Business and Technological advances are wrestling with the pandemic COVID-19, around the world. As the world is trying to cope up and adjust with the critical situation around, the economic and social pictures are transforming rapidly. COVID-19 has caused long-lasting ripple effects across markets, industries and the whole economy. Small businesses and gigs are facing the hardest blows of the pandemic, challenging their sustenance.
To maintain stability and equilibrium, businesses are prioritizing to inculcate agility in operations and other procedures. Digital Transformation or Digitalization has started disrupting the Future of Work a long time back. With the invention of the Internet and the commencement of Globalization, the disruptions were injected in the global market landscape and relations. This process has attained traction in recent times due to the COVID-19. The pandemic wreaked havoc affecting each and every aspect of human existence, from work to life, from industries to consumer demands, from MSMEs to top gigs and large organizations.
Work Efficiently, But Anywhere Anytime
Quality of work and the outcome is focussed, and not the surrounding details, like the time and place of work. The companies are embracing a flexible and adaptive approach to respond collectively to the changing times. Work from home or remote working is the ‘new normal’. COVID-19 has successfully instilled fear and panic in our minds, and we are too afraid to go outside. Reduction of real estate overheads, saving a fortune on the expensive workspace, and strengthening the technical needs are some of the prominent effects of disruptions brought forth by COVID-19. Work anywhere anytime must be available for the entire workforce; flexible working models motivate the employees to maintain productivity and agility.
Balancing home and office under the same roof for an indefinite period of time can be highly challenging. The line between personal and professional duties is getting blurred with the advent of COVID-19. “A Gartner, Inc. survey of 229 HR leaders on April 2 revealed that nearly 50% of organizations reported 81% or more of their employees are working remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Another 15% of those surveyed said 61-80% of employees are working remotely at this time. The Gartner survey showed that many workers are planning to work remotely more often in the future.
“While 30% of employees surveyed worked remotely at least part of the time before the pandemic, Gartner analysis reveals that post-pandemic, 41% of employees are likely to work remotely at least some of the time,” said Brian Kropp, chief of research for the Gartner HR practice. ‘Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic has many employees planning to work in a way that they hadn’t previously considered.’”
COVID-19 Speeding Up Digital Transformation
From workforce to the workspace, from employees to employers, everything is now confined within the comfort of homes, thanks to COVID-19. To set efficient office at home, highly advanced technology is crucial. The tech giants have confirmed their decision to continue with the remote working situation for long. The companies are facing a once-in-a-generation shift, highlighting the ever-increasing digital dependence. Amidst these uncertainties and the large scale impacts, one thing is for sure, that is digitalization.
As the proverb says, ‘Necessity is the mother of invention’, the hard times and the humanitarian crisis calls for phenomenal inventions in the digital space. As the activities of the physical world are adversely hit and facing a massive blow, the emphasis on digital platforms and technological advances gain momentum. The B2B and B2C models have undergone a notable metamorphosis in the COVID-19 era.
“On the B2B side, our recent customer-behaviour research shows that digital interaction with B2B customers is now two times more important than traditional channels—more than a 30 per cent jump since before the COVID-19 crisis hit. In telemedicine, regulation, licensing, and reimbursement questions that had traditionally hampered its adoption have been swept away to help fight the coronavirus, laying open a scenario of reduced—or, at least, different—regulation in the next normal.”
For the B2C models, new groups of consumers who never availed the digital services previously, are finally taking the leap of faith and engaging in online channels. “Our consumer-sentiment analysis, for example, has revealed whole new consumer groups trying out digital products and services for the first time. As of this writing, in the United States, some 35 per cent of Gen Zers, for example, have used video chat for the first time (versus just 6 per cent for boomers), while 54 per cent of households with incomes greater than $100,000 have tried online streaming for the first time (versus 35 per cent of those households earning less than $50,000).”
Hi-Tech Inventions During COVID-19
While the pandemic is crippling diverse sectors and the market landscape, the tech giants and some other businesses are thriving. The pandemic has clearly demarcated the winning and losing teams of business. While some sectors like travel, hospitality, retail, automotive, logistics are plagued by the pandemic COVID-19, the sectors like healthcare, FMCG, eCommerce for daily needs, etc are overloaded with consumer demands. The time ahead is uncertain and no one can foresight what happens next. But, what everyone can apprehend that the pandemic is going to accompany us for quite some time now, with no chance of bidding adieu anytime soon. Many companies have started rented computing from Amazon, Google and Microsoft.
Many tech firms are developing cognitive technologies, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning to cater to the bursting dependence on digital platforms. “C3.ai, a company that is so defined by artificial intelligence that it changed its name from C3 IoT a few years ago, has taken a leading role in using the technology to fight Covid-19. The three-time Disruptor 50 company teamed up with Amazon Web Services in April to create a Covid-19 “data lake,” which unifies data sets, updates them in real-time and offers researchers a clearer starting point for generating usable insights. It’s now the largest source of Covid-19 data in the world, according to C3.ai.” Improving communication and collaboration across the organization and also fueling business growth potential have attained centre stage. For successfully achieving the goal, tech innovations are a MUST.
Recession, moderate inflation rates, unemployment have affected the overall expenditure. As the situation progresses towards normalcy or ‘the new normal’, the digital channels will be seeing pent up consumer demands. Enterprise technology, communications technology, supply chain management, consumer technology and various other divisions have been disrupted by the digital transformation. Now, that everyone is working from home, high bandwidth is crucial for an efficient workflow. The demand for laptops, chargers, UPS, and other accessories are witnessing high consumer demand. Network investment like an upgrade to 5G connections and other related infrastructural developments will surge in recent times for obvious reasons.
There was a time when we used to debate about the retention of the relevance of print and digital media. We like printed materials, like new books and glossy magazines, but digital media has got its own perks. In this current situation, when the pandemic is plaguing the world, the digital space becomes the de-facto winner. When people are caged within the four walls, they can access only the online platforms, by surfing virtually. Surfing on the waves of the serene ocean during a vacation seems like a fig of imagination now. Web surfing is the only thing that can retain the sanity of human beings, apparently. The pandemic has disrupted the lives of millions in ways one could have never imagined. Businesses and technology are putting maximum efforts to remain afloat in the whirlpool of changing times.