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Digital Transformation to manage COVID-19 disruption

Jack Welch once said, “When the rate of change inside an institution becomes slower than the rate of change outside, the end is near”. The current business environment and business operations are undergoing rapid changes as a result of the current digital transformation (DT) technologies. With the integration of the Internet, blockchain, big data, AI, and related technologies, the changing dynamics of customer demand, and the disturbances stemming from COVID-19, business operations changes have become even problematic. For this reason, organizations are seriously exploring the opportunities that emerging DT technologies provide to enhance organizational agility and the flexibility needed to adapt to changing environments and to meet government and customer demands. Implementing DT technologies holds many benefits, such as improved transparency and accountability, better access to data, support for innovation, a responsive supply chain, improved government services, support for environmental initiatives, operational benefits, and the encouragement of participation.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) government, in particular, has placed DT at the center of its strategic goals. The UAE’s Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial economic strategies have strong themes surrounding DT, as they are focused on transitioning the UAE into a country based on knowledge, promoting innovation, investing in research and development (R&D), and embracing ground-breaking technologies. The World Economic Forum (WEF) ranked the UAE government as second in information, communication and technology (ICT) adoption and third in the government's responsiveness to change in 2020, underlining its agility . This motivated the WEF to collaborate with the Abu Dhabi Digital Authority and the Dubai Future Foundation, among other organizations, to quickly launch a blockchain toolkit to encounter the challenges arising from the global supply chain failures that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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