5 years in 8 weeks – how COVID presented challenges & opportunities to advance business digitally

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In the previous post we talked about how the sports media rights industry is behind the entertainment industry in terms of digital tool adoption. It was potentially less of an issue a couple years ago, however, COVID and its impacts which have been discussed at length – creating challenges for all business, ranging from retailers, airlines and restaurants to sports rights-holders – have arguably accelerated the need for sports to catch up. Let’s have a look at what benefits and opportunities this COVID-accelerated digitization can bring in the long-run. 

New digital reality

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of people were forced to work from home, creating an immediate challenge for many businesses – to provide secure system access to employees. The less visible and more complex transformation that resulted behind it was the sudden need to digitize processes, like paper-based contracts, manual workflows, not even talking about the challenge of finding alternatives to in-person meetings, business travel, and other events. 

What started as a crisis solution has now become the current trend, with significant implications for how organisations do business in the future. Of course, safety is the primary consideration for such a transition, but self-service and remote interactions have made it simpler for buyers to obtain information, place orders, and schedule service, and consumers have appreciated the speed and ease. Except in sectors where field-sales models have traditionally prevailed, such as pharmaceuticals and medical products. After this experience, only about 20% of B2B buyers said they look forward to returning to in-person sales.

Additionally, software applications have proven to increase sales by 29%, boost sales productivity by 34% and improve forecast accuracy by 42%, boost existing customer pleasure and renewals. 

According to Salesforce

Contract digitization is a key part

Look no further than financial institutions to find paper-heavy procedures, heavily dependent on file cabinets and traditional document management structures before COVID-19.

In many firms, the overwhelming quantity of contracts is enough of a cause to digitize the contract management process as it becomes clear at some point that the history of a partner’s relationship cannot be stored just in human memory.

In others, even without the big portfolio, poor contract management practises impact their bottom line too much. Overlooked fines, unmet commitments, lost income, lost contracts, concealed terms are all dangers associated with insufficient contract lifecycle management. 

That’s where contract management software came into the picture in the financial world, allowing institutions to cut expenses, manage ongoing loan portfolio analysis, save time, and provide superior customer service to fulfil clients’ current demands and maintain their business. According to McKinsey “Digital Before COVID-19”, enterprises believe that 80% of revenue growth would be dependent on digital services and processes. This happened way faster because of Covid-19 and its effects. The latest analysis shows that business use of digital technology has advanced five years in only eight weeks. It demonstrated how reliant we are on digital technology and how critical it is for businesses to use it to maintain agility and flexibility in the face of potential threats during pandemic.

By digitizing contract management enterprises were able to:

  • Make legally compliant contracts
  • Execute contracts way faster than ever before (e.g. by automatically nudging, routing and escalating the workflow process) 
  • Removing the ‘oops’ factor and human error
  • Interact and engage remotely with stakeholders in real-time
  • Increase the profitability of existing deals

Greater capacity to deal with change

Companies who have invested heavily in digital technology, whether its software or AI, have a greater and better position to deal with a crisis, since their capacity to change their business models quickly is considerably higher. Let’s look closer to one of the examples as e-commerce demand grew, several retailers were able to expand their online presence. Gyms were able to use their applications and social media to start live fitness courses for their members. Platforms for ridesharing and delivery have been able to spread their services to other industries and assist them in moving online. Banks are increasingly focused on internet banking and mobile banking apps, while the healthcare business is increasingly relying on web and mobile consultations. 

Recovery of revenue streams in any industry will be largely determined by digital transformation, and there are established best practices to assure success in this field. Organizations that already have digital transformation projects are likely to accelerate their plans even further.

Digital transformation with Content Arena

With exactly these challenges and opportunities in mind, albeit adapted for the sports industry, we have continued to develop Content Arena Manager during 2020.

Simply put, old-fashioned bureaucracy, with its overgrown excel sheets as its flagship, no longer fit the everchanging media rights landscape. Our Content Arena Manager offers sports rights-holders a collaborative environment through which they can quickly enter, manage, and retrieve data, allowing them to access crucial analytics that can drive their business decisions in real-time, making informed choices, thus unleashing the hidden market potential. In addition, with the Content Arena Marketplace, rights-holders are able to create 365-7-24 exposure for their available rights catalogues in an innovative way. Overall, the entire commercial and legal processes can be easily streamlined with the assistance of Content Arena, saving resources in money and time, as well as improving employee satisfaction and productivity as menial sales administration activities are automated. 

All of these examples above came from different industries, yet they all have the same solution. Companies that are keen to adopt digital processes are long-term oriented and using the right software and technology will only grow in importance. As such, it is crucial that rights-holders in the sports media rights space adopt a more digital new-normal approach to the way they conduct business and prioritize this investment now – to safeguard against potential risks, reap these new opportunities.

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