Which of the new digital business habits we learned in the pandemic will stick, and which will slip away?  “We’ve seen two years of digital transformation in two months,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella.

But will our tech-driven advancements continue as we enter the “next normal,” or will we slide back into comfortable but less efficient ways of working, living, and playing?

Some say that many digital business practices will revert back to pre-pandemic conditions, like a stretched-out rubber band snapping back into place. Others may work their way through an alphabet’s worth of recovery shapes before the “next normal” begins to stabilize. As with the economy, we’ll need to wait and see whether we will experience a steep V, extended U, double-dip W, rebounded Z, flat L, or even M, N, or P recovery.

If you ask us, Current Asia predicts a digital business recovery of spikes and valleys, ups and downs: 18 months of alphabet soup and rubber bands. For now, all bets are off, but we think the trend will become apparent starting in January 2021.

The scale of economic value destruction in sectors such as retail, F&B, and hospitality has been huge. As for digital, many trends that existed before have been irreversibly accelerated and adopted: think of next-day delivery, digital payments, cloud-based technology, and the race to affordable 5G mobility.

Other trends such as doing all meetings via ZOOM/Webex meetings may well snap back towards or completely revert to pre-COVID levels. We expect a universal sigh of relief when people are once again able to have face-to-face meetings, fly to international conferences, and socialize with co-workers in the break room. 

The COVID-fuelled digital transformations that stick will be the ones that make the most sense for us as people, not as technologists. As the economy starts to recover, let’s hold that rubber band back and harness what we’ve learned during the pandemic to propel ourselves towards better ways of working digitally.