Most experts agree that COVID-19 is going to be around for some time. Widespread availability of a vaccine is at least 18 months away. But business can’t and won’t be on hold during that time. Technology will play a pivotal role in running your business during the pandemic. So far, many firms have focused their pandemic technology strategy on enabling remote workers. But now they need to widen their scope.
We’ve moved to the next phase of the pandemic (see the blog from our CEO, George Colony). Firms must now define new ways of working, traveling, and connecting. Beyond enabling a remote workforce, you’ll now need to manage ongoing business risk, engage customers seamlessly across channels, bolster the employee experience of a hybrid workforce, and protect the health and safety of employees, customers, and partners. And by the way, you’re going to do all of this during a time of great unpredictability. Stephanie Balaouras, Caleb Ewald, Ben Corey, and I have published a report, “Essential Technology Solutions For Pandemic Management,” that addresses what you need to do.
So how should you strategize for technology during the pandemic? Evaluate your needs in these four categories:
- Risk and crisis management solutions. These solutions help you respond quickly to disruptions and crises, manage through a second wave of outbreaks, and identify financial weaknesses in critical suppliers and partners. This category includes crisis management and communication platforms, supply chain mapping solutions, and business-continuity planning software.
- Employee experience (EX) and human capital management (HCM) solutions. EX solutions enable remote workforce productivity, while HCM solutions support learning and management of workforce needs. Think about content and collaboration platforms for the former and workforce analytics and learning experience platforms for the latter.
- Customer experience solutions. These solutions help you replace live customer interactions with digital interactions, give feedback on how customer sentiment is changing during the pandemic, and provide greater insights into customer behaviors. They include open mapping platforms, social listening platforms, and customer feedback management platforms.
- Health and safety solutions. This category includes technologies to support employee screening, notify employees if they’ve been in contact with infected coworkers, gather data on employee symptoms, help with social distancing, and support employee mental health. These solutions include contact tracing, health status monitoring, and social distancing surveillance.
And don’t forget: Security, privacy, and automation aren’t optional. You should consider these issues in every pandemic tech decision you make (remember Zoom-bombing?). The solutions in the health and safety category, in particular, come chock-full of privacy and regulatory issues.
To learn more about these technologies, please read our report.