At the beginning of 2020, COVID-19 hit the world like a tsunami and swept up established operations and processes. It has forced companies to quickly identify and employ the best possible alternatives. Now that it seems like the threat is slowly decreasing in severity is the time to look back at the radical transformations our world has undergone and think about whether these new processes will stand the test of time in the ‘new normal’ business world.
Here’s our unbiased brief look at 7 things that transformed the world through IT and will likely stay the new standard.
Acting promptly is a must
The sudden and unexpected onset of the pandemic shook companies at their core and forced them to find alternatives for long-established business operations. Agility suddenly became the highest priority, since consumer behaviour had changed, and supply chains were failing. It was necessary to quickly accept the global changes and adapt to them. On the other hand, the situation has shown that it’s possible to transform key operations and services at a pace previously thought to be impossible. The ability to scale or downsize and expense knowledge has become key not only to IT.
The digital revolution jumped forward
Many businesses were developing initiative even prior to 2020, but COVID forced everyone to speed up. Because of social distancing, remote work and limitations on interpersonal contact, some organisations had to accept the digital world and start acting in ways previously unknown to them. Established customs and ways of working have changed almost everywhere. The digital transformation is still a hot topic worldwide. More attention is paid to previously marginal technologies. Our tolerance to risk also had to change, since businesses couldn’t survive without taking new steps. Models based on AI are being used more than ever before, but on the other hand, even trivial operations such as employees logging into work, or the automatic setting of project time, have undergone big changes. IT companies are creatively adapting to the number and variability of automation projects. Many organisations have shown that they can change even in hostile conditions – and the acceleration is sure to continue.
Collaboration became routine
COVID has forced IT companies to recognise the value of partner collaboration. Only by joining with internal and external partners does IT gain access to the knowledge and resources necessary to stay one step ahead of the competition. Moving into an ecosystem approach requires IT leaders to work constructively with external counterparts. For example, vendor management requires the ability to clearly articulate needs and accurately measure the performance of each vendor. Whether we are talking about technology embedded in products or cloud-based tools for production and collaboration, ecosystems will continue to be important as they strengthen and protect competitive positions.
Awareness of security threats has increased
Few companies are prepared to face threats big or small. Emerging technology threats, such as ransomware, provide businesses with at least some small clues as to what to expect and how to prepare and respond. COVID has hit hard and brought with it an increase in critical operations. Suddenly, there was no time to spend on a six–month evaluation of different technology options or the creation of a long-term compliance plan. IT leaders give these threats the same weight as natural disasters and see the need to clearly define security strategies and recovery plans after critical events.
IT controls enterprise solutions
When the pandemic crippled long-standing business operations IT stepped forward to provide solutions. Businesses with advanced technical capabilities continued to create new products and services. Delivery options began to change (we too came up with our own ParcelBox solution for unattended pickup), telecom services such as MS Teams and Zoom had to expand in their scope and offered features, and so on. Those that have been able to innovate quickly and efficiently have not only survived but thrived. However, COVID has also raised business’ expectation. Now that everyone knows what is possible, there is a much lower tolerance for long lead times, delays and excuses that something isn’t working.
IT penetrates further into finance
Information technology has also taken the lead in financial innovation – especially in technology-focused areas such as contactless commerce. The pandemic has increased consumer demand for the ability to transact and process payments without touching cash, cards or keypads. What would have taken years in this regard has been transformed in a matter of months.
The demands on IT workers have changed
The times are bringing a whole new set of challenges for which IT professionals need new types of skills. Meanwhile, most IT workers now work remotely. Even junior positions are required to work with minimal supervision, while the need to engage and proactively take action remains. These needs and the shift in collaboration requirements open the door to more flexible personalities. Looking at the speed at which work can clearly be done highlights the inefficiencies of many processes and positions. As a result, many autonomous and highly effective teams with an agile management style are emerging.
It is clear that the world will never be the same and technology will play an increasingly important role in it. Is there anything that you think should be added to this list? We’re excited to read your suggestions in the comments on our social media channels.