Digital Transformation for Businesses: Adapt or Die! Reflections on How to Rethink Your Business in the Digital Transformation Context

Digital Transformation for Businesses: Adapt or Die! Reflections on How to Rethink Your Business in the Digital Transformation Context

Bruno de Lacerda, George Leal Jamil
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-4201-9.ch015
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Digital transformation landed on organizational daily lives, whether businesspeople understand it or not. Adaptations and flexibility became strategic principles, along with new ways to comprehend how technology can really position a competitive advantage. Examining some open reflections and based on experiences, the authors of this chapter elaborate some scenarios, questions, and problems, which will motivate the reader on evaluating the actual turbulent context and understand precisely the achievements of their decisions regarding technology and novelty management contexts.
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Introduction - Motivation

As a matter of fact, the world was already showing us smooth signs of changes. We were all following our routines, concerned with daily life. Some scholars of trends, behavior, scenarios, and Foresight (discipline that studies future contexts through methodologies) presented us with situations of potential changes in the world.

The futurist Alvin Toffler (1980) shown, in his unforgettable The Third Wave in his exquisite and timeless approach, described the evolution of human society, from the predominance of agricultural activities, through the industrial phase, to the post-industrial era where we reached the information age, characterized by the “informational overload”, an expression coined by him to indicate the excess of information produced and presented to any human being.

It turns out that we have a primitive brain living in a modern, post-digital world. The 4.0 world is no longer digital. We live in an era in which digital is ubiquitous, that is, it is present in all places and moments of our life. There is no more room to dissociate offline from online.

To our reader, we present a question: Do you know why few people can perceive and understand such signs of change in the world? Well, 98% of human history was built during the Agricultural Revolution, and only 2% in the various Industrial Revolutions we witnessed so far. Now, we are, by the way, in the 4th Industrial Revolution.

This data of our (re) evolution as a society corroborates our statement: We have a primitive brain living in a modern world! It took us decades to process changes. That is why there are geniuses who break the status quo, and think 20, 30 years ahead of their time. They are people who have an exponential view of the world and business, breaking the standards of linear thinking.

And what happened – until then – in these months of the world pandemic? Has the future been anticipated? COVID-19 was surely a future accelerator.

According to Brazilian Biologist Átila Iamarino, “Our lives are going to change a lot from now on, and someone who tries to maintain the 2019 status quo, has not yet accepted this new reality. Changes that the world would see decades to occur, which would take a long time to implement voluntarily, now have to be implemented in fright, in a matter of months.”

We agree with this statement! Watching the Home Office trend: In Brazil, studies indicated that this type of remote work would only become a reality in the year 2030. Now, it is already a reality for countless companies. Several firms are just planning to make home office official among their collaborators, and, thus, make remote work a reality already in 2020, maybe without careful planning, but becoming a real decision.

Brazil, as a creative country, but not a leader in technology application and acceptance, present some facts which must be considered. After years of negotiation, and following a similar process held by Amazon in United States, the company Ifood – of food delivery using an Internet-based “app” – a leader in this sector in Latin America, received authorization from the National Civil Aviation Agency, for product deliveries via drones, even if it is on an experimental basis. It is certainly a milestone in the delivery market in Brazil. Interesting to think that Brazil shows an immense and challenging territory, which can serve as a good base for automated deliveries like it is proposed by Ifood drones.

As Covid-19 imposed severe restrictions on mobility and, consequently, for shopping, entrepreneurs had to adopt e-commerce and online stores solutions, resulting in an expressive growth for these solutions. Companies were forced to sell online as the only competitive survival, implementing this change, redesigning their business models completely in a matter of weeks.

This caused the Argentine e-commerce company Mercado Livre to surpass, on August 6, 2020, the Brazilian mining company Vale, and the also Brazilian oil company Petrobras, as the most valuable company in Latin America. Publicly traded on the American Nasdaq stock exchange, this Argentine company was one of the big winners in the second quarter, with its shares appreciating 101.8% between April and June. That left it only behind Tesla, which jumped 106.1%, among the 100 companies that are part of the technology index.

With the social distance imposed and adopted by customers, digital channels and platforms have become the only path to be followed. What was being procrastinated for the next few years, was suddenly anticipated, by the pound, overnight, without even time to plan and structure. A sarcastic dialogue was published in various Internet contexts, affirming that the pandemic was the main reason for digital transformation projects to be adopted!

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