Coronavirus has entirely changed the face of the business world, and it’s clear the ripple effects will be long-lasting. While it remains to be seen when, and if, we return back to normal, we’re left wondering what the business world will look like after such a period of turmoil. And one of the key trends emerging is a sharp increase in the speed of digital transformation.
In one European survey conducted by McKinsey, 70% of executives said that the pandemic is likely to accelerate the pace of their digital transformation. McKinsey predicts that the companies that see the pandemic as an opportunity to invest in digital innovation and adopt new technologies over the next few years will have a huge advantage over those that return to business-as-usual (see below graph).
Here are just 4 of the digital transformation trends we think are going to disrupt the business world over the next decade.
Let’s start with the obvious: The monumental shift towards remote working.
We’ve been talking about remote work for a long time now, and it’s a common component of many digital transformation strategies. Yet, despite the hype, pre-coronavirus remote work wasn’t taking off the way some had expected it to. In the UK, just 5% of the UK workforce worked ‘mainly’ from home, an increase of only 1% since 2015. Fearing drops in productivity and difficulties in communication, many companies were afraid to make the jump – until COVID-19 pushed them, that is.
Working from home became the only option for many businesses during the pandemic, and many have found that work has carried on as normal with teams working remotely. Some even found they are doing better. In fact, the majority of employees are thriving under the circumstances, with 41% saying they more productive than ever before and 28% reporting they are just as productive. 80% of people in the same study also reported enjoying working from home.
With such positive responses to the change, it seems like the way we work is going to change forever in the wake of COVID-19. And companies like Twitter have been leading the charge, declaring that they are never returning to a model where workers are expected to go back into the office at all.
We predict that this move towards remote working will result in the following:
- Offices will become optional. Many companies are likely to get rid of physical offices altogether, and many more will only keep them as an optional space to work from.
- Workers will clock in from around the globe. With the workplace moving online, workers won’t have to be in the same city, or even the same country, as the rest of their team. This will lead to an increase in the number of digital nomads and companies seeking workers from outside the country they operate in – causing a sharp increase in competition in some fields.
- ‘Presentee-ism’ will become a thing of the past. The trend towards increased flexibility will lead to more outcome-based models for workers, allowing people to work the way they want rather than sticking to the 9-5 model, which will likely seem outdated in a more digital workplace.
- But with more advances in technology, we’ll all be more connected.In the wake of COVID-19, there will be an explosion of technologies that ‘smooth over the cracks’ in the remote working model. Expect frozen, pixellated video chats to become a thing of the past as innovation in this area increases.
New wave of digital shoppers driving innovation in e-commerce
It goes without saying that shoppers have been steadily migrating to online for a while now. But this process has been significantly sped up by the coronavirus crisis. With physical shops closing shutters, customers shielding at home and people spending more time online than ever before, e-commerce has seen a significant boost during this period. In the US, for example, there has been a 14% decrease in growth in brick and mortor shops, while e-commerce has grown by 18%. Perhaps most significantly, there has been a sizeable uptick in the number of people using e-commerce who wouldn’t normally visit online shops, with new online shoppers aged 65 and older growing 12.2% over the period.
As ongoing restrictions and lasting concern for their health causes more and more customers to try out e-commerce, consumer behaviour is likely to change for good as they enjoy the convenience of shopping from their homes.
We predict that the boom in online shoppers will result in the following:
- The continuing growth of e-commerce incumbents. You’ve probably seen a few eye-watering statistics demonstrating just how much Amazon has made during this period! This boom in growth for some of the biggest e-commerce giants (who, with such established processes in place, were the best-prepared for a global crisis like this) is going to continue over the coming years.
- Retailers embracing a multichannel model. As footfall in physical shops dwindles, more shops will move to online channels and marketplaces to bolster their physical stores – or get rid of their physical space altogether.
- More innovation and automation in the e-commerce space. Technologies that automate e-commerce processes will experience a boom as companies aim to become more efficient in the face of greater competition.
Automation of KPI analysis
As the world becomes increasingly digitised post-coronavirus, there will be even more opportunities for businesses to capture customer data. But, while more data is great for making more intelligent business decisions, more data doesn’t automatically equal a more efficient business. In fact, too much data can actually overwhelm organisations. Currently, 65% of companies report having too much data to analyse, and between 60-73% of companies’ data isn’t used for analytics at all.
More data means more number crunching, more time and more resources spent sorting, analysing and reporting. Expecting employees to commit huge swathes of time and energy into doing this will become untenable as datasets grow larger and larger. And, after a sustained period of rethinking the workplace and work habits, employees may be more reluctant to spend huge amounts of time analysing KPIs and metrics across various dashboards and datasets – we’re not built for it, after all.
But machine learning and AI technologies are built for exactly that. Harnessing these technologies for analysing KPIs and identifying potential anomalies means companies can enjoy:
- 24/7 analysis revealing any anomalies, trends and digital performance opportunities as they arise
- Increased efficiency of data analysis
- The freeing up of employees’ time so they can focus on driving performance
- Increased reliability. Humans make mistakes – AI doesn’t
- ‘Analytics-on-demand’ rather than employees trying to find relevant information by scanning through dashboards and datasets constantly, AI will be able to deliver the insights that are most important immediately
Post-coronavirus, we’ll see forward-thinking businesses using AI and machine learning tools to crawl through their data 24/7, increasing efficiency and streamlining the important data teams actually need to know about in order to drive digital performance.
Speaking of, if you’re looking to move to an ‘analytics-on-demand’ model for your KPIs, why not get ahead of the curve and try out our automated anomaly detection and KPI analysis platform, Millimetric, for free today?
A shift towards virtual events, conferences and e-learning
The coronavirus crisis has been utterly catastrophic for the events industry. With big gatherings out for the foreseeable, there’s been mass redundancies across the industry, and many companies that relied on events for sales, marketing and upskilling have had to do a U-turn on their strategy.
But despite the devastating impact of the virus, the mass disruption to the events industry has still been an opportunity for digital innovation for some. Webinars have sprung up to replace cancelled events, and are becoming increasingly sophisticated as events companies get creative and invest in technologies to solve the problems that arise from running an event online.
Travel may be difficult for some time, and even when it relaxes it’s understandable that people will still be nervous about being around large groups of people. This reluctance to attend big events may outlast the pandemic as old habits die hard. So we expect that, as a result, there will be a long-lasting shift towards events and conference taking place in a virtual space – and an increased level of innovation and creativity in addressing attendees’ needs going forward.
Stay on top of your data post COVID-19 with automated alerts and analysis – sign up for a free trial of Millimetric’s AI anomaly detection and KPI analysis platform.