COVID-19 has revealed some crippling inadequacies to enterprises across the globe. With employees locked down in their homes, manufacturing processes on hold, warehouse facilities inaccessible, and supply chains at a standstill, businesses are facing an undeniable economic crisis. This downtime has made them question their underlying business models, operating methodologies, and, most importantly, their tech investments. An overarching question that also looms large is: What will a post-pandemic business ecosystem look like, and how can enterprises and service partners be better prepared for it?
The 2008 financial crisis was a wake-up call for businesses around the world, and was accompanied by new financial governance structures, steps to ensure transparent and efficient decision-making, and large-scale legislative reforms. In contrast, COVID-19 is expected to usher in massive technological reforms. We already see early signs of enterprises preparing for the future by leveraging technologies not only to address current requirements but also to build a strong foundation for the post-pandemic ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at some areas where technology is being leveraged to respond in radically newer ways.
Next normal – virtual experiences
Imagine taking your kids to a safari, or attending a concert in London, or test driving a car, all of this while you are in self-quarantine at home. Virtual tours, virtual resource-sharing, and even virtual personalities and friends are likely to become routine, compelling enterprises to rethink their business models. Customer interactions and customers’ expectations from brands will also change dramatically, requiring enterprises to design innovative solutions and new experiences, and ensure their seamless delivery. Technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Augmented Reality (AR), and Mixed Reality (MR) offer enterprises exciting opportunities to address these needs. Service partners will play a critical role in helping enterprises understand customers’ evolved expectations, visualize future demand themes, re-design virtual customer journeys, and build the required technological assets.
Amid the lockdown and uncertainty across the globe, technology platform-based businesses seem to fit like pieces in a puzzle. Think about food and grocery delivery businesses or content delivery platforms such as Amazon Prime and Netflix, or even social media platforms such as Facebook. As users get more comfortable with technology and use it increasingly to meet varying needs, the treasured data gathered across platforms will also pave the way for cross-industry collaborations. For instance, secured access to customers’ virtual profiles can enable insurance firms to design personalized products based on lifestyle and preferences. Similarly, travel and tourism businesses can identify target customers and offer them curated solutions based on their preferences identified by converging insights across these platforms. These changes will usher in a new wave of innovation, driving seamless interactions, deeper customer insights, personalized marketing, and new business opportunities. Service partners will be trusted with the critical role of catalyst, which can onboard various stakeholders, enable seamless integration of diverse systems, and facilitate value realization for all entities involved.
Business continuity planning
Many technology firms are already supporting enterprises with solutions to ensure business continuity. For instance, Oracle, Salesforce, SAP, and ServiceNow are enabling collaboration, file sharing, and data sharing with flexible payment options to support their enterprise customers. And Cisco, Dell, Nutanix, and many others are offering free-to-use solutions or adopting creative financial models such as deferred payments and lower initial payments to facilitate business continuity for customers. This is, in turn, helps their clients build brand equity, which is likely to pay off in the long term. These firms are “doing good by doing well,” essentially responding with much-needed solutions. Increasingly, service partners will be expected to bring about changes in their engagement, delivery, and commercial models to address the challenges confronting their clients.
While businesses are still trying to fully grasp what it will take to survive and thrive post-pandemic, we can say one thing for sure: an astute understanding of customer needs, coupled with the right technological assets, proper governance, and a structured investment approach will help prepare enterprises for the world we encounter on the other side of the pandemic.
If you are looking to understand the evolving business ecosystem and a roadmap for how you can prepare your organization better for growth post-pandemic, please write to me at: [email protected].