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The global pandemic has accelerated the world’s digital transformation. Businesses that were lagging behind have been forced to fast-track their efforts, faced with the choice of going digital or shutting up shop.
Amid lockdowns and restrictions, interaction between staff and their customers has become increasingly contactless, with it going completely virtual in many cases.
The health crisis has left millions of workers stuck at home, transforming a bedroom or living area into a new type of office. This has created an immediate challenge for many businesses in making sure their workforce has the right equipment, which in many cases includes a stable internet connection and secure access to the company’s intranet and workspaces, to be able to fulfil the requirements of their jobs.
The sudden shift to working from home and businesses going remote has seen many processes digitised, from staff meetings, presentations and customer interaction, to business travel and transactions that had until now traditionally been done on paper.
Recent research suggests that digitalisation is not only a prerequisite for businesses to survive during the COVID-19 crisis, but also necessary for them to recover from it more quickly. European companies have understood that these changes are here for the long haul, with 40% planning large investments in artificial intelligence and another 37% in cloud-based storage.
But going digital is a complex process. It requires careful thought and planning to ensure that it not only brings productivity and efficiency but also does not expose the business to new risks. Cyber-security, for instance, must be at the heart of designing and deploying digital infrastructures.
The current digital transformation also raises challenges when it comes to workplace equality and inclusion. Of those employed as ICT specialists in the EU in 2019, 82.1% were men compared 17.9% who were women, according to a recent survey. Addressing the gender, income and skills gaps in technology will be crucial in the post-COVID digital revolution.
What challenges does this fast-tracked digital transformation mean for businesses? For SMEs, where do the investment and know-how come from? How can global, digital divides be bridged so that nobody is left behind? What does it mean for accessibility, equality and the gender gap?
What kind of upskilling and training do workers require to thrive in a fully digitalised environment? What new opportunities does this all open up? And role do global governments and EU public institutions play in supporting this transition?
Euronews’ Disrupted Live debate will put these questions and more to some of the key thinkers and digital players in Europe. You can watch the debate live on this web page on May 18 at 4 pm CEST.
Have a burning question? Get in touch using the form below and our guests will be happy to answer during the debate.
Meet our panel
Malte Lohan, Director General of Orgalim, Europe’s Technology Industries
Malte LohanDirector General of Orgalim, Europe’s Technology Industries
Malte is the Director General of Orgalim, Europe’s Technology Industries, speaking for innovative companies spanning the mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and electronics, and metal technology branches.
Appointed to the position in January 2018, he previously held top positions at Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s leading brewer, and the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), among other roles.
Yves Bernaert, Senior Managing Director for Europe, Accenture Technology
Yves BernaertAccenture Technology Europe CEO
Yves is responsible for the company’s business in Europe, including system integration, application outsourcing, cloud infrastructure, platforms and ecosystem, as well as security.
Yves is also responsible for Accenture’s growing team of technology professionals across Europe, leveraging the breadth of Accenture’s technology services to deliver best-in-class business results.
Audrey Plonk, Head of Division, Digital Economy Policy, OECD
Audrey PlonkHead of Division, Digital Economy Policy, OECD
Audrey is Head of the Digital Economy Policy (DEP) Division of the Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In this role, she contributes to the development of evidence-based policies through multi-stakeholder processes to stimulate the growth of an accessible, innovative, open, inclusive and trustworthy digital economy for sustained prosperity and well-being.
Zuzana Sladkova, Policy Leader Fellow at School of Transnational Governance, EUI
Zuzana SladkovaPolicy Leader Fellow at School of Transnational Governance, EUI
As Policy Leader Fellow at School of Transnational Governance, EUI Zuzana focuses on the interlinkages between digitalisation, democracy and development cooperation.
She is an expert in development-related policies with over 10 years of experience actively working on policy and advocacy both on a national and Brussels level.
Most recently she led the engagement of the European development NGOs under CONCORD Europe with the EU institutions on the negotiations of the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027.
Damon Embling, Euronews
Damon EmblingEuronews moderator, broadcast journalist
Damon is a seasoned broadcast journalist, with more than 20 years of professional experience, gained in the UK, across Europe and globally.
At Euronews, he regularly produces and presents programmes, with a focus on business, travel and tourism, as well as technology. He also represents the media organisation as a moderator at major global trade events, including ITB, WTM, CES and ITU Telecom World.
During the pandemic, Damon has been producing and moderating a variety of virtual debates on topics ranging from health to nation branding.