The nearly instantaneous economic recession triggered by COVID-19’s lockdown has inflicted havoc on businesses large and small.
We caught up with Operations Director, Roz Taylor, to hear her thoughts on the importance digital connectivity will have on our post-COVID world.
“Individuals and companies across sectors including food and drink, hospitality and retail have worked tirelessly to review and pivot business models to offer new services and - ultimately, to survive.
“But now these businesses are facing the next challenge - the new normal.
“For many this could mean different things: enabling remote workforces, adapting to changing customer behaviours, or even reviewing and changing planned strategies.
“One thing is certain, in the battle of COVID-19 digital connectivity is front and centre.
“In a number of short, fraught days, business operations were turned upside down across the North East. At Elevator, we mobilised our 16-strong team of Aberdeen City and shire Business Gateway advisers to hatch a plan which would support businesses to not only survive - but thrive.
“It was clear from the offset that digital connectivity in the changing environment was going to be crucial. For those who found themselves unsure of what approach to take, digital technologies helped – and could still help, provide a way forward.
“Connectivity makes everything possible. The reality of how businesses deal with this and prepare for the next steps tells the true story.
“Since mid-April we have seen a significant increase in enquiries for Business Gateway’s DigitalBoost 1-2-1 and workshop support programme.
“Aimed at helping Scottish SMEs capitalise on the ever-changing area of digital technology, the Scottish Government’s leading digital skills programme for businesses provides a range of 1-2-1 support, digital training and expert advice on topics covering social media, cyber resilience, data analytics, digital marketing and e-commerce.
Making a Connection
“Although we have seen a fairly large number of businesses embrace digitalisation due to the pandemic, we are starting to hear the question: ‘how do those in the more traditional, creative sector make that connection?’
“The creative industries, worth over £7billion to the Scottish economy, have been among the hardest hit sectors during this pandemic. Its sub-sectors include music, performing and visual arts, film and television, the post-production industry and publishing, audio production, gaming, advertising, the crafts and design economy, museums and architecture.
“At the start of July the government announced a £1.57billion care package to support the UK’s arts, culture and heritage industries. But, is this alone enough to support a sector which is so heavily dependent on the physical ability to sell in a room?
“Creativity is centred around finding alternative ways of doing things. At Elevator and Business Gateway we recognise this and in conjunction with North East Open Studios (NEOS) and Aberdeenshire Council we have worked collectively to support NEOS members in becoming more digitally connected; to ensure each individual and company has a strong digital presence, understanding of the digital landscape and is digitally connected.
“This investment at a local level, which the government’s funding will bolster, has help kick-start and support the North East’s long-term future for not just creative organisations but both current and emerging talent.
“The economic crisis triggered by the pandemic does not necessarily mean the end of entire industries or companies. It does highlight the accelerated need to embrace digital transformation and connectivity, filtering out businesses models that fail to embrace these technologies as they move towards the new reality.
“Working with over 2,000 businesses every year, we know that SMEs are agile in nature. We also know that for businesses to succeed they need to find the right route to market.
“But we fundamentally know that with our support, government funding and connecting with the right technologies and key players across the sectors individual ecosystems, businesses will survive COVID-19 and - in some cases, thrive.”Back to all blogs