In pre-confinement Spain, work was being done on the digitalization of our economic and social reality, but without pace. The apostles of the physical still found an echo to their arguments and more in a community where socialization is an essential part of the character.
In a few days we learned that pandemics can be repeated and that in times of confinement, live the bandwidth. That is why the process of digital transformation of this country is going to accelerate in such a way that the construction of a Spain 2.0 is going to be done at a speed that we would not have reached otherwise.
Teleworking is the first thing that companies and public administrations have to revaluate. Before the closure, remote working was seen as a way to facilitate the reconciliation between work and personal life. Today it is the best system for keeping the business going in the face of unforeseen events.
If you want to design a good remote work scheme, the most practical thing to do is to extend the obligation to implement contingency and business continuity plans as much as possible, even if you are not a critical company for society. When an organization undergoes this test, it quickly sees where the critical points and deficits are. It is time to abandon the laziness that comes with setting up these committees for things that never happen, because we can see that they do. We already know that the bus driver cannot telework or that a nuclear power plant cannot stop because the core melts down, but, beyond the obvious, there is a huge job to be done to precipitate change.
This is the case with our education system. The debate that is open about what to do with the 2019-20 school year is a consequence of the fact that the digitalisation of education is in its infancy at all levels, including business schools. We lack everything; educational material built in online language, which has nothing to do with a repository of documents to be printed, there is a lack of tools for teachers and students, and, above all, a lack of practice. You don’t go to bed analogue on Freedom Sunday and get up digital on Confinement Monday.
If the administrations and the schools had made a contingency plan, they would have mapped everything out. The teachers who deny the virtual and the students who don’t arrive due to lack of order, of internet connection, or both. It is easy to imagine a flat with two adults and one or two children, it is the most common, but how many of these homes have three or four computers so that everyone can telework and follow the classes? Each neighbourhood has its own reality, not to zoom in on the urban world and empty Spain.
The heads of the public education system, not to mention the judicial system and its files, must urgently contact their colleagues at the Tax Office, which as always and every April 1st has launched its income campaign, thanks to the fact that it is absolutely digitalized. Moreover, many other procedures of the dear taxpayer with the Administration operate on the platform built by the Treasury.
In the field of private enterprise the inequality is enormous. There are companies that have discovered bitterly that if they had prepared, that if they knew their clients better and could address them, they would not take four weeks with zero turnover. Do not cry, get to work now, because the critical point will not be that your company goes digital, it is the customer who has been diving into the networks for weeks and has lost sight of you.
What is working best in times of burrowing are those businesses that had embraced the digital, whether by force or by conviction. This is the case with banks and the media, two sectors in the midst of a digital transformation and which are operating from their homes, or telecoms. One day, the enormous value of the commitment that Telefónica made in its day to fiber optics to provide bandwidth will be recognized. That infrastructure is what makes it possible for everything else to work.
The telecoms, the energy companies or the banks and their means of payment are what make a peaceful enclosure possible. These and others add to what populism identifies with the demonized Ibex, which they avoid acknowledging for its contribution to the reconstruction of this country and which will be key in the new Spain 2.0.
PhD in Information Sciences and professor at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid.
He has devoted half his professional life to economic journalism (Expansión, Diario 16, Cinco Días and ABC) and the other half to communication at Banco Santander, where he was Director of Corporate Communication.