At some juncture, every serious business that wants a successful future will have to decide which of the operational changes forced on them out of necessity should be permanently adopted and which should be dropped or replaced when the pandemic is finally brought under control. In making that judgement, clearly a lot will depend on the nature of the business itself – a retailer will have a different view to a banker, or restaurateur to an engineer. Either way, business owners or the people in charge will have the ideal opportunity to re-think their business practices and processes. It would be a disaster on top of a tragedy to waste the progress and innovation that has been achieved in so many aspects of our lives.
No one can reasonably claim to have foreseen the onset of COVID-19 or the extent of the damage and grief subsequently caused – Governments, including our own, certainly didn’t. But what is vitally important is that we take something positive from the experience since there can be little doubt that those companies which had already embraced new technologies have had a distinct advantage throughout this crisis. I count UnitBirwelco among them.
Corporate communications have undergone a revolution. Zoom or Microsoft Teams meetings are increasingly regarded as the norm. Some people might argue that personal relationships have suffered as a result and want to turn back the clock. I beg to disagree because the benefits to productivity, costs and efficiency are undeniable. This certainly applies to looking after customers, especially those located overseas. It’s also possible to be much more inclusive with workforces that may be spread throughout the country in separate facilities or located abroad. Boundaries have disappeared, enabling more people to be kept in the business loop, more efficiently, leading to better and closer collaboration.
Exploiting advanced digital capabilities, including Artificial Intelligence, can streamline and simplify automation and act as a catalyst for growth. Business consultants like Accenture and Deloitte are producing hard statistics to prove that these are not flights of fancy, but facts. Adopting new technologies does require a shift in mindset, but the benefits can be enormous. I can say that out of experience because UnitBirwelco’s decision to update our IT last year – before anyone had heard of a Coronavirus – has already paid huge dividends in terms of communications, technical processes and sales techniques. At a time when cyber-crime is rife, security has also been strengthened. We can’t afford to stop now.