Pandemic driving island digital transformation
Covid-19 has been a major driver of digital transformation for Bermuda businesses, according to a new Digicel Business research study.
The survey of 140 Bermuda business owners found that Bermuda’s digital transformation had been accelerated the most by the pandemic (93 per cent), compared to seven Caribbean islands also studied.
Digital transformation was done by moving to remote work, increasing their demand for mobile service and upgrading their cybersecurity, among other things.
In Jamaica, 85 per cent of business owners said the pandemic had accelerated their digital transformation and in the Cayman Islands 77 per cent.
The Royal Gazette recently spoke with Taheera Lovell, CEO of the TLC Group to bring some clarity to the figures.
Her company helps businesses in Bermuda, the Caribbean and the UK with implementing a culture of data privacy and security by design and default, digital transformation management, and data protection professional development training.
“Based solely on the report, in the case of Barbados and Jamaica, the percentage of organisations who had a digital strategy in place (52 per cent and 55 per cent respectively), was much lower than Bermuda's figure of 65 per cent,” Ms Lovell said.
“It stands to reason that their digital transformation acceleration percentage might be lower because the organisations do not yet have a strategy in place.”
She said the Cayman Islands had a higher percentage of organisations with a strategy in progress than Bermuda, 76 per cent, but they also had a significant percentage of organisations who were concerned about the ability to execute their strategy; 52 per cent versus 37 per cent in Bermuda.
“In this case, the lower percentage of digital transformation acceleration could be due to the progression of their digital transformation projects happening at a much slower pace,” Ms Lovell said.
“Out of the four regions highlighted, Barbados is rapidly advancing their digital landscape at a national level as they had already begun major digital transformation projects within government pre-pandemic and there seems to be a real commitment to delivering on their initiatives.”
But she said there is still much work to be done within their private sector to prioritise digital transformation as a driver for revenue growth and additional sales channels.
“In Bermuda, the private sector appears to be leading the way when it comes to digital transformation, which is not surprising considering business continuity and revenue driven innovation are major priorities for international business; which then pushes those priorities down to all of the satellite organisations that facilitate and support operations on island,” Ms Lovell said.
In the survey, Bermuda business owners said their biggest impediments to digital transformation were too many competing priorities (14 per cent), and insufficient technical skill (13 per cent).
Commenting on this, Ms Lovell said digital transformation is a whole organisation effort, requiring not just technical expertise but also a forward thinking mindset and creative skills development across the workforce.
She said digital transformation projects that focus solely on technical aspects, do not achieve the desired outcome or impacts.
“Business owners, leaders and managers who are looking to transform their organisation with digital processes and innovations should look across their organisation or business units for digital champions to gain buy-in and support for digital, from the ground up,” Ms Lovell said.
She was encouraged by the fact that almost half of those surveyed said they were considering training.
“Organisations who invest in their people, along with technology, can produce amazing outcomes,” she said.
“As a future thinking technology firm with human sustainability as one of our core values, TLC encourages more organisations to not view digital transformation as a threat but as an opportunity to reach their organisational goals.”