Welcome to part 2 in our review of how the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the ways companies do business - in the short term, as well as probably in the long term and perhaps forever.
In part 1 of this entry, we covered half of the trends that we identified, including: virtual meetings, e-documents with e-signatures, remote work and the online shopping/buying experience. Now, we continue on with:
5. Automation, AI and Machine Learning: automation replaces manual, redundant, time-consuming tasks with automated processes for great efficiency, accuracy and consistency while reducing turnarounds. This in turn can help raise customer satisfaction levels, leading to increased loyalty and return use/repeat sales, which could be life-savers in our current climate.
In a related vein, Artificial Intelligence is increasingly complementing sales and service workflows. For example, Chatbots can more quickly and efficiently ascertain needs and move the process along faster to get the customer their desired information or an appointment, while possibly providing more choice and better targeted solutions in the long run. IT team members could see what they can develop on their own, or consult with a knowledgeable firm.
6. Use More and Better Data, Faster: even before the pandemic, the answer to many business challenges was quicker and smarter use of data. Now it's becoming a necessity.
Harnessing and leveraging your data gives you great insights into, and control over, your business. It leads to improved real-time decision making as well as more effective predictive and analytical functions. Enterprise-wide visibility breaks down 'data silos' by bringing together actionable data from all over the organization to let leaders see what's going on and take steps to address problem areas. Businesses squeezed by the pandemic-hampered economy may find data makes a world of difference. For a comprehensive take on the strategies and solutions of digital transformation for any organization, please see our free year-long webinar series, which features a new topic every other month.
7. "The Human Factor" and Trust: as the toll from the virus keeps going on and going up, people are turning for the comfort and peace of mind that comes from warmer, more personable businesses that align their performance and practices with their morals and values.
Consumers are responding to a more humane tone for communications (especially on social media, where it's long been a trend) over a less personal, more businesslike approach - but they're also looking for companies that back up their messaging with actual community engagement and service. Now is the most crucial time for organizations to practice good citizenship.
8. Rapid pace of change: to respond to the extremely fast rate at which the virus has affected things and out of sheer necessity for survival, companies are being quicker to the punch and nimbler than ever in approving and implementing changes.
It often used to be that technical projects would languish and proposed technology investments or upgrades would linger from year to year. Not so any longer. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently reported, "We've seen two years of digital transformation in two months." In a similar vein, a McKinsey report released in July concluded: "The quarter is the new year, and the fastest will win." Planning and performing with speed will prove essential to navigating our new reality.
Conclusion: on the technology side, companies should determine where they are and where they need to be, then select an experienced partner like EOX Vantage that's used to working fast to identify needs and complete projects. The pandemic has already changed business immeasurably. Act now and act fast to ensure you're positioned to deal with the rapidly changing landscape we're dealing with right now, and the further change that's sure to come.