HomeBlogYear in review: 3 key lessons for post-pandemic success

Year in review: 3 key lessons for post-pandemic success

December 15, 2020 by Shiri Lemel

2020 was anything but business as usual. The onset of a once in a lifetime pandemic fundamentally changed the fabric of life for the global population, and placed an immense strain on the enterprise community. 


The reality of the pandemic forced businesses into survival mode, and for some, the myriad of challenges associated with lockdown have been insurmountable. Intermittent periods of closure over the course of the year have left many enterprises with no choice but to significantly scale back operations and adjust their business models. While some segments of the pharma and tech sectors are in a stronger position than pre-pandemic, the majority of businesses have been badly undercut by the crisis, particularly within the healthcare, manufacturing and retail industries.


Although progress on the vaccine front has generated a renewed sense of optimism for 2021,  the pandemic has left an indelible mark on the business landscape, and thriving in this new environment will require a deep phase of recalibration for enterprises. 


To get a sense of the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for businesses in 2021, let’s explore some of the more pronounced trends and lessons of 2020:


1. Digital transformation is a prerequisite for growth


Relentlessly successful companies like Amazon have, for some time, relied on agile digital growth strategies to drive revenue, scale operations and remain competitive. While in a league of their own, the examples set by industry giants can provide a playbook for success for the wider business community. The contours of business strategy have evolved significantly over the last 12 months, which means the parameters of innovation must be broadened to accommodate new solutions. Adopting a ‘digital first’ strategy is especially critical for the retail sector — hit hardest by the pandemic. It’s no surprise that Wix, a popular website development platform, has recently seen a massive surge in new accounts from small and medium-size businesses that are keen to bolster their online presence. 


The level of digital transformation will vary between businesses and sectors, but the common benefit will center around data empowerment. Digitizing a business can take many forms — it could involve the deployment of new technologies to enrich customer data, or leveraging tools powered by AI and machine learning software to gain new data insights — but the end goal is broadly similar: new value is generated from the data they’ve accrued. If harnessed properly, data can help inform strategic decisions, solve complex business problems and serve as a new monetization channel to increase revenue. 

digital-first growth strategy


Key takeaway: Establishing a digital-first growth strategy is of paramount importance. If you don’t leverage data for your company’s benefit, you will be left behind.


2. Data collaborations drive ROI


The momentum behind public-private data collaborations — a trend that McKinsey identified in 2019 — gained traction over the course of 2020. As countries around the world struggled to stem the spread of the virus, contact tracing data collaborations between leading tech companies and governments emerged as a highly effective way to “flatten the curve” during peak pandemic waves. As noted in this more recent McKinsey report, forming cross-organizational data ecosystems, irrespective of external variables, can introduce a powerful new paradigm for driving commercial growth and mitigating risk


While data collaborations have enormous potential to help generate new business value, companies must exercise caution when choosing a platform to facilitate such initiatives. In parallel to the many legitimate privacy concerns around using sensitive data in a multiparty environment, there can also be undesirable consequences. The Cambridge Analytica election scandal is a clear example of what can go wrong when one party loses control of how their data is used.     

cross-company collaborations

Key takeaway: Businesses that engage in cross-company collaborations will have a distinct advantage over competitors. However, the success and viability of such collaborations hinge on having robust safeguards in place to protect your sensitive data.


3. Regulators are ramping up efforts to enforce data privacy 


When the GDPR came into effect in 2018, it forced companies to reassess the way they handle personally identifiable information (PII) and other sensitive consumer data. This year, the privacy debate has intensified, mainly due to widely held concerns over the use of confidential health records during the pandemic. In the midst of the chaos, regulators worldwide have been resolute in their efforts to strengthen existing frameworks and establish new ones. Notable regulatory developments from 2020 include the enforcement of CCPA, the European Court of Justice’s ruling that invalidated the Privacy Shield, and recently approved amendments to CCPA that will require more stringent consumer data protections.  


The data privacy landscape is clearly evolving at a rapid rate. If things unfold according to Gartner’s forecast, ever-tightening regulatory controls will prompt over half of large organizations to adopt new privacy-enabled technologies by 2025. More specifically, Gartner predicts that solutions based on privacy-enhancing computation will be in high demand, especially for analytics use cases where data is used in an untrusted, multiparty (collaborative) environment.  

cross-organizational data ecosystems


Key takeaway: The value of establishing cross-organizational data ecosystems has never been higher, but failing to use platforms that can protect sensitive consumer information means your company is incurring high regulatory risk.


Tangible steps to future-proof your growth strategy


Charting a successful path forward in the post-COVID era will involve big-picture thinking, a willingness to address legacy issues, and a firm appreciation of the key trends that have been expedited by the pandemic. Enterprises that develop an acute understanding of the challenges and opportunities linked to a forced change of tact, will be able to navigate this uncharted territory with a greater degree of assurance and clarity. After a year defined by great uncertainty, 2021 can be the year of decisive action, informed decision making and the forging of sustainable growth trajectories for enterprises — if the three key takeaways listed here are absorbed.


By leaning on innovations in Privacy-Enhancing Technology, companies that are struggling to keep up with the above trends will have a clear framework for success. Using QEDIT, companies can immediately establish new revenue generating initiatives and enjoy new levels of data empowerment. Our privacy-enabled, regulatory-compliant platform is tailor made to help enterprises monetize their data assets and safely engage in cross-organizational collaborations to acquire business-critical data insights.


Trusted by industry and government, QEDIT is changing the game for enterprises who want to get more from their data assets in a regulatory-compliant setting. Market leaders from e-commerce, insurance and finance are already using QEDIT to generate new revenue streams, lower customer acquisition costs, fight fraud and mitigate financial crime risk. 


Contact us to learn more about how secure data collaborations can help your company gain a competitive edge in the post-COVID era, we’d love to hear from you!