New Normal: Impromptu of Digital Transformation

by Ossy Indra, Head of Corporate PR at GDP Venture

Lately, every Wednesday, I wake up with extreme stress because the day requires that my daughter take her online classes, with the first lesson being Mandarin. I cannot speak or read Mandarin. And with no aid from the teacher, I have to rely on another teacher named Google Translate.

In the middle of March, my office announced that its employees should work from home in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Not long after, the #DiRumahAja (JustStayHome) campaign further emphasized the urgency of staying at home. As a digital practitioner, I believe that I can survive without going out and by doing everything at home, shifting all of my offline activities to the online sphere. At first I started my days at home by shopping for my daily needs, such as toiletries, rice, fruits, vegetables and meats, as well as items I didn't really need but bought anyway just because I was so excited to shop online. I started to conduct e-meetings using Google Hangouts and Zoom. I exercised with my e-personal trainer that I downloaded on my Apple TV. Everything was so easy, in the beginning.

A few days after the new routine began, my children's school shifted to online classes at home. It was agreed that all assignments and learning materials would be uploaded on the school platform, but apparently not all parents understood how to use the platform and asked the teachers to post assignments in a WhatsApp group. Unfortunately, not every teacher is tech-savvy. Some use WhatsApp groups for chatting and forwarding messages, and they stumble when they're required to upload documents or videos. I found it difficult to conduct business as usual while at the same time painfully waiting for videos to appear in a WhatsApp group only to receive a YouTube link.

Alongside the online classes, my children are also required to attend online courses. Piano and ballet courses were delivered perfectly through Zoom, but due to some teachers in other courses being unfamiliar with online platforms, they asked me to pick up the assignments, saying they would check the answers after offline classes resume. Yes, I can assist my kids, but I'm not so sure about the quality of my skills in doing so.

Two weeks in, I started to encounter difficulties when buying groceries online as some vendors became overwhelmed with the sudden increase in orders. My friend offered a solution by providing a list of different vendors with similar items, but apparently they were not yet ready to go digital. They didn’t accept digital payments or bank transfers, making it difficult for them to continue running their business in this situation. 

Even now, there are big companies with websites that are not properly integrated with their sales platform. They rely solely on salespeople, but amid the pandemic no one can acquire their products since people are urged to work from home and the companies don't have any online platform. 

In this crisis, some have finally realized the importance of fully utilizing digital technology to support their daily routines and for companies to support their daily business.

My 75-year-old mom, who I forbid from leaving the house, was forced to utilize her smartphone. It is used not only for calling, texting and browsing, as I encouraged her to order food through Gojek's Go-Food and pay with Go-Pay. She can also consult with health physicians and buy medicines on medical platforms such as Halodoc for her knee problems. She has started paying bills through mobile banking and buys groceries from e-commerce apps, all with her smartphone.

I believe that within these weeks everyone will think differently about digital transformation and how it affects them personally or with business. After we pass this unfortunate event, going digital will already have been the new normal. 

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