Business technology covers a broad scope of technologies that are integrated into business operations. For many businesses, this includes various information technologies, such as virtual meeting software and virtual private networks. For others, it may extend to automation technologies, spanning from the use of robots in manufacturing to sophisticated emailed marking schemes, designed to target a specific customer’s preferences.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to realize the importance of information technology infrastructure for maintaining and supporting business operations. With the introduction of restrictions for on-site work for many industries, the entire video conferencing sector saw a huge boom in 2020, with Zoom realizing a 400% increase in its share price in just one year.
The question remains though, as global infection rates drop and the vaccination rollout continues, how will business technologies continue to evolve in a post-pandemic era? Will the success of Zoom and other ‘Covid stocks’ be a short-lived blip on the markets or are these technologies here to stay?
Probably the biggest factor in influencing how business technologies will evolve will be how present ‘working from home’ remains in the post-pandemic era. For roles that can be done remotely, views on home-working are mixed. Many companies are seeing this as an opportunity to drop costly real-estate but others are concerned about the impact on mentoring, building team and customer relations, and creativity that remote teams are facing.
Generally, while a reduction in overall home-working numbers is expected, it is predicted that a hybrid model will prevail with employees spending part of their time in the office and the rest of the time working from home. More home working doesn’t just mean investment in video conferencing software, but also cybersecurity and IT infrastructure for remote access to software and files. Another area of business technology that may see significant growth from this is remote monitoring and surveillance software, as managers try to find ways to assess staff productivity and attendance.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is one development that has affected many different areas of business technologies. Developments in AI technologies have made it possible not just to automate basic manufacturing tasks, but also to outsource image recognition-based tasks, including those for medical diagnosis and driverless vehicles. AI has already proven to be a very successful business technology in delivering increased revenues through data-driven marketing schemes.
Post-pandemic, with many companies having experienced financial pressures from a loss of revenue, greater adoption of AI technologies and their potential efficiency improvement and cost savings, will look appealing. Many early adopters of AI technologies have already benefitted extensively from use of the technology across all aspects of business operations, from marketing to HR.
Business technologies will be relied upon even more heavily in a post-pandemic world than now. With the increased demand for communication between a geographically spread workforce and the need for businesses to drive cost and efficiency savings, business technologies will look like an attractive and worthwhile area of investment.
With AI technologies continuing to improve, particularly in the areas of image recognition and natural language processing, even traditionally AI-averse areas may soon find themselves turning this into one of their core business technologies.
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