Technology takeover: How coronavirus has changed businesses

If there’s one thing the response to coronavirus has taught us, it’s that many businesses can react quickly to changing economic and environmental change.

In the fight for survival against coronavirus, organisations who previously resisted technology have now implemented it and changed their working practices.

Why are some organisations resistant to introducing new technology?

There are many reasons organisations resist implementing new technology despite being aware of the benefits it can bring and how the coronavirus has changed the world.

Cost

Many businesses, sole traders and SMEs can’t afford to buy and implement technology or train their employees to use it. More substantial organisations who have invested in legacy technology are unwilling to spend more or don’t understand how new technology can integrate with their current systems.

Fear of the unknown

Introducing technology often brings transformational change which employees won’t accept unless it’s managed effectively. Resistance to change is inherent in many of us, especially in a work setting where change is usually forced on people with no control over the situation. The less people know about what’s happening, the more they will fight it. Some businesses will put off introducing technology because of the upheaval it brings and the unwillingness of staff to accept it.

Unsure which technology to choose

With so many technologies available, organisations can find the choice overwhelming. The rate technology develops adds to the confusion. Businesses don’t want to invest as their choice may quickly become outdated, leaving them with little or no return on their investment.

The benefits of technology

Technology has helped businesses save money during the coronavirus pandemic. It has enabled employees to work from home and organisations to change the products they are manufacturing quickly and move into different markets. More importantly, it is helping to fight the virus – for example, with infrared thermometers, tracking apps, and AI predicting where outbreaks will be likely.

Saves lives

Technology is enabling people to work from home. Superfast broadband, digital communication tools, cloud-based applications and data storage all make remote working possible, stopping the virus from spreading, and saving lives.

It can be set up quickly

Remote desktop protocols (RDPs) and virtual private networks (VPNs) can be set up to allow employees to work from home relatively quickly. They are sufficient for businesses that don’t use resource-heavy applications but can use a lot of bandwidth. Another option is virtualisation software, such as VMware and Citrix, which give a more stable home working experience.

Saves money

Technology is a great way for companies to save money. For example, remote working helps organisations and their staff save – employees spend less on travel costs, clothing and food, and they are often more productive as they can manage their work more productively and experience fewer interruptions.

Companies can save on rent and overheads by reducing the size of offices or getting rid of them altogether. They can also save on business travel as employees use video conferencing to hold meetings rather than travelling to meet someone face to face.

Enables fast changes in the direction of product manufacturing

Technologies such as 3D printing and advanced digital design apps have enabled businesses to change production direction in days rather than months and years. For example, the Royal Mint has made visors for healthcare staff, and electronics firm Sharp is now making surgical masks.

Coronavirus has left an indelible mark on the world, ensuring how we work has changed. It has been more disruptive than any technology. It has swept away any hesitation or fear organisations had about changing the way they work and opened up alternative possibilities. Now we have an opportunity to take the positives and make them a permanent part of our working lives, benefiting companies, employees and the environment.