Information technology companies emerged as the biggest beneficiary of the new wave of digital transformation, with the pandemic acting as a catalyst for organizations across sectors to fast-track adoption of digital and cloud-led technologies to survive in the new normal.
Much of this digital innovation in emerging technologies, such as cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), analytics and big data, which saw unprecedented demand, is not likely to reverse even in a post-pandemic world. IT firms leveraged this digital boost, helping clients stay afloat following the coronavirus outbreak with technology solutions to operate remotely and efficiently.
Covid-19 And Digitalisation
The COVID-19 pandemic changed numerous aspects of how we live but it profoundly changed how many people worked, forcing millions to work from home. It also put a spotlight on corporate technology and whether companies could still operate productively and efficiently with many of their staff working at home.
There was a fast adoption of home working technologies such as Zoom, a popular video conferencing platform which reported a daily rise in meeting participants from 10 million in December 2019 to 300 million by March 2020. And Microsoft Teams has more than tripled the number of daily active users since late 2019.
While employee health and safety rightly remain the top priority, digital leaders also need to consider carefully the continuity, scale and scope of their digital operations in these new and unfamiliar trading conditions. Inevitably, as they struggle with business plans in a constant state of flux, investment in digitalisation projects will be way down their list of priorities.
Opportunity To Transform To The ‘New Normal’
As Covid-19 pressurises the global supply chains of companies will increasingly start to build resilience in their businesses by complementing product-focused models with scalable and stable digital alternatives. This might include businesses diversifying from their core offer to sell data and AI assets to third parties. Supermarkets ensure adequate stock of products in their warehouses and to promote real-time availability of their products in grocery stores.
Due to self-isolation, consumers who normally visit physical stores are increasingly shopping online with the result that e-commerce is booming especially when it comes to tinned goods, pasta, health and sanitary products.
What’s more, as staying in becomes the new going out, instead of visits to concerts, museums and events, consumers are seeking equivalent AR and VR experiences, which can be enjoyed safely while sitting on the sofa. Hand-in-hand with this, we are already seeing growing demand for digital media and entertainment including social media, gaming, news, video streaming and books as people seek to relieve boredom and fill the time previously taken up with travelling and socialising face-to-face.
As businesses work to simultaneously secure loyalty and revenue, technologies that facilitate experiences that drive stickier relationships and competitive differentiation are likely to rise to the top of that deck. We expect innovations in cloud infrastructure, application architecture, and AI and machine learning will serve as catalysts for these digital transformations that deliver new experiences centered on convenience, context and control.
Companies to make data-driven decisions on how best to adapt and retain customers. Businesses need to capture and unify disparate sources of consumer data, and effectively contextualize and operationalize information to push critical insights across channels and stakeholder groups that shape the customer journey. In 2021 business leaders will pursue a reconstituted set of IT stack initiatives heavily embossed by the black swan that was 2020. If there was a silver lining to 2020, it was that the pandemic was adept at shining a light on IT strengths and weaknesses equally, providing clarity on necessary course correction.
With an increased focus on health and safety in the workplace, smart buildings can help ensure the workplace and building environment is up to par. Smart offices use automated processes to enhance buildings operations, from air conditioning and heating, through to lighting and security.
People are used to a certain ease of functioning in domestic life and expect a similar experience in the office. The smart home illustrates some of the trends that will unfold in the smart office in the future. Voice assistants are among the most popular home technology.
In the life of people, it is not as prevalent but that could change as more indispensable for domestic tasks and hygiene concerns encourage a contactless environment. But while we are not going to see major changes over night, it has taken a pandemic to change the technology and bring new features that could make our life more efficient, productive and healthy.