The world is facing the unprecedented challenge of COVID 19. In the first place, it’s our lives and health that are in danger. But our businesses are also facing troubles. How do we keep the ball rolling and continue making the world a better place? Can we contribute to fighting COVID 19?
This article is for those in tech – engaged in software development, research or distribution – no matter what your role is. Be you a startup founder or CTO of a global in-house center – we are in the same boat and experience similar challenges. Let’s see how to overcome them.
At Riseapps, we’ve been continuously exploring how tech companies all over the globe are responding to the COVID 19 crisis. For our colleagues, clients, partners and friends, we listed the key tech trends and solutions for overcoming the turbulent times. Read on.
Global tech industry challenges
I assume you are already flooded with COVID-19 news, so I won’t list it here. Let’s just say that OECD cut world economic growth predictions by half. As the crisis reverberates through all industries, the tech sector has been challenged as well.
Simply put, tech companies are facing two issues. The first is a disruption in productivity, the second one is a disturbance in demand for goods and services. Let’s say more about it.
1. Disruption in productivity
Staff productivity losses is a challenge most companies face. Many factors are contributing to this – from facility closures to distracted attention of people attending to personal needs in pandemic times.
Arguably, it’s hardware companies that are facing the biggest productivity challenges because of the supply-side disruptions. The example would be Apple claiming iPhone supplies will be hammered, or Microsoft having similar issues with its hardware products. Going forward, it all leads to fewer sales.
Decreased learning and collaboration opportunities is another productivity bummer. Recently, my Ukrainian friend flew to the US to participate in SaaStr Annual 2020, but came back as wise as before, as the event was called off. Another friend working at Facebook lamented that their top-notch F8 Developer Conference was canceled.
How does the industry tackle these productivity challenges? We’ll see in the “Trends and Solutions” section.
2. Disruption in demand
In short, quarantines, shutdowns, restrictions, etc. are leading to a decline in IT spending. Online industries are suffering the most. E.g. demand for travel aggregators and booking platforms is dropping off the cliff because of severe travel restrictions.
Startups are the most vulnerable group facing these disruptions. For them, the slowdown might mean not only fewer customers, but also longer sales cycles, less traction, and a much harder time fundraising – all at once.
However, many businesses are lucky to avoid this challenge, as their products and software happen to be in demand in pandemic times.
We’ll get back to it in a jiff.
Now, let’s see how businesses respond to the challenges mentioned above.
How does the tech industry respond to COVID-19? 3 trends and solutions
1. Making the most of distant work
Shifting to remote work is probably the biggest tech trend nowadays, as coronavirus hit the planet. From giants to startups – companies all over the globe embrace distant collaboration to stay safe and tackle the productivity challenge.
The trend isn’t new. The rate of employees working from home has been increasing for years. Now, however, coronavirus might be creating a watershed moment for remote work, and the tendency is here to stay.
Arguably, in-house companies will be hiring nationwide or globally more often. Staff augmentation and software outsourcing will become even more widespread, being the most sensible and cost-effective solution for mobile and web development.
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The trend of remote collaboration is going even further. Meetings become electronic, while tech conferences are now going virtual – many of them are already scheduled for the next year with sessions streaming over HD video.
To wrap it up, re-orienting your organization around BYOO, remote collaboration and staff augmentation seem to be the key trends helping to cope with the lasting threat of pandemic.
2. Fortifying organizational strategies
With challenges COVID-19 brings, many companies make changes to their high-level plans.
E.g. experts advise prioritizing revenue over growth in the short-run. The reason is simple: cash is the king, so one shouldn’t spend money on anything that won’t generate it in the nearest future. This tip might be especially helpful for startups facing longer sales cycles and funding.
In this light, software development companies that take deliberate care of clients’ finances, making sure they don’t waste a dime and offering a super-clear development plan, will be in high demand.
For hardware tech businesses, it’s sensible to identify weak points in their supply chains. In general, experts also advise leveraging your expertise and networks to share learnings on dealing with COVID-19.
To put it short, the key expert tip here is about revising your organizational strategies and priorities, while acknowledging the value of every existing or potential client.
3. Offering products and services that help
Some businesses manage to make an opportunity out of the downturn. But let’s make it clear: we don’t condone profiting from tragedy. We are talking about assisting people and industries in need, which can actually be a lifesaver.
There’s been a clear surge in demand for telemedicine apps, doctor-by-video startups and videoconferencing tools in general. Online identity verification startups have also seen increased usage. There are plenty of tech solutions that bring enormous value in the challenging times. Can we all consider helping the world suffering pandemic?
For example, a company designed a wristband buzzing when you touch your face. Or here’s a story about Italian start-up 3D that printed valves to help coronavirus patients.
It’s not necessarily about building brand-new software. If you already have a product, you may consider whether it can be aligned with the need of health and life protection? E.g. adding chat or conferencing features to your tool can contribute to social distancing while satisfying people’s need in communication.
At the time I’m finishing this article, China is recovering with no new local infections. Hopefully, the whole world will reach this milestone soon and the pandemic will be over. I believe that we all can contribute to it.
Simply put, there are two main challenges our industry is facing that are both about disruption – in productivity and demand. Businesses respond to them by shifting to remote work, making amends to their strategies, and offering products and services that help to fight the pandemic.
If you are up to build a product of software assisting those in need, feel free to contact us.
We wish you peace in these turbulent times.