Why the global pandemic led to an unprecedented acceleration of digitisation

As the pandemic unfolded last year and people were increasingly forced to stay at home, the demand for digital services and innovation seen in previous years, grew exponentially. Whether it was software to support an organisation’s move to remote working, increased demand for online sales, the rise of virtual events or fitness apps designed to help people exercise from home, 2020 was the year businesses had to take a digital first approach in order to survive.

A rocky road to recovery

While the future remains uncertain and the year ahead looks set to be impacted by continued disruption, businesses that have already invested in digital during the pandemic are perfectly positioned to protect revenue, and even grow. Some businesses discovered the hard way that they needed to act quickly to implement digital services in order to make up for dramatic declines in traditional areas of the business. But many were already making the right moves and the pandemic simply caused them to accelerate their client digitisation programmes to great effect including our client, David Lloyd Leisure.

David Lloyd Clubs @home launched

As David Lloyd was forced to close its clubs and suspend membership fees, we worked at pace with internal product teams to build David Lloyd Clubs @home: live and on-demand classes via its existing app, to keep members engaged. Uptake was exceptional, with class sizes increasing from pre-lockdown figures of ~20 to over 6,000, at the peak. We also built new e-commerce journeys to create additional income and an online membership registration system for contactless signups. New memberships through this channel have exceeded the target by 40%. As a result, David Lloyd Leisure has been able to weather the storm, and now has a larger and more digitally engaged member base from which it can grow.

Investment in ‘digital first’

At the Board level, digital has now become one of, if not the most important channel to support client engagement and revenue protection. This has accelerated a trend to divert larger proportions of growth budgets into digital programmes. In addition, capital investment and private equity companies are actively pursuing opportunities to invest more in companies which take a digital first approach, rather than just assessing digital as part of the due diligence mix.

Don’t get left behind

Digital is a critical component for business success and agility. Those that fail to invest in digital risk being left behind and will lose both new and existing customers to competition who have a better offering. It’s likely they’ll miss out on investment opportunities from private equity companies who are looking for digital first. They’ll also find it hard to compete for talent who have been snapped up by companies with more attractive digital propositions and who were quicker off the mark.

The good news is, it’s not too late to develop digital services if you act now and look to outsource to experts who can help you design, build and accelerate at pace. If you’d like to speak to Softwire about how we can work with you to accelerate digitisation email us at [email protected]