The pandemic has changed the ways companies do business... in the short term, probably in the long term and in some cases likely forever. We have published some pieces recently on the virus's effects on the insurance industry. Now we want to take a broader view and see what it has done for all kinds of businesses in the economy.
Somewhat surprisingly, many of the results are not strictly bad, but positive or mixed. We have identified eight key ways in which COVID has changed business. We'll present half of them here and half in our next blog entry.
- Virtual Meetings: business flights, conferences and in-person meetings have been gone for much of this year. They've been replaced by the video call. Zoom, WebEx and other virtual conferencing platforms are the new go-to. Make sure you have the connection and infrastructure to keep up with your needs. Be aware that some e-meeting tools may present security or privacy concerns and take steps to mitigate the risk. For instance, the Chat feature of the TeamedUp 2020 suite of essential communication and collaboration tools (free for the rest of 2020), built on EOX Vantage's Enterprise Operating System, features Zoom integration - allowing you to start a Zoom call from within a Chat - and it's protected within our platform's high security protocols that comply with ISO 27001 standards for cyber security.
- E-documents & e-signatures: businesses (including many in the insurance industry) that relied on old-school contracts and agreements with wet signatures have been moving to digital documentation with e-sigs as the need for distancing shows no signs of abating. It's relatively easy to install systems for this change and replace manual paper processes. Going from physical paperwork to digital files is in the best interests of most every business. Digital is faster and easier to store, access, share and manipulate.
- Remote Workstyle: who could have anticipated the great work from home revolution of 2020? It's radically changed how businesses plan, budget and operate. In the short term, many companies have shifted spending to focus more on training, benefits and wages to help their people through the pandemic crisis (or as we'll focus on next time, on technology to help the business itself through the crisis). Long term, we might see further shifts as companies move away from physical offices and brick and mortar locations, resulting in lower rents and other associated overhead costs. In the meantime, provide the productivity tools to keep dispersed team members on the same page, plan to have on hand the necessary bandwidth and equipment, and foster the sense of community that is needed to combat the isolation which remote work often brings to individuals.
- Online Shopping & Buying Experience: we were already living in the world of countless other online sellers, led by Amazon. That trend has only accelerated in the COVID climate and is expected to stay that way for the foreseeable future. Consumers expect and demand a crisp, fast, high-quality online user experience as they increasingly make the online environment their preferred place for purchases. So, make sure your e-commerce technology is hitting on all cylinders and giving customers a great overall experience. That's only the beginning, though - once you've achieved excellence with your website, plan to keep upgrading on what amounts to a continuous basis.
An experienced development firm like EOX Vantage can be an invaluable partner in evaluating and improving your digital transformation efforts. For example, review our free webinar series to learn how we have been helping our insurance and transportation clients as they face unprecedented challenges from the pandemic. The "Digital Transformation & Insurance" webinar recording is available now, and the upcoming "Digital Transformation & Transportation" session will be released on August 27. "Digital Transformation & Manufacturing" will be on October 29 (registration opening soon).
That's it for this round! Next time, we'll explore:
- Automation, AI & Machine Learning
- Data Usage
- Rapid Pace of Change
- Trust and "the Human Factor"