It goes without saying that digital transformation has accelerated due to the pandemic. Remote work, online shopping, remote learning, medical tele-advice are just some of the areas of our lives that simply had to change dynamically so that businesses could survive and people could still function relatively normally. New applications, processes, and technologies have redefined life between the real and digital world in recent months. So let's take a look at what the IT industry looks like today after the successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic saved many business sectors and social relationships while facing many challenges and a sudden demand for many services, which within a few months became much needed by the whole world.
Since the beginning of 2020, we have observed digital transformation gaining momentum and certain trends accelerating. It can be assumed that even when the pandemic is brought under control, some changes will stay with us forever and many areas of business and life will not return to the state they were before the outbreak of the virus. Disrupted supply chains, remote work, accelerated development of selected technologies - various business sectors have been weakened or their operating models have changed - including the IT industry. Looking at changes from different angles, let's start with how digital transformation has accelerated due to COVID-19.
The "COVID-19 and the future of business" report by the IBM Institute for Business Values highlights five main opportunities that can help organizations respond to crisis and change. It is not without reason that among the issues of the future of employment, sustainable development, and business transparency, there is also digital transformation, which opens the report as the first epiphany. Research shows that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital transformation in the surveyed organizations by as much as 59%!
Experts point out that adaptability is a mandatory competence in business today. The pace of change is accelerating, and digital solutions are the answer to many challenges (not only pandemic ones). This is why 66% of respondents said that their organizations had managed to implement new initiatives that had previously met with resistance. Interestingly, the change is the result of a certain defense - cost reduction has become the biggest profit from transformation initiatives. Analysts also point out that the pandemic has forced the introduction of certain changes, which proved that concerns about the technological capabilities and skills of employees are unfounded. Increased reliance on digital platforms used by whole teams has shown good results. It is worth noting that the tools were available all the time, but only the pandemic was the impulse to start using them, discovering new potential and noticing positive results. 60% of respondents confirmed that automation processes were accelerated during the pandemic, and 64% of respondents indicated that they had started using cloud solutions in their business. It is unbelievable that only a global cataclysm has made many managers trust digital solutions, and now many of them cannot imagine working without them. This is just more proof of the importance of education in the field of the philosophy of change, getting used to new technologies, and showing the facilities and savings that can be achieved.
Many innovations and technologies have been on the market for years. AI, IoT, blockchain, and cloud are solutions that are being talked about more and more. And since they finally started to be used on a large scale, it is worth ensuring that employees do not treat them as a necessary evil, but realize their benefits. So let's take a look at those solutions that have proven to be particularly useful during a pandemic. Perhaps in this way, we will be able to encourage or inspire you to explore some issues.
In early March 2020, Microsoft announced that the activity of their cloud services increased by 775% due to sanitary restrictions and social distancing. A month later, we received an amendment to the press release. 775% is an increase that was recorded by only Teams meetings and calls over a 30-day period! Of course, there have been many more such reports in recent months and this shows how important cloud services are in the post-COVID-19 world. It is worth praising the service providers who were ready for a sudden increase in user activity. Remote work within teams, as well as online learning, which suddenly became the everyday life of people around the world, did not overload the servers. We could also observe the dynamic development of services, the appearance of new functions, and extensive updates. The standards that were developed during the pandemic will stay with us for longer. Institutions and organizations that decided to test new solutions were convinced of them, and companies developing cloud technologies achieved certain goals in a shorter time. Cloud services are undoubtedly an area that will continue to gain in popularity, regardless of the pandemic.
According to Huawei Technology's vision, the implementation of the 5G network system will take about 10 years - from 2020 to 2030. This is to enable zero-distance communication between people and devices connected to the networks they use. The first milestone was announced by CSS Insight. According to their analysis, as early as 2023, we can expect to exceed the level of one billion 5G network users worldwide. However, there are indications that the revolution will reach us much faster. It is the COVID-19 pandemic that has forced billions of people around the world to lock themselves in their homes and learn and work from there (not to mention digital entertainment e.g. online games and VOD services). This made the demand for high-speed internet even greater. 5G technology is something we need today. Telecom service providers who have timidly started implementing innovations have found that they need to act faster in order to be able to offer competitive services when an unexpected event occurs and high-speed internet becomes a basic need. There is also a flip side, which is the awareness that new technology can be useful. Consumers themselves could see that even faster internet can actually be something they need (e.g. for quick data sharing, not just downloading). This is why it can be assumed that 5G technologies will become the standard even faster than researchers thought.
The outbreak of the pandemic was a kind of test for AI technology. Big data could have contributed to counteracting the development of the virus and supporting medicine in the fight against it. Recently, however, there have been many reports and articles that say that dozens of tools designed to counteract COVID-19 have done little to do their job. Interestingly, the technology itself cannot be blamed here, but... the human factor. In the report "Data science and AI in the age of COVID-19" by The Alan Turning Institute, we read that the problem was access to data, its standardization, and reliability. Some researchers had greater privileges, and others could not get the data to use AI tools effectively. Relationships with other researchers, as well as with the public and politicians, were also a problem. Communication posed the greatest challenge related to overinterpretation or misinterpretation of the analysis results. So AI was not a game-changer in the fight against the pandemic, but it is unquestionably this sector of technological innovation that has gained momentum in recent months.
According to the "Sizing the prize" report created by PwC analysts, artificial intelligence is expected to bring the global economy more than $15.7 trillion in profits by 2030. It is very possible that this value will increase additionally, thanks to the pandemic. Consumers have changed their buying habits and working culture. Solutions such as intelligent data processing, speech recognition, facial identification, chatbots and machine learning will be increasingly popular in the post-COVID-19 world.
These are just some of the real innovations that have accelerated since 2020. Other important technologies include blockchain, the internet of things, and virtual and augmented reality. If you want to deepen your knowledge of these innovations, we encourage you to read our other texts on digital transformation in various sectors of business and social life. So far, in our series, we have already described: FinTechs, Education, and Healthcare.
Finally, we have a few observations from the perspective of a software house that deals with digital transformation and has been facing various challenges, changes, and a completely new reality in recent months. Fortunately, as a company that has never had problems with remote teamwork, we have coped very well with the adaptation to the current standards. There are new projects, more and more recruitment processes, the team is growing and we are optimistic about the future.
The pandemic has undoubtedly contributed to the increased public acceptance of remote work. According to the report "The 2020 State of Remote Work" by Buffer and AngelList, 98% of the respondents answered that they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. In the case of software houses, this can help in the recruitment process. As digital transformation accelerated and many institutions and organizations began to care more about quickly implementing certain technologies that would allow them to function more efficiently, the demand for programming services has increased. The popularization of remote work opens up new opportunities for employing programmers from different regions of the world. Employees from Poland are particularly competitive and affordable here.
Many companies have to cut costs in the post COVID world. This manifests itself, for example, in the rental of smaller office space or a reduction in staff. If you want to reduce project costs by limiting yourself not to full-time jobs, but to actual hours worked, it is worth considering nearshoring. By using the potential of specialists from various fields, available in one place, you can significantly reduce expenses, gaining services at the highest level. You do not have to build new departments and teams in your company or hire anyone for stationery. You also save the time needed to recruit. If you need support in the implementation of any digital transformation project, use our offshoring today. During the pandemic, many of our new clients became convinced of this model of cooperation and regretted that they decided on it so late. If you are looking for an extended team, let us know - we will be happy to be part of the change that will benefit your organization.