As I scrolled through the feed of the newspaper app today, I came across this headline that caught my attention. The news was about Apple and Google coming together for a purpose, and this was quite surprising given that they are fierce competitors. The two technology giants will be partnering to build a tool that would help people know if they had been in contact with someone infected with COVID-19.
The partnership of companies that are always at loggerheads with each other would have seemed odd had the world not been battling with a pandemic. The spread of the virus, ensuing deaths, and forced lockdowns are forcing businesses to rethink their strategies, business models, and methods of operation. While in Japan, a university conducted virtual graduation using remote-controlled robots, Airbnb has started offering online experiences from around the world to continue generating revenue.
The two examples listed above are part of a more significant trend that is prevalent across businesses and industries. The pandemic is compelling businesses to think out-of-the-box and explore uncharted territories to survive the current times and build resilience so that they are ready for another similar encounter in the future. However, many businesses and industries have models that are overly reliant on personal contact and manual intervention. Their technology landscapes are archaic, and hence, they have been unable to adapt to the current situation at a short notice.
Here are some investments businesses should consider for building the required resilience against future disruptions.
1.Using IoT sensors and analytics: Manufacturing is one of the hardest-hit sectors because of the country-wide lockdowns caused by the pandemic. Using IoT sensors, machines, and the manufacturing pipelines can be monitored remotely or entirely automated with minimal manual intervention. Moreover, analytics on sensor data can optimize the operations and improve product quality leading to direct cost-savings.
2. Adopting Cloud: Despite the apparent benefits of moving the IT set-up to the cloud, many businesses are still in the decision-making stage. There are instances where some departments have taken the initiative of moving to the cloud while others are scuffing to make a strong business case. The current scenario and the urgent need for cost-savings will force them to expedite their decisions as 61% of the global IT leaders consider cost-cutting as one of the top reasons to adopt cloud. Apart from the benefits of cost-cutting, a cloud-based IT infrastructure offers unmatched accessibility and scalability. Owing to the disaster recovery (DR) set-ups across geographies, cloud-based set-ups are very reliable for business continuity during disruptions.
3. Adopting advanced analytics & Machine Learning: Despite having the best of IT infrastructures, this is an aspect where most of the businesses are lagging. They amass a massive quantity of data and use it for descriptive or diagnostic analytics. While that gives them an insight into the past performance and a sense of the ongoing happenings, they do not have the necessary set-up or skills in place to react to unprecedented situations such as the COVID-19 outbreak quickly.
An organization with skilled data scientists and a fully operational advanced analytics set-up will be able to use the advanced algorithms to optimize their supply chain or operations, saving them crucial time and avoiding losses. Not just that, machine learning can be used to identify customer sentiments, their propensity to churn, etc. and those insights can be very crucial in determining recovery strategies.
These are just a few instances where such techniques can save the day for businesses. There can be several other scenarios where these methods can be used effectively.
4.Using AR/VR/MR: There has been a sudden increase in demand for augmented reality (AR) and other similar technologies as an aftermath of the outbreak and resultant lockdowns. Such technologies contribute to enabling business continuity across industries. While manufacturing companies can use AR and mixed reality for remote technical assistance, companies across industries can use them for training their employees. Home-furnishing retailers can use AR to allow customers to explore their offerings and build an order pipeline while their brick and mortar stores are shut due to lockdown.
There can be several practical use-cases where these technologies can enable businesses to remain operational during such a crisis. However, some groundwork needs to be laid for them to be used effectively.
As we recover from this crisis, businesses should focus not only on resuming the normal operations but also put a strategy in place to build a robust digital and technical infrastructure that would act as a shield for them in the future. If you are a technology leader and a decision-maker for your company, and your business is also facing similar challenges, we can help you build an effective combat strategy for your path to recovery.