Information Technology (IT) is a major focus with business leaders who have spoken to GlobalData. They almost unanimously agree that there will be no return to the way things were before Covid-19.

Very few businesses are reducing their IT spending and around 50% of businesses have said they have increased their IT budgets in response to Covid-19, according to new research by GlobalData. However, the process goes deeper as enterprises are reconsidering their whole approach to technology.

Increased levels of home working and flexible working practices were already trends before Covid-19 and those trends have been magnified and solidified by the crisis. Businesses also expect travel to be less frequent and for a greater percentage of internal and customer-facing meetings to be conducted remotely rather than in person.

Collaboration technologies (e.g., Zoom, Microsoft Teams) are seen as long-term mission critical to respond to remote working trends in all businesses. These technologies will also perform vertical-specific roles, such as supporting telemedicine or enabling retail banks to do more business via video meetings.

Automation may expand in call centres

Covid-19 has tested many businesses’ contact centers to breaking point. The closure of (most) brick and mortar branches has left contact centers as the only means of contacting most businesses, whilst the pressures of lockdown have increased call volumes.

In response, businesses have turned to technology providers to see how they can improve their customer service solutions – and in many cases the answer has been through automation. This includes both the use of Interactive Voice Response platforms, and also through increased use of chatbots.

These technologies are not new, but many businesses who had, for reasons of either doubt or inertia, not yet invested in them are now finding that they can deliver flexibility and high levels of customer satisfaction.

Robotics to increase in manufacturing

The trend for automation goes beyond customer contact. Manufacturing has been one of the most heavily affected industries as lockdown has meant that factories have had to close down.

Automation in a factory is more difficult than in a contact center, but technologies such as 5G, edge computing, and the Internet of Things (IoT) mean that greater levels of automation are achievable in sites such as factories, warehouses, and mines.

IT network performance monitored remotely

Covid-19 has also underlined for businesses the importance of being able to manage people and systems from anywhere – whether that is giving contact center managers/supervisors the ability to monitor calls from a separate location, or allowing the IT manager to monitor network performance whilst not in the office.

These are only a few examples of technologies that businesses are turning to. GlobalData’s research makes it clear that the rate of change will increase as necessity forces even more conservative industries to embrace technological change.

Covid-19 will change the way businesses and people interact, either as employees or customers, forever.

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