Since the COVID-19 pandemic, much has changed about the way we do business. Remote work has become increasingly prevalent, customer interaction has shifted, and behind it all is the technology used to do business. Now more than ever, organizations are relying on technology and the digital landscape. Learn what NetGain Vice President of Operations Hayder Allebban predicts for 2021 business technology.
Working From Home is Here to Stay
Allebban says that the shift to WFH is here to stay. He explains that over half of employees want to be remote at least three days out of the week, while executives desire for 3 days in the office, so there is still a balance to find between those two groups. However, he explains that the shift has been successful in terms of executive satisfaction as well as employee productivity. There are new benefits to remote work, such as the increase in pool of talent to be acquired for your business.
One challenge, he explains, is employee training (for both new and veteran employees), as well as company culture. Technology will be important to leverage for this challenge, although it is still evolving to fill those gaps. It is important to consider what leveraging these tools will look like for your particular business.
Allebban went on to explain that collaboration will be an important part of 2021 business technology. Investment in collaboration tools will be essential for businesses. Software such as Microsoft Teams and Microsoft 365 is useful to help employees stay in touch, in real time, and work together on projects to stay productive even while remote. Microsoft Viva is a new software to track employee well-being as well, to adapt to the physical distance between managers and employees. Allebban also stressed that online training is important, and a resource that potentially can be tapped into more due to the structure of remote work today.
“Going digital” is another important shift for this year. Technology has shifted forward 3-4 years, Allebban explains, so if you do not keep up with the shift you will now be 3-4 years behind. It is important to pay attention to how customers are interacting with your business, and how you are delivering your product or service to them, he said, no matter what your industry is. Digital engagement it is an all time high, and although it may not be at the same level as the pandemic resolves, it will still be at a higher engagement level than pre-pandemic. It means different things for different industries, he explained, such as the use of Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs) in the financial industry, and telehealth in the healthcare industry. Further investment in digital tools may be worth it, as costs for office buildings and other expenses that no longer exist due to remote work, Allebban said.
Moving forward, Allebban says, it is important to consider how you will maintain the agility needed for the work from home and digital transformation shift. Cloud is a critical part of that, as it allows employees to work from anywhere, engage with customers anywhere, and can save you money due to the fact that you no longer need to store physical servers and maintain them if you shift to the cloud. Allebban says that more and more small to medium sized businesses are investing in the cloud, as they find benefit in the agility cloud provides. “As-a-Service” models within cloud are also beneficial for smaller businesses to engage, as they can allow those businesses to have access to features and expertise they could not afford in-house.
As Allebban said, technology had to adapt rapidly to the pandemic and many changes of 2020. 2021 business technology will continue to change as the effects of 2020 continue. All of the above topics are important to consider as your business moves forward with 2021 strategic planning.