Digital Transformation
July 7, 2020
For director of Accenture, the impact of digital transformation goes far beyond the increase in the number of sales, and goes through sectors as different as health, retail and utilities.   When the pandemic hit, companies had to enter a phase of compulsory digital transformation, quickly enabling the home office and operations via digital channels. […]
Written by: Digibee

For director of Accenture, the impact of digital transformation goes far beyond the increase in the number of sales, and goes through sectors as different as health, retail and utilities.


When the pandemic hit, companies had to enter a phase of compulsory digital transformation, quickly enabling the home office and operations via digital channels. What, then, about the health sector, which needed to guarantee medical care despite numerous legal restrictions involving telemedicine and remote consultations?

Digital tools did not offer an alternative; they were the only option, and not just for institutions like hospitals and medical clinics. Public agencies also needed to find a way to use them, including in direct work to contain the pandemic.

In one of these initiatives, the São Paulo, Brazil State Department of Health realized, even in early March, that it would need a solution that would prevent people from going to hospitals as much as possible and, even so, remove doubts about the virus contamination. The project included digital screening and tele consultation, in which the person would access a portal and, after answering a series of questions, would know if their symptoms corresponded to covid 19 or not. Then, depending on the results, it would be directed to another platform to receive virtual care from a nurse.

Roberto Frossard, director of Accenture‘s emerging technologies and innovation team for Latin America, was responsible for the mission of delivering this project in record time. “Basically, we would close the system in three days and test it on Sunday so everything would be ready on Monday [when it would be announced by the government],” he recalls. “Imagine the amount of things that we had to move to make this happen.”

This amount of things involved, on the side of Roberto’s team, conducting interviews with doctors at Hospital das Clínicas to better understand which questions about symptoms should be in the system, and which paths could be mapped by the system. 128 combinations were generated that formed the algorithm responsible for guiding people on symptoms.

But in addition to technical feasibility, it was necessary to break paradigms. Roberto cites the approval of laws that allowed the use of telemedicine and also the change in mentality of doctors. “They had to realize that digital diagnosis is possible – and now it is also legalized,” he says.

Finally, there was concern that the system was safe from cyber attacks. Everything went well: tool ready on time, with all the necessary requirements. It is currently hosted on the portal and has been widely used by the population. And, as with the medical community, many minds had to open up to accept the inevitable changes that were to come.


Omnichannel and the rise of “phygital”

Health was just one of the sectors that rushed to break down the barriers between the physical and digital worlds, consolidating the move to a hybrid environment, the “phygital”. In this context, the benefits of omnichannel, previously seen only by those who actually bet on this transition – especially retail -, were wide open for any company or institution.

“Before the pandemic, the user was forced to use the channel that companies wanted, and his experience was simply not taken into account. Now, there is an understanding that he should be served on the channel that best suits him, ”says Vitor Sousa, co-founder and COO of Digibee. This is a very common trend, also, in the utilities sector, such as water, electricity and gas companies, reinforces the director of Accenture. “These companies have several means of assistance: physical agency, website, mobile … But everything converges in one channel.”

The second step of this movement, points out Vitor, is to realize that the importance is not in the channel where the request arrives. Whether it is a digital or physical service, the only demand is that this request be answered – whether in health, retail or any other service sector.

In the logic of the phygital world, the omnichannel becomes just a tool for the relationship with the user to occur in a centralized way. “Today, the center of everything is the consumer experience, whether it is served on an online portal, call center, chatbot, Whatsapp or SMS,” explains the founding partner of Digibee.

But Vitor warns that the acceleration towards the omnichannel does not mean a break with the old structure and the current processes. “It is a mistake to believe that established companies are going to throw away their systems, their legacy. Everything they produce revolves around that structure. Exchanging an ERP, for example, moves the entire company,” he points out.

The Steps Toward Digital Transformation

According to Digibee’s COO, digital transformation takes a few steps, and the first is to live with the company’s current legacy and start the transition from there. “People are not going to change overnight, so you need to build an architecture that will breathe life into the legacy, so that the company can get into new digital services in a way that its user has an appropriate experience.”

Using the Lego analogy, Vitor explains that it is necessary to build around monolithic systems, to take advantage of their data and start to develop these digital transformation services with new architectures, with microservices and genuine digital journeys. “If this bridge is not built, we will not move.”

Technology for the benefit of people

The pandemic forced a greater opening to technology, as well as helping many people to realize how much unnecessary bureaucracy permeates corporate processes. “People have found that they can make quick decisions. In short, you can make this transition safely,” sums up Vitor. The consequence of this new mentality, which is more dynamic and open to technological developments, directly and positively impacts the consumer experience. And this result, in turn, defines a project as successful or not.

The benefit reaches not only the consumer, nor is it reflected only in increased revenue. For those who work in the development of technology, the pleasure of carrying out activities that facilitate and improve people’s lives makes all the difference to the result. “When you put a challenge like this [like digital screening] to a team that works with purpose, everyone likes it a lot. In each project like this, I feel everyone’s engagement. So, it is much more than increasing sales. You realize that you can change the way things are done and bring real benefit to society,” concludes Vitor.

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