By: Agnelorajesh Athaide
Technology has been an accelerator for international business, for the past few years. From Start-ups to MNC, all are in different levels of technology adoption, in accordance with their immediate needs and capacity. However, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdown has brought a unique focus back on the urgent need to adopt digitization and modern technology tools to not only get through the pandemic but to also sustain a competitive market and be prepared for future crisis.
As a result of this focus, there is a sudden interest among businesses of all sizes, to create a robust technology infrastructure for themselves which can be helpful in case of a future crisis. And the post lockdown era is going to see a rapid increase in key technology solutions by these businesses. These would mostly address the need for solutions that aid secure remote working access, secure source of data exchange, and provide agile solutions. In line with this, here are some technology solutions that are set to be popular in the Post COVID-19 business environment:
- Offline to Online: The power of digital engagement is out there for everyone to see! Especially in the last few weeks, it has been sharply visible. Even SME or and MSME’s are now adopting digital tools like websites, digital newsletters, blogs, digital conferences, workshops and webinars to connect with customers and stakeholders. As an increasing number of people embark on video calling apps like Zoom and Skype, the shift from offline to online engagement is taking place at a fast pace and is going to be here to stay!
- Secure Data Servers:Even as a vast number of are forced to turn to insecure or poorly enabled data connections and transfer platforms available at home, companies are waking up to the threats of phishing and data security. Currently, due to the work from home directive, a large amount of confidential data is being shared on public servers/ platforms, making it highly vulnerable to data breach and hacking. As the trend for work from home gains momentum and a fair support post-COVID-19 pandemic, businesses will be actively looking to secure their data through solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of their remote working employees. With centralized data storage and features with secure remote access, the post lockdown business ecosystem is going to mostly revolve around robust cloud infrastructure.
- Digitization in HR:Managing employees when working from home or through a remote access desktop, requires an efficient digital HR system that can measure attendance, performance, log in and log out times etc., for employees who don’t physically work from the office on a daily basis. Features like secure login, automated records of a time when logged in to measure daily work hours, etc., can go a long way to ensure companies can provide a remote working opportunity to their employees without compromising on monitoring their work performance and attendance.
- Digital payments:One of the biggest feature of the lockdown due to the pandemic has been the rise in digital purchases, for both products and services. As this boost to e-commerce continues to rise, innovations in digital payments gateways, led by new-age fintech companies, is set to rise. From Paytm and UPI based payment apps, the secure payment gateways on brand websites, single product e-commerce gateways and even cashless payments on delivery etc., are areas that are gaining popularity.
While the world economies are grappling with the fear of an impending slowdown, business processes in a post-COVID-19 era are going to be strongly driven by the 4th Revolution. While most SME’s and MSME’s had been looking at adoption of new-age technology as an ‘out of league’ or a ‘future’ investment, the pandemic has accelerated the need for early adoption, with hopes of a sustainable business during the lockdown and generating higher ROI in the long run. Be it automation, CRM, ERP, IoT or ML, most businesses will a looking at a well-planned strategy to scale up and be a technology-enabled, highly productive, next-generation business.
(The author is Serial & Social Entrepreneur, Co-founder and chief mentor of The Business opportunities club (BOC) and the views expressed in this article are his own)