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Pageantry Review – EDITORIAL: Miss Rwanda 2021 contest is a digitisation lesson for businesses

If there were any doubts about the necessity of digital transformation to business sustainability, the Covid-19 pandemic has silenced them.

Organisers of Miss Rwanda beauty pageant announced that this year’s contest will be streamed on YouTube, with viewers paying 3 USD (Rwf 3,000) to watch the finale, scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 20, 2021.

When it was revealed that this year’s context will have a digital component to it, the reactions were mixed, with many asking why not postpone the context until people are allowed to gather again.  The organisers disagreed and went ahead with their digital plans focusing on the positives and future.

By going digital, the contest will reach larger audiences, boost engagement, build community and grow their revenue and influence as well as exposure beyond Rwanda’s borders.

When the coronavirus spread across the globe, changes become instant. In Rwanda, shortly after the first case was reported, orders were issued to stay home, large gathering were banned, and in-person businesses were restricted.

One year down the road, some of the restrictions are still in place and so is the virus. As a result, schools, organisations and businesses figured out how to use technology to continue their operations, serve their customers and more importantly, remain in business.

Before the pandemic, talk of digitisation was rife among businesses and organisations. Some had already kicked-off implementation of their digital strategies and others had it within their priority plans. However, what covid-19 has done, is to expedite these plans. Companies have been forced to seek digital solutions and invest in digital to future-proof their businesses.

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, a New York-based management consulting firm, as of July 2020, globally about 55 percent of products and/or services are fully or partially digitized, compared to 35 percent in December 2019 and 28 percent in May 2018, both before the pandemic.

The survey titled “How Cocvid-19 Has Pushed Companies Over The Technology Tipping Point—And Transformed Business Forever.” was conducted on-line from July 7 to July 31, 2020.

Twilio, an American cloud communications platform also surveyed more than 2,500 company decision makers about digital transformation and the results indicated that digital transformation had been accelerated by up to six years within their organisations.

According to the study, 97% of executives said the pandemic sped up their digital transformation, 95% said they’re looking for new ways to engage customers and 79% said Covid-19 propelled them to increase budgets for digital transformation.

While many may have scoffed at the Miss Rwanda contest for going digital, many more will acknowledge that the adoption of digital strategies opens a new world of opportunities, irrespective of the field you operate in. And, the pandemic has only served to remind the laggards that, with very rare exception, operating digitally is the only way to stay competitive in this new business and economic environment.

Source – The New Times Rwanda – editor@newtimesrwanda.com
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