COVID-19 in the Numbers: Transformation Leadership Needed in Banking, Travel, and Higher Ed

Look in the mirror
Every business in every industry needs to look at itself in the mirror and decide who they want to be when they emerge from the COVID-19 lockdown. That is if they come out of it.

The world's changed. Every person, business, and institution is going to be looking at their own mirrors and deciding for themselves. And what are the key questions?

What's important? What's relevant? What do I need to excel at? And most importantly, what is no longer relevant.

As I look at different industries, some alarming data sticks out. These are all places technology, digital, and data leaders must develop a voice on to help steer their organizations. Quickly.

Mind you that I know life hasn't been easy for people, employees, and companies. The numbers of people sick and dying are staggering. The hardships people are facing are extraordinarily challenging.

I write this post in the spirit of looking a step ahead, not knowing how high and long many people will need to get there.

Last chance for Banks to Woo Digital Customers

COVID-19 White Paper
How many of you have interacted with your bank or financial institutions differently since the COVID-19 lockdown? If you are a small business owner like me, the answer is an undoubted yes, and for many of you, the experience was subpar at best.

I tweeted my banking frustrations and received some feedback from J.D. Power on their Financial Services COVID-19 Survey. Here are some interesting experience and technology bits from the survey:

  • 9-15% responded "website unavailable," and another 11% had trouble figuring out how to do something on the website when asked, which of the following have you recently experienced with a financial institution?
  • After COVID-19, 20% plan to do more mobile banking., 17% plan to do more banking online, and 6% will switch banks.
  • Approximately 20% received COVID communications from their bank that was not helpful.
  • Only 52% rate their mobile banking experience as very effective in meeting their needs.

Banks beware. Bank CIOs watch out. These are not flattering numbers. And many people have reached out to you over the last thirty days to delay payment on a loan, apply for a Paycheck Protection Plan loan, or other financial assistance. Some (many?) of your customers are out of patience with poor experiences and mediocre technologies. 

A Devastated Travel Industry Must Rebuild

We all know that the travel industry was decimated by COVID-19, but the numbers show just how deep of an abyss it must climb out from.

  • -95% change in passengers at New York airports compared with comparable days last year
  • 90,510 passengers screened nationwide by TSA on April 12. Compare this to the 2.4 million screened on the same day in 2019.
  • 16 daily flights from United at Newark airport compared with a slate of 400
  • -93.8% decline in airline tickets sold for future trips by travel agencies

Just thinking about where airlines have to begin to prove they can fly safely, gain the public's trust, and get their operations back up and running. 

Universities and Incoming High School Grads Face Tough Calls

I spoke with a handful of university CIOs over the last couple of weeks. University administrators are all working on their defensive transformation strategies and concerned whether they will be opening their doors in the Fall. This is particularly concerning as the class of 2020 high school grads still have decisions on if they will start in the Fall, and where they will go.

  • 20% of high school seniors say it is likely or highly likely they won't be going to college next term.
  • 24% of decided high school seniors say they may change their mind about the college they want to attend as a result of COVID-19
  • 63% of college students say online instruction is worse than the in-person instruction 

These numbers are problematic considering how expensive it is to go to university or to run university programs.

Takeaways: What should leaders be doing?

StarCIO Agile Planning
I look at these numbers across three different industries and conclude that a 'V' shaped recovery is highly unlikely. There are too many variables individuals and businesses will make about what they elect to pursue, when they will start getting back to 'normal', and who they will select as business partners. 

My recommendations:

StarCIO is here to help organizational leaders through transformation and digital ways of working. If you want to chat about this, please reach out to me

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About Isaac Sacolick

Isaac Sacolick is President of StarCIO, a technology leadership company that guides organizations on building digital transformation core competencies. He is the author of Digital Trailblazer and the Amazon bestseller Driving Digital and speaks about agile planning, devops, data science, product management, and other digital transformation best practices. Sacolick is a recognized top social CIO, a digital transformation influencer, and has over 900 articles published at InfoWorld,, his blog Social, Agile, and Transformation, and other sites. You can find him sharing new insights @NYIke on Twitter, his Driving Digital Standup YouTube channel, or during the Coffee with Digital Trailblazers.