In the age of COVID-19, knowing what makes born-digital businesses unique matters more than ever

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Born-digital companies—those fast-growing fountains of innovation—have redefined industry after industry by smartly deploying digital technologies and data analytics. Armed with astonishing agility and accessibility to customers, these businesses have fueled economic growth around the globe. 

For these reasons, AlixPartners decided to learn more about these companies’ strengths and challenges, to gain insight into how they might sustain their success. We launched a born-digital study consisting of four components: (1) interviews with C-suite executives and board members from born-digital businesses, (2) an online survey of executives from born-digital and born-traditional companies (those arising from the pre-Internet economy), (3) analysis of thousands of client projects, and (4) secondary research (including analysis of publicly available data, industry reports, and media content).

Findings from our study confirmed that born-digital and born-traditional companies exhibit unique blends of strengths and challenges. For instance, born-digital businesses excel at agility, speed, customer access, and automation. However, many of them face difficulty scaling up their operations while managing risk and have immature governance processes. The turmoil we’ve seen from the global pandemic has made the challenges of the born-digital model more glaring for some companies.

By contrast, born-traditional companies boast mature governance and business processes, as well as operational and risk management expertise. Yet many are vulnerable to the pace of change driven by digital technologies and are saddled with legacy systems that slow key business processes such as product development that impeded their ability to pivot quickly during a crisis. 

For any company—regardless of origin—weaknesses inherent in its operating model can render it vulnerable during turbulent times. Born-digital companies will need to understand and address three challenges illuminated by our research findings to accelerate their recovery in the post-pandemic period.

Read more about these challenges and how to best handle them.


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