Skip to main content
Back to Webinars

Accelerating digital capabilities to recover from the COVID-19 crisis

The rapid migration to digital technologies driven by the pandemic is likely to continue. This McKinsey Live webinar covers the four elements of a digital agenda for recovery.

Three fundamental business changes brought on by COVID-19—new customer behavior and needs, unpredictable demand, and a huge spike in working remotely—have propelled a rapid migration to digital technologies in all industries and sectors. The speed of this change is unprecedented: for example, the penetration of e-commerce in the United States, previously forecast to reach 24 percent by 2024, moved from 17 percent to 33 percent in only two months.

Digital will be key to thriving during the economic recovery and the next normal that will follow. In this McKinsey Live webinar, senior partners Eric Lamarre and Kate Smaje outline a 90-day plan for accelerating an organization’s digital capabilities. The plan consists of these four concurrent efforts:

Refocus efforts for changing customer expectations. Many companies have already made quick changes in reaction to shifting customer demands. Advancing beyond the initial phase of digitization, however, requires a company to put its digital channels on par with, or ahead of, those of its competitors. Once the company has assessed its customers’ revised expectations, it needs to take a new look at its value chain and challenge every part of it. A reconceived value chain will release a surge of innovation likely to result in additional revenue and increase the sustainability of the company’s digital changes. To reduce the amount of friction involved in digital acceleration, companies can set up new distribution models, change the sales model, and rethink the customer safety experience.

Use AI and fresh data to improve business operations. Companies use models for planning, forecasting, and making important decisions. Many of the models in use before the pandemic are now out of whack. A company needs to identify the decision-support systems it can no longer rely on and build a data set that will aid the construction of new models for forecasting demand patterns, managing company assets, and optimizing business performance. More sophisticated models could also lead companies to automate lead generation and enhance their ability to handle much larger volumes.

Selectively modernize technology capabilities. By modernizing both its technology stack and its software delivery, a company can do more with less in a shorter time frame. A company must begin this effort by reassessing its IT cost structure and freeing up some resources to invest in hybrid architecture. While using its improved technology to automate processes and strengthen cybersecurity, the company must also expand its engineering talent. Talent building is a common roadblock to technology acceleration and also the most difficult process to address.

Speed up the organizational “drumbeat.” Velocity is the new killer app. First, company leadership needs to identify where in the organization greater velocity and reaction times would make the biggest difference. With new models deployed in those areas, the company can use agility and remote models to unleash new productivity. Overnight experiments with agile should be encouraged, to see what does and doesn’t work. Training people how to use the new tools and to work differently is essential to rewiring the organization for speed—and making it stick.

For more on this topic, please watch the webinar recording and read the McKinsey articles “The COVID-19 recovery will be digital: A plan for the first 90 days” and “The digital-led recovery from COVID-19: Five questions for CEOs.

Share your feedback and stay connected to the COVID Response Center

The contents of this site, including any statements, articles, graphics, charts, checklists, and other materials (“Content”) are for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice or constitute medical advice.