You may have heard the phrase, “necessity is the mother of invention.” Put plainly, it means if you really need to do something, you’ll often find a way to make it happen. It could be literally inventing something, turning your business model upsidedown, adopting new technology, or a myriad of other creative solutions to your problem.
The world naturally creates problems, and each of us adapts to the best of our abilities over time.
What happens though, when a pandemic forces our hand?
What happens when we’re forced to adapt and embrace new technology and new ways of doing business practically overnight?
You probably guessed it — we adapt.
We adapt despite our mistrust of new technology and our misunderstanding of its power. We shift gears even though new ways of doing business feel scary or difficult at first. Somehow COVID-19 rapidly accelerated the already brisk pace of the 21st-century digital transformation. Consumers and businesses alike found a new way of living and working in days instead of years.
In this article, we’ll examine how the pandemic has affected the booming digital transformation:
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that roughly 25% of Americans worked at home prior to the pandemic. New Stanford research suggests that the number is now as high as 42%. A 17% rise in less than a year is a massive shift and one that’ll likely continue progressing at a rapid rate. While remote work does have a few challenges, it’s worth calling out its many advantages as well:
- Reduced work-related expenses for both companies and employees
- Little to no commute time
- Reduced stress for employees
- Increased productivity with fewer interruptions
- The ability to attract and hire talent globally
That last point is worth taking a moment to explore further. One of the biggest burdens to companies is feeling limited to hiring employees living, or willing to relocate, within roughly an hour commute to their office. With the rise of remote work, companies are now free to hire people all across the state, country, and even the world. It also frees companies up to outsource certain job functions or projects to other countries with greater talent pools or lower costs. Working with Nearshore companies is an excellent alternative to hiring remote workers directly, since they share a border and a timezone with your country. They often speak the same language, have similar business customs, and will do just as good a job for a fraction of the price.
The need to communicate while working from home is at the top of everyone’s priority list, which is why video-conferencing providers like Zoom saw a meteoric rise in both downloads and stock price. Team chat technology like Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangouts Chat are also rapidly gaining momentum amongst the late majority and laggards that hadn’t adopted them prior to 2020.
Security remains at the forefront of everyone’s mind, and the best possible solution is setting up each employee with access to a virtual private network (VPN). Companies like Honeywell quickly realized many of their servers hadn’t been updated in years, and they only had roughly one-third of the VPN capacity they required. Like many companies, they had to act quickly to stay operational.
With more people staying at home, virtual concerts and award shows are all the rage these days. Even the medical industry finds Telehealth is set for a “tsunami of growth,” thanks to the pandemic.
Businesses are also getting on board with virtual events. The worldwide conference industry brings in $1.5 trillion to the economy every year. They’ve become the gold standard forum for exchanging ideas and building a professional network. The pandemic quickly brought that industry to its knees with its social distancing and stay at home orders.
Like many other industries, they’re adapting and taking their events and exhibitions online. Doing so reduces environmental pollution, cuts costs, and likely increases attendance for those unable to travel before.
Local and major universities had remote learning options long before the pandemic hit and naturally doubled down on their online class offerings. Elementary, middle, and high school students are now embracing that same technology by offering their own online courses.
It’s important to remember that remote learning isn’t just for kids it’s for companies too. Many companies now face the difficult challenge of hiring, onboarding, and training new employees remotely. Training existing employees to operate remotely is quite an undertaking. Especially when you consider there are four generations in the workforce today, ranging from Gen Z to Baby Boomers. Each generation has its own unique aptitude for communicating and using technology, which makes your IT department’s role more important than ever.
Are you in need of a nearshore partner that can help ease your company’s digital acceleration? If so, don’t hesitate to drop us a line or give us a call.