Has The Pandemic Ripened Business & Technology's Amity?

Marketers advocate that companies must position technology at the centerpiece of their business today, as it counts for a key reason to survive & thrive

Assessing technology’s role in any business today is a daft thought. Its strength has been well established and is certainly inseparable from most part of our day’s work. However, it is particularly interesting to witness the way it has advanced through the various stages, opening newer avenues for everyone around. It has redefined the business processes, functions, deliveries and growth at a massive level by changing the traditional ways how businesses operate. The adoption of cutting-edge technologies in businesses such as CRM, Martech, AI-powered solutions, Machine Learning, Cloud Computing, Conversational Technologies and collaboration tools have begotten a paradigm shift that none would have imagined a few years ago.

Its role has been even more deeply appreciated post the pandemic, having enabled businesses to survive the storm. It has made us believe that technology today is a need, perhaps sometimes without a clear explanation. Almost that the inertia of the market takes us there, without having time to ask ourselves why I am using what they call technology.

Hareesh Tibrewala, Joint CEO, Mirum India points that while technology began as a productivity enhancer, it has become ‘the way to conduct business' in the current times. “No business, big or small or B2B or B2C can survive anymore if you are not able to use technology to establish a relationship with your customer and be able to deliver products and services to the customer online,” he says.

Sooraj Balakrishnan, Head-Marketing, Acer India gives us a sense of how technology today is opening up tremendous opportunities for business. “It is helping businesses streamline operations, predict future opportunities, optimize their products/services and serve customers better. With the pandemic, it has shown businesses that the only way to minimize disruptions and maintain business continuity is by making technology at the centerpiece of their business. Automation and AI can help companies introduce three key traits - agility, flexibility, and responsiveness - enabling companies to better adapt to fast-changing situations.”

However, for Sahil Shah, Chief Business Officer, WATConsult, technology is not changing business but disrupting the way businesses used to operate, “Ten years ago, who would have thought that we will have an app-based startup becoming an exchange-listed behemoth and that’s happened by one big driving force- technology. And it is everywhere. Right from the backend jobs to the customer-facing interfaces, technology has enabled more efficient ways for businesses and customers alike."

A Matured Friendship Post Pandemic?

At a macro-economic level, the impact of technology pre-pandemic was globalisation (ability to build and manage very large global corporations) and digitisation (everything being converted into bits and bytes). Now the pandemic has added one more dimension- dispersion. Technology has now brought businesses to the customer's doorstep and it has only expanded during the past two years. For Sunil Mirani, CEO, and Co-founder, Ugam this relationship is now more cohesive, agile, and quick. It is also increasingly centered on the customer experience.

Tabrez Alam, Chief Data & Strategy Officer, Bobble AI quips that in just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions operate and do business, “Digital adoption has taken a quantum leap at both the organizational and industry levels. During the pandemic, consumers have moved dramatically toward online channels, and companies and industries have responded in turn. 

Every activity and function that could move online did, fueling a mass digital migration. Businesses also turned to digital tools in new ways. Collaboration and learning have seen a change by use of technology that helps to coordinate teams and train them to increase their productivity with the teleconferencing tools, webinars, file sharing via clouds, IM etc.”

A recent McKinsey study also stamps that the average share of global interactions gone digital globally has accelerated by three years, where APAC's adoption has accelerated by four years.

Chandralika Hazarika, MD & Co-Founder, Bigthinx further asserts that post the pandemic, businesses adapted to a much greater reliance and dependence on technology, where the ones that were always human-centric have learned to adopt technology as a means to help them operate better. “Today, many businesses have used technology to reduce their dependence on human labor while reaping the benefits that reliable technology brings to the table. This has also required new means of educating the workforce to be open and welcoming to the use of technology: something that was never a priority pre-pandemic,” she adds.

Dimpy Yadav National Head- Client Engagement, Xaxis India also marks a new era in the digital media advertising world where these advanced technologies are promising the evolution of media effectiveness by addressing cross-device targeting, audience reach unification, hyper-personalization and 360-degree measurement. 

She further states “As the pandemic unfolds, the businesses that keep their strategies agile will come out winners as they swiftly navigate the challenging times. The hook that connects consumers with marketers in this changing world is technology, especially through AI & hyper-personalisation.” 

Experts maintain that without technology and connectivity, it would have been a scary proposition in situations like this pandemic. It is this technology that has somewhere weathered these small and large businesses from the storm, helping them sail with reduced jolts.