How did a year of pandemic impact businesses?

The first lockdown was announced a year ago – please read on to learn about its business benefits

It was exactly one year ago that Hungarian businesses faced the challenge of digitising their offline processes overnight. Despite having ample experience, Telenor also had to implement many new online solutions, initiate joint thinking and provide efficient support to business customers to maintain success. The top list of digital transformation needs included digital contracts, more mobile Internet and collaboration tools.

All industries and most business processes are affected and can be made more efficient by digitisation. The only question is how and when they are digitised using existing technologies or emerging future solutions still at an experimental stage. The first lockdown aiming to contain the spreading of coronavirus was announced in Hungary a year ago. Every company had to respond to the unexpected situation having major implications for their business.

Besides an over 30% increase in mobile internet traffic on its network, Telenor’s B2B segment also experienced a major increase in demand for mobile internet and online collaboration tools required for working from home, as well as electronic contracting and signature. Electronic contracting is COVID-safe, fast, efficient, and environmentally-friendly and it enables the creation of easy-to-search and -organize records. This is not a new solution (it has been available for more than 20 years), but a pandemic was needed to make it part of everyday business routine. Over the past year of coronavirus, Telenor moved its business customers to digital contracting. Today, more than 80% of contracts are signed digitally, and paper-based contracts are used only as an exception. Besides increasing virus safety and enhancing business efficiency, this move also allowed Telenor and its partners to save more than five tons of paper (a small forest) combined.

The use of digital contracts was formally authorized for Hungarian businesses more than 20 years ago. Since then, technology enhancements mainly focused on convenience and functionality. The real breakthrough came when the coronavirus-related lockdown was imposed in 2020. It was then that Telenor also decided to move to digital contracting with its partners.

“We have first-hand experience with the benefits of digital transformation and encourage our business customers to make the most of these benefits available without any major investment. We made digital contracting common practice to protect our colleagues and partners, but it will surely stay with us also in the post-COVID era”, said Gábor Fülöp, Business Sales and Marketing Director of Telenor Hungary.

Also on the top list: instantly available mobile internet services and online collaboration

Coronavirus-induced changes in the working culture resulted in an increased mobile internet traffic, especially in the first part of the lockdown imposed a year ago. Large enterprises and SMEs have generated higher demand in consumer mobile broadband internet access (mobile Wi-Fi solutions). Online collaboration tools (such as O365) were also deployed at a much faster pace than before.

“It was clear already when the first major restrictions were announced that the online solutions adopted by businesses are here to stay in the long run. We saw that digitally more mature businesses could better respond to the crisis. With the new lockdown, a lot more businesses are able to move to a digital working culture, as part of their daily routine that will help them not only survive but also get back to normal”, added Gábor Fülöp.