The past twelve months have caused unparalleled disruption to the way we work but businesses quickly pivoted and responded to the challenges of the pandemic. They are now determining what changes remain for the long-term, and the type of technology that is needed to effectively manage new ways of working, changing consumer expectations and restructured supply chains.
Even before the pandemic, the world was in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution. COVID-19 subsequently intensified the technological disruption, plunging the world into a new equilibrium.
Industry 4.0 will continue to make big waves for businesses, characterized by great accelerations in connectivity, automation, artificial intelligence, and computing power. The movement is revolutionizing the way traditional industries work, particularly by increasing focus on automation, reserving human labour for more meaningful tasks. This is forcing organisations to change the way they work.
Shifting attitudes and culture is one of the most challenging parts of The Great Rethink. As changes are implemented at a rapid pace, organisations must communicate effectively with employees to understand the need for change, and the benefits it can bring.
Technology is driving necessary change
COVID-19 has accelerated the speed of technological disruption, making it critical for businesses that didn’t get it right last year to make the necessary adjustments to ensure they’re able to keep up with evolving customer expectations.
The organizations that had appropriate digital infrastructures in place were better placed to ride the waves of the pandemic. For example, if the framework for collecting the correct customer data was in place, insights could quickly be gathered, uncovering pain points or future needs of customers. Being in tune with the needs of your customer base is critical for providing stability during a time of crisis and beyond.
Businesses can no longer be big slow-moving machines; they need to be agile and constantly reinventing themselves to thrive. Embracing technologies such as artificial intelligence will increase the speed of change by making tasks easier to complete or even taking over some tasks completely so teams can focus their attention on high-value activities.
There were many different technologies adopted by businesses during the past twelve months including collaboration tools, cloud platforms and security platforms. Artificial intelligence was an integral part of these platforms and will continue to be the focal point of the digital revolution due to its ability to deliver real-time customer insights and in turn deliver a hyper-personalized customer experience.
What’s next for businesses?
Work from home (or work from anywhere) has become an integral part of modern work. Direct to consumer has exploded. Contactless is the new normal, for everything from payment to pickup and delivery. Supply chains are going digital, becoming more agile and regionalizing. These are just a handful of the changes to the working world that are here to stay.
Meeting rising customer expectations in a world of digital experiences and omnichannel customer journeys requires a unified, modern technology platform that is agile, data-driven and able to deliver personalized experiences at scale.
Customer experience has never been more important if businesses are to beat the competition. During the pandemic, customer needs rapidly evolved with customers expecting instant, integrated and consistent service experiences across channels. This trend will continue so businesses need to adopt technologies to ensure they retain customer loyalty.
At the heart of this must be an intelligent and secure information management platform that enables organisations to provide a seamless flow of information between team members wherever they may be and is able to deliver personalized customer experience at scale. This is foundational for thriving in our rapidly evolving world—and the world we will build with The Great Rethink.
(The author is Albert Nel, Vice President APAC at OpenText and the views expressed in this article are his own)