Many organisations and businesses have had to switch to a remote way of continuing to provide their goods and services and this has affected everything from medical consultations to teaching, even more online shopping and whole offices now remote working.
Having discovered that it is possible to function in this way it is likely that many will carry on doing so when restrictions are eased and this will provide growth opportunities for tech companies.
Among the beneficiaries already have been providers of online tools including conferencing facilities, such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Skype, productivity and project management tools like Asana and Trello and online collaborative and co-creation tools like Miro and MURAL.
But for all their benefits there are also caveats in terms of speed and reliability of broadband, security and protection from intrusion or hacking.
Particularly in the area of providing public services such as health care or education there are also concerns about democracy and the uses to which authorities could put all the data that is gathered, as the writer and activist Naomi Klein has pointed out in a recent article
Security is also likely to be an issue for businesses, not only regarding online financial transactions but also in building resilience into their supply chains.
Ernst and Young has identified growth opportunities in a recent report that also advises directors on how to address some of the potential concerns.
It identifies opportunities for companies to embrace technology:
- New and more efficient ways of working and living means growth opportunities for companies including the tech companies that provide improved and more secure infrastructure for customers;
- Retrofitting by design for those organisations that have adapted during the pandemic but plan to continue using their new working processes in the future;
- Reimagining the seemingly impossible, such as the provision of robotic support to the healthcare sector.
But for the most innovative companies there are likely to be growth opportunities for updating business processes in some instances in products using technology, some of which have yet to be imagined.
The EY advice to directors of all businesses when planning the way ahead is:
- Challenge all legacy technology, frameworks, infrastructure and how things have been done in the past;
- Encourage new ways of technology-driven work to drive flexibility, efficiency and productivity;
- Invest in both personal and business research and development, innovation and learning about technology;
- Hire people with technology skills, including software engineers, developers and data scientists;
- Grow the organization’s ecosystem and establish alliances with innovative companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups;
- Innovate and automate now for the future.
All of the above should provide growth opportunities for imaginative companies in the years ahead.