NetApp CEO: Coronavirus will create a new digital normal

Agility, speed and resilience will become paramount for businesses, says George Kurian

The coronavirus will create a new normal based on digital processes and accelerate business transformation, according to NetApp CEO George Kurian. 

Speaking at NetApp Insight, Kurian called the potential impact of the pandemic "shock momentum" and said the world will "reimagine and create new opportunities" for what comes after the crisis. 

Since March, businesses around the world have been forced to use remote software and quickly change their operations to accommodate employees in lockdown. For Kurian, this has separated the leaders in digital transformation from the "laggers".

"Many traditional businesses and ways of doing things will be reimagined digitally," Kurian said. "For example, conferences and events that once were physically held together will now be complemented with digital events. 

"The business strategy operations and technology platforms of every institution will be reconsidered for the fact that agility, speed and resilience will become paramount as opposed to the traditional definitions of strength: size, scale, predictability and efficiency."

Of course, digital transformation was a priority long before any mention of COVID-19, but the rapid impact of the pandemic will force every institution to prioritise services and products to be remote and digital, according to Kurian. 

"Schools will be complemented with much more significant online curriculum and telemedicine will bring the skills of doctors and nurses to places where medicine previously couldn't reach," he added.

The rapid scale of the crisis has accelerated the use of a number of technologies once thought to be the biggest disruptors to businesses and jobs. AI, automation and cloud computing have instead become tools that keep us connected to work as opposed to things to replace us. 

However, as the crisis dies down and the world goes out into the "new normal", more and more businesses will need to embrace digital technologies. According to Kurain, leaders will transition quickly from the idea of business continuity to business transformation.

"Everything will have to be about speed and agility because as we said before, speed is the new scale," he said. 

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