The COVID 19 pandemic has impacted businesses across the globe, causing repercussions and expansive changes in the way they operate. A study by Statista indicates that the US market saw a staggering $3.94tn loss in output during the peak of the pandemic. Major economies are estimated to have incurred a loss of 2.9% of GDP.
The pandemic-induced upheaval had a significant impact on business operations and sustenance. Across the globe, businesses grappled with uncertain demands, unprepared supply chains, and inadequate resources to efficiently manage the new business trends.
Some small and medium businesses faced the brunt of working with outdated or legacy applications. Unable to rapidly adapt to the pandemic situation, they underwent heavy losses, forcing them to put on hold key operations or close their business operations altogether.
For large and established businesses, COVID 19 has accelerated the adoption of new technologies and digital transformation better to equip them for the current times and future requirements. Here’s a look at how technology is changing the world during COVID 19 pandemic.
Impact of digital technologies during COVID 19
Remote communication became the hallmark of the COVID era, with virtual meetings replacing in-person discussions. The spike in digital adoption driven by COVID-19 saw an increase in usage of communication platforms such as Teams, bringing a revolutionary change in business communication.
Seeing the emerging trend, major communication platforms such as Slack (acquired by Salesforce) and Microsoft Teams enhanced their application features. They added workflows, document sharing and approvals, and integration with the core technology stack-such as Office 365 for Teams, and Salesforce Customer 360 for Slack.
Microsoft Teams, the most popular platform for remote communication, saw an increase from 75 million users in 2020 to 145 million in 2021.
The COVID era has deconstructed the workplace model, creating an online and a hybrid version in place of the physical workspace. This has led to a tremendous rise in the need for process automation, replacing repetitive manual tasks with automated Bots and Apps. COVID-19 accelerated the adoption of digital technologies, with Process Automation enabling businesses to save on operational costs, benefit from faster ROI, and enable optimal resource utilization.
Bots are becoming the norm for frontline customer communication, replacing manual resources. Intelligent Apps are now replacing manual data processing with higher accuracy in a lesser time-giving a cost and value-driven advantage for businesses.
The evolving demand and supply trends created a need for system modernization, as legacy applications and technology environments could not meet these surges. The focus is on an integrated technology platform that would cover all business operations in a single solution, making it adaptable and scalable as per operational needs, as with Microsoft 365.
A study by Gartner indicates that spending on public cloud services will grow by 18.4% to reach $304.9bn during 2021.
The accelerated adoption of the cloud environment is due to overburdened physical infrastructure that requires heavy maintenance and troubleshooting. The shift to cloud-based service models gives businesses a robust technology platform, security and scalability, and savings in TCO compared to in-house infrastructure. As a result, the shift to Cloud Computing has been one of the most widely used new technology trends during COVID 19.
The pandemic has forced businesses to rethink past business trends and consider the impact of COVID-19 while planning for the future. Businesses are also increasingly looking at empowering employees with easily accessible statistics and information to drive transformative business changes at every stage. Consequently, there has been a surge in demand for self-service Business Intelligence platforms such as Power BI, which provide rich insights on enterprise data, enabling better decision making.
Online Sales in Q1 2021 grew by 39%, seeing a massive increase from Q1 2020.
E-Commerce had seen a massive increase in usage and revenue during COVID-19, replacing traditional stores with online selling platforms to cater to the new need of customers during the pandemic. This surge also saw increased demand for fulfillment services, along with procurement and supply chain optimization models to drive optimal business efficiency.
AI and ML were the most sought-after technologies in the COVID era, with businesses looking to automate their operational processes and make them intelligent, comprehensive, and all-encompassing. As a result, technologies that provide Hyperautomation with AI capabilities saw increased demand, for instance Power Automate.
COVID-19 has seen businesses move on an accelerated path towards digital transformation as the times demand greater agility, flexibility and resilience. Digital adoption will only help pave the way for greater productivity, efficiency besides resilience and preparedness for the future.