COVID-19 will permanently alter business and technology. No kidding

Augurs working for the analyst outfit Forrester say that COVID-19 will usher in five macro shifts that will permanently alter business and technology.

In a  new report with the catchy title, “The New, Unstable Normal: How COVID-19 Will Change Business And Technology Forever,” Forrester describes how, despite modern healthcare and the implementation of extensive pandemic management protocols (PMPs), the effects of COVID-19 will continue to surface over the next decade and will cause profound near-, medium-, and long-term impacts.

Firstly customers decisions will start to be influenced by safety and convenience. The report said that the pandemic has affected global consumers in different ways, with their risk sensitivity and desire for convenience varying across region, age, and culture.

In the short term there will be a  wide contrast in how countries and consumers rely on digital solutions. For example, 60 percent of metropolitan Chinese online adults are buying more online, while more than 35 percent of US and UK online adults still prefer in-store purchases.

In the medium term, the financial strain and lack of in-person group interaction – people meeting each other in honestSpeak – will cause consumers to feel a lack of meaning and purpose. This will influence spending on trusted brands that connect them to a greater cause.

In the longer term consumers will opt for brands that offer the most control over buying experiences.

As values-based consumers question the ethics of brands and as all experiences become digital in some way, new design practices will emerge that blend emotion and insights. What that means in honestSpeak we can’t construe.

But in the medium term good design and “user experience practices” will become even more critical, and journeys will focus on outcomes, not products.

Later, firms that can convince consumers to buy into sharing more personal data, such as biometric or behavioural data, will deliver anticipatory experiences that predict their shopping, financial, and entertainment needs.

Firms and governments investing in what was once impossible to drive the future of work: The pandemic has revealed the ability to do things that once seemed infeasible, including shifting entire workforces to remote working.

This means that in the short-term firms with the biggest competitive edge will unite humans and technology (e.g., artificial intelligence or automation) to build engaged workforces.

What will happen next is that remote working will boost regions around global economic hubs as firms shed more than a quarter of their city-centre office space.

Later the redistribution of work will result in the further global emptying and repurposing of offices.

Smart firms will start retiring technical debt fast and then riding the tech disruption wave, Forrester says.

Tech and business leaders that accelerate digital outputs — by retiring technical debt — and “re-platform” systems, per the pandemic, will acquire a robust digital operating platform and the needed flexibility to overhaul business models.

Over time firms will work to develop more transparent and flexible supply chains while restructuring processes such as procurement and logistics with blockchain/distributed ledger technology.

Then technological innovations like electrification and automation will further change how we get around, where we live, and how we produce and use energy.

Forester predicts that business resiliency will become a competitive advantage: Regardless of any crises, business resiliency allows organisations to deliver on their vision and brand promises.

Organisations will invest in business continuity capabilities such as crisis management while increasing business continuity testing for future pandemics and the most common risk scenarios.

Later issues like corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and climate risk will become part of the overall business supply chain agenda and strategy.

Forrester  VP and Group Director Stephanie Balaouras said the pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we do business.

“It has forced firms and policymakers to do things that were previously considered impossible. As a result, business leaders are quickly embracing new, iterative ways to engage with customers, adapting to new ways of working, investing in technology innovation, and revisiting their business resiliency plans for long-term success.”

Didn’t most of us know all this without Forrester putting the English language in a torture chamber?