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Who will be the winners in a post-pandemic economy?
One could see the current times as the first real test of the digital-first business mantras that have been extolled over the first part of this century. COVID-19 will force a rebirth of many industries as we all sit at home in lockdown, re-assessing and re-imagining modes of consumption, supply, interaction and productivity. As president of a global technology firm, what intrigues me is where there will be paradigm shifts, as opposed to just existing trends either accelerating or decelerating.
Those businesses that have designed their solutions to use the full potential of cloud computing, will not buckle under the pressure. For instance, the cloud gives businesses easy access to digital payment methods. It has enabled companies to continue working, by rapidly and securely providing access to business applications to their employees working at home. Yet it also provides financial flexibility, allowing those seeing a slow-down to wind down the technology costs of business lines that are facing challenges.
To create long-term resilience we will likely see further robotic automation and artificial intelligence (AI) within our supply chains. These technologies reduce manual intervention and hand-offs, cutting transmission risks, and reducing the reliance on humans to work face-to-face. They can also enable production to scale and shrink in response to sudden demand.
It’s clear that this crisis will cull a lot of outdated practices, yet many more than we might think will continue. We will always want to travel, to eat out, to be entertained, and to have experiences in person. Just don’t expect any of these activities to be unchanged. Or to be delivered by the same brands, and by the same means to which we’ve become accustomed.
We will emerge from this period stronger, wiser and more connected as a global society. Resilience will be at the forefront of every strategy, yet it is agility that will ensure competitiveness, and an ability to respond to the unexpected. To achieve this, businesses will have to re-evaluate where they must be strong and where they must be flexible.