The COVID-19 pandemic has created an environment of unprecedented change and disruption, according to Khuram Dhanani. In response, businesses have had to innovate at a rapid pace in order to stay competitive. This has led to the accelerated adoption of new technologies that are transforming the way in which the corporate world functions.
While it is still too early to predict the long-term impact of these changes, Khuram Dhanani thinks it is clear that the pandemic will forever transform the business world. Companies that can embrace these changes and adapt their technology and business strategies accordingly will be best positioned to succeed in the new normal.
How Much Innovation Took Place?
Research by the Centre for Economic Performance found that of the 425 firms that completed their survey, 75% had adopted digital technologies, 55% had implemented new digital capabilities, and nearly 70% had introduced new management practices.
It might be argued that the pandemic simply accelerated innovation that would have happened anyway. However, firms have instead stated that implementing new technology during the pandemic actually accelerated future plans for further technological adoption.
Key Technical Innovations
While you may have already been familiar with some of these innovations, the pandemic forced widespread adoption in a way we could never have previously predicted.
The pandemic has driven a massive shift to remote work, which has, in turn, increased the demand for cloud-based solutions. Cloud computing allows businesses to operate remotely without the need for on-premise infrastructure. It also enables employees to access company data and applications from anywhere in the world, making it the perfect solution for a remote workforce.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is being used more and more to automate tasks and improve efficiency. The pandemic has created a need for even faster innovation, and AI is playing a pivotal role in meeting this demand. For example, AI is being used to develop new drugs and treatments for COVID-19 and track and predict the spread of the virus.
COVID-19 has forced businesses to re-think the way they collaborate. In the past, face-to-face meetings were the norm, but companies now rely on collaborative technologies such as video conferencing and online chat to stay connected. These tools allow employees to share ideas and work together on projects without the need to be in the same office space.
The pandemic has also created a need for process innovation. Many businesses have had to re-evaluate their processes and procedures in order to adapt to the new reality. Now was the perfect time to assess whether that report or signed piece of paper was a really necessary part of the process.
Digitalization of Customer Interactions
The pandemic has resulted in a dramatic increase in the digitalization of customer interactions. In-person meetings and events have been canceled, and businesses have had to find new ways to reach and engage their customers online. Social media, webinars, and virtual events have become essential tools for connecting with customers and prospects.
The increase in remote work has also led to an increase in the need for data security. With more employees working away from the office, there is a greater risk of data breaches and cyber-attacks. As a result, businesses have had to re-think their security strategies and invest in new technologies to protect their data.
McKinsey has described this as the need for a ‘dual-mindset. So first, there was the need to address the new risks that came from moving to the remote working environment. Then came the requirement to anticipate how the new normal would operate.
From the workforce through to the supply chain and the end consumer, all required embedded security. Suddenly the corporate cybersecurity team was no longer seen as a barrier to business growth. Now they have become critical business partners at every step of the business operation.
And If Innovation Wasn’t Prioritized?
Even within those sectors that saw strong declines during the pandemic, there were still those organizations that managed to survive the crisis while others were forced to close down. Where there was rapid response and adaptation, combined with the introduction of new technologies, there was a continuity of operational activities.
All of the previous barriers to innovation, including budgetary restraints and talent limitations, became more acute and, as such, resulted in the weak link for business transformation. However, for those businesses with established innovation processes and infrastructure, the redesign of work processes is a much easier leap to make.
The pandemic has brought about changes that would have otherwise taken years to occur, explains Khuram Dhanani. While it is still too early to predict the long-term impact of these new ways of working, it has clearly demonstrated the need to prioritize digital transformation.
When a business can embrace these changes and adapt its technology and business strategies accordingly, then they will be best positioned to succeed in the new normal.