Arian Nemati is Co-Founder and CEO at ADEx and Ecognitionlabs.com, an AI research and development company.
With approximately 11% of Americans out of work in June of 2020 and 82% of small business owners reporting they are concerned or very concerned about the potential impact of the virus on their business, it might seem at first glance that now is not the best time to invest in new technology.
If that is where your gut is right now, it is understandable. A common reaction to challenging business climates is reduced spending, including that of investing in the tech sector. However, this view is likely to be shortsighted given the uncommon challenges of the current pandemic. These challenges have forced businesses to reconsider how they do business and innovate in order to drive efficiency while improving customer service.
Organizations that want to do more than just survive the current pandemic must carefully look at how their current technology meets their business needs and whether investing in a new technology might be a smart move. Here are five reasons that the Covid-19 pandemic is actually the best time to adopt new technology.
New Technology Increases Efficiency
It’s true that technology adoption comes with a cost. But so do processes that prevent your business from achieving profitability and growth. Consider this recent finding: more than half of business employees in a recent survey reported that their current technology systems were a pain point when working remotely, and 37% of those surveyed stated that their current technology did not fully support internal communication while working remotely.
Even more astoundingly, 90% said that they could not get a good picture of what was happening with their customers without checking several systems. In a time when customer relationships are more fragile than ever, these kinds of inefficiencies can make workers less productive and less satisfied with their work. They can also negatively impact the very customer relationships that will be needed for the business to recover.
Lower Current Workload
If there’s a silver lining to be found in an economic situation that has reduced demand for products or services across broad sectors of the economy, it’s that organizations are less busy. This downtime can be leveraged for retooling, retraining and repositioning for success after the pandemic, without having to do so at production peaks.
Adopting technology during the downtime created by Covid-19 means that fewer employees and customers are likely to be impacted by any challenges caused by a systems upgrade. Employees who are less busy also have more time for training. Long term, this will positively impact customers by making employees more efficient.
Remote Work Challenges
One of the biggest challenges organizations are facing during this pandemic is figuring out how to support remote workforces. The challenge is especially acute within organizations that now have the majority of their employees working from home. Some organizations were fortunate to have tools that support this, such as Webex or Microsoft Teams. However, the vast majority of organizations were forced to cobble together solutions on the fly, often without time to adequately train users.
Because of this, in addition to the usual distractions of remote work such as dogs and children, workers also are dealing with technical challenges and lack of connection with other employees. This disconnection can hamper creativity and productivity. Investing in tools that are better able to support remote collaboration can help remote workers and the organizations they work for to overcome these challenges.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, digital transformation was a key concept for business executives seeking ways to differentiate their organizations from the competition. But throughout the pandemic and the shift toward remote work, technology innovation has become more than a popular buzzword. Technology integration, automation, online ordering and virtual showings have become key business strategies, accelerating the shift toward digital transformation.
Adopting technologies like these allows businesses to maintain revenue streams and continue providing value to customers, while organizations that have opted against adopting these technologies are seeing their customer relationships suffer. In the future, we may look back on this pandemic and recognize it not only as the tipping point for digital transformation, but as the moment when organizations that did not retool to meet the current crisis were left behind.
Technology Positions for Future Growth
Thinking about how to position for growth might seem a stretch in an environment where surviving seems like an accomplishment. But in truth, it’s the most important thing today’s executives should be thinking about. Adopting the right technology now will help organizations position for future growth.
It’s important to remember that growth is coming. Although the current downturn in the economy was caused by an external shock to the system, the truth is that the Covid-19 pandemic is simply an exaggerated contraction. Contractions are a normal part of every business cycle, and the best thing about them is that they are eventually followed by expansion.
Adopting the right technology during the current downturn positions organizations for explosive growth once the economy begins to expand. Increases in efficiency and enhanced customer relationships will combine with less competition to position organizations for growth that could eventually surpass pre-pandemic levels.
For all these reasons, it’s important for future-looking organizations to recognize that surviving today’s pandemic isn’t just about cutting budgets. It’s about making smart business decisions. Investing in technology now is a smart decision that not only positions your organization to survive over the short term of the pandemic’s impact, but is also an investment that will drive accelerated, long-term growth once the pandemic is over.
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