Coronavirus survival: Is Digitalization the key?


Written by Amna

April 07, 2020 | 7 min read

Twenty years into this century, and it's rapidly dawning over us that nothing is more important for a business than digitalization to survive today’s world. As more than half of the world's population goes into lockdown amid a pandemic, “digitally lazy” companies are being forced to step up their digital game to survive. Before discussing why digitalization is key in today’s world, lets list out some shifts that the markets have taken in general. 

  • Most companies are operating remotely to keep running. While some tech companies already had the procedures in place to run with remote employees, most companies have to now make a shift to using tools for video conferencing, document sharing, cloud solutions, or information security. Companies across all industries need to use digital technologies to remain operational. However, it is essential to keep efficiency levels up when the whole team works from home, here’s how you can do that.
  • Consumers are now buying online. The e-commerce industry has seen a surge, especially for e-grocery, food delivery networks and fitness equipment. Read here what opportunities and challenges are faced by the E-commerce industry.

Source: Stackline’s news and insights

  • HealthTech, FinTech, EdTech, LegalTech and basically EverythingTech is able to deliver value where traditional industries can not. Therefore, investment trends are changing rapidly as investors want a breakthrough in this innovative set of industries. Artificial intelligence, Blockchain, Machine Learning etc. were already revolutionising industries, the transformation has definitely paced up with the current crisis. Here’s an insight on what startups should do to stay afloat in the current economic crisis.
  • Businesses that require physical closeness such as hotels, big-box stores, car dealerships, traditional retail and grocery stores are suffering as the stakes for digital transformation have increased dramatically. Even with a digital operating core, not all businesses can be virtualized to the same extent. An example is the extremely data centric Uber which leverages from huge communities performing traditional work to fulfill operating needs. These businesses rapidly need to consider a strategic product shift to keep up. 

Why digitalization is key to survive this crisis and even after?

Digitalization is no more about increasing efficiency and performance. It is now a requirement to keep the business running. Coronavirus is guaranteed to make permanent changes to the world we know as normal. Any business that will choose to not ‘pivot’ and wait for the storm to die out would be making the mistake of becoming redundant. Buying habits of consumers and the way companies do business would be changed forever from here onwards. 

At Thorgate we develop products in the following industries mostly, and these are the needs of each industry as we see changes in end-user behaviour and core features of the products we develop:

Grocery, Retail and Shopping

The future of this industry is merging into E-commerce. At Thorgate we have worked with many companies helping them with digital transformation by building large and complex platforms which help businesses sell their products online. As E-commerce is increasing in popularity more platforms require revamping to create a better UX to drive conversions, stronger back-end solutions and secure systems. 

One of our large E-commerce projects was eCoop. Our client Coop is the largest Estonian grocery retailer with more than 400 shops around the country. The client needed a convenient and modern platform to provide customers with the option of ordering food directly to their door. We designed and developed the end-user interface for customers as well as backend logistics for the shops. Read details of this project here. We helped Coop place 14000 products online immediately. We also helped Coop integrate with online banks for fast payment and local delivery networks for fast delivery.  In the current crisis this gives a lot of edge to Coop that is able to replace its traditional store sales with e-Grocery helping the business thrive. 

However, e-Grocery is not the only thing that is thriving. We’ve also built other online shops such as Novastar which provides online shopping for electronics. As more people are working from home the demand for products such as office supplies, computer hardware and similar appliances has increased. This is part of Novastar’s product range too. 

We’ve learnt from our experience of building online shops that not only during this crisis, but also before this has helped businesses drive a lot more sales. Traditional retail, grocery, electronics and other stores now need to create online shops to make their products easily accessible for home-bound customers. Current E-commerce owners need to scale up to fulfill the increasing demand, as well as have platforms with better UX as competition increases when SMEs and other traditional companies start selling online. It is also important to have a robust website that can handle the big influx of users, and this is something we help our clients with. 


Another industry where we’ve built a number of products is healthcare, or as our products are innovative: Healthtech. We built TXP chat where we helped our client create a secure mobile messaging application uniquely designed for the decentralised and complex communication inherent in organ referrals, offerings, allocation, procurement and transplantation. Similarly, we helped HealX build the most efficient AI platform for rare diseases. Other projects of ours include ODI Medical and Nordic Braintech

We have been building superior products for digital transformation of the healthcare industry since before the crisis, however, the demand for the products is more than ever. The world is coming to a fast realisation that healthcare requires more attention and investment by governments than before. Our healthtech products help make the healthcare industry more efficient. 

Soon, it won’t be too surprising to expect startups with products that help combat pandemics, and screen people at airports to stop global spread. With this new focus on efficient health technology emphasising on prevention instead of cure, and a spike in use of telemedicine platforms, we are sure that this is also an industry which will soon be at the forefront of innovation and digitalization. 

Besides innovative solutions to make the healthcare industry more efficient in the future, these products need strong product development to fulfill the crucial requirements of this field. This is where product development partners such as Thorgate come in the play as we understand the industry and have experience building products for it.

Financial Sector

Coronavirus has driven a 72% increase in use of Fintech apps. Contactless payments, branchless banking and other innovative digital banking solutions have been around for a while now. However, currently there’s a need for apps and solutions that can help consumers make payments online without much hassle, keep bank visits to the minimal and integrate with other apps such E-shops to help users use banking services seamlessly. 

We already noticed the increase in ‘ease-of-use’ for end users when we built Fintech projects before the crisis. We are sure that in the current climate the need for this will only increase. One of our projects was CleanCapital. CleanCapital allows accredited individuals to invest in secure and diversified clean energy projects. Investors can monitor investments in real-time using their seamless online platform that Thorgate has built for them.


Coronavirus will force manufacturers to enhance automation and digitalization for long-term operations to reduce the financial impact from epidemics and other potential economic challenges. At Thorgate we are already helping Manufacturing companies automate and digitize into Industry 4.0. One of our projects is Krah Pipes for which we built a software to help optimize their scheduling and logistics and automate their quality control systems. Thorgate helped Krah Pipes save hundreds of hours of manual labour

In the manufacturing industry, COVID-19 may have a far-reaching impact on the capacity layout and supply chain network of many enterprises. Multinational enterprises in particular will further improve their disaster emergency mechanisms and supply chain management. In the long run, the establishment of information chains will further enhance the resilience of supply networks. Key information about materials, logistics, inventory, production and capital in the supply chain can easily be grasped, analyzed and shared to improve overall supply chain management. At the same time, market demand should now be tracked and predicted more dynamically, and production rhythms be adjusted accordingly. All this needs to be part of an essential digitalization in the manufacturing industry.

Other Industries

We do work with some other industries at Thorgate. See more of what we do as a product development company in different industries here, and some of our previous case studies here. We have been in the business of digital transformations in traditional industries for the last 10 years. Experience and analysis of trends have taught us that the need for digitalization was inevitable. Coronavirus and the current economic crisis has just brought the business world to its destiny faster. ‘Digitally-lazy’ businesses have become redundant overnight and companies equipped with the right tools have seen opportunity in this crisis. 

No matter what, as mentioned before, the changes that this crisis is bringing to our world are permanent. It is high-time for businesses to pivot and seek help to pursue a digital transformation making their businesses go live as soon as possible. 

If you are looking for consulting or a partner to help you create a digital product, please email me at

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COVID-19: Improving your remote team's efficiency

Coronavirus: the economic downturn & startup world