Using digital identity to aid your business through the Coronavirus pandemic

March 20, 2020

Performing a PEST analysis is a common activity for all business models early on. PEST (Political, Economical, Social, Technical) looks at the external forces that are forcing a company to think of ways to overcome them in its business model. But what happens when a situation, such as the Coronavirus pandemic, activates all four simultaneously? Hopefully this short article will provide ways for your company to adapt with the help of digital identity solutions.

Political

Governments across the world are blocking borders, stopping gatherings, and putting legislation in place to slow down the spread of the virus. The welfare of the population is of course top priority. Economic aid will come, but the time it takes to be of benefit to companies is beyond immediate and possibly short term.

Economical

The political forces are immediately affecting companies economically. Less ability for customers to make use of services, which are closed or experience reduced customer flow.

Social

Customers are quite rightly staying at home indoors to help in reducing the spread.

Technical

The technically ability of companies to create vaccines is slow, both due to legislation and the inability for AI at this time to aid in the understanding of finding one.

Rethink your business model

Two key sections of the Business Model Canvas, the Customer Relationship and Distribution Channel are affected. 

Customer Relationship

The Customer Relationship defines what type of relationship a company has or would have with its customers. 

Relationship Coronavirus impact
Transactional   Can continue if no personal contact is needed.  
Long-term   Can continue if a company can adapt in the short and mid term to get there  
Personal assistance   Blocked or restricted  
Dedicated personal assistance   Blocked or restricted  
Self-service   Can continue if customer can perform remotely
Automated services   Can continue if no personal contact is needed  
Communities   Physical blocked or restricted. Online communities can continue.  
Co-creation   Can continue if creation is done remotely


So, businesses with customer relationships that are now blocked or restricted can brainstorm new ways to interact with customers in any of the other relationship types that are not impacted. For example, moving to remote or digital relationships.

Distribution Channel

These help move a company’s product or service to the customer. They are how a company reaches their customers. The two main ones are over the counter, or delivery/catered. Coronavirus impact here definitely affects the over the counter distribution. Delivery can continue to the customer remotely, if there is an ability to get the product physically to the customer (think logistics services). Catered can continue if a service provider is still operating and can perform.

Look at ways that distribution can be created. Maybe look at other inventory or services that could be offered quickly. They might not be the main product or service, but could be created to allow the company attempt to survive the short term.

Customers don’t need to meet to buy a product or service

If a company has a service that needs a customer to be at a location, it’s not going to happen. Hotels, transportation, leisure are examples. So, offer other services that might be possible, where the customer can purchase remotely. For example, offer buy now-pay later coupons once service returns to reduced or normal operation levels. Knowing that bookings are paid, and soon, at least makes the economical impact less, and brings future earnings to the company’s finances now, when it’s needed to survive.

Digital Identity

Any method that can identify an individual without having to be there in person could be classed as a digital one. The problem to overcome is that not all can be safe enough to prove the individual is who they claim to be. Some services have to be sure of that, some not.

At least though when a company is rethinking a new way to sell to customers remotely, will require some form of identification to “know your customer”. Even if the company has strong requirements to meet with the customer, digital identity solutions will give it an option to make a sale in these difficult times.

Every little helps as they say. A digital identity solution can definitely be a little help in a company’s repackaging of new offerings to get product or service to customers who no longer can meet in person.

Article Written by Jason Coombes, CIO at Zignsec
[email protected]

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