Even with its challenges, 2020 has been a massive year for IT and technology for businesses across the globe. With little time or choice, the world has undergone rapid adoption of remote working solutions; but we have also seen technology utilised in more innovative, niche ways.
In industries like hospitality and catering, self-service has been on the rise. Customers are increasing using self-scanners and check-in without human interaction, causing employees to shift to more warehouse-focused roles. Meanwhile, other industries are trending towards full automation. Hotel staff have been replaced by room service robots, while factory and online customer service workers have been substituted for machines and AI bots. Businesses have had these plans in place for a while now, but the Covid-19 outbreak was the catalyst of change and spurred rapid acceleration.
Additionally, Businesses have adapted and started to offer virtual experiences to continue operations. Concerts, tradeshows and sporting events continue to be hosted successfully online. Estate agents are providing fully virtual viewings.
Over the past nine months, there has also been a huge and natural adoption of cloud computing tools across businesses of all shapes and sizes. Microsoft massively profited with this growth as its Teams platform reached 4.1 billion meeting minutes in a single day.
Globally, 85% of companies have accelerated their use of collaboration technology this year, with 35% claiming digitisation of their supply chain. The swift evolution of technology has no doubt saved companies and lives, but there have been many challenges along the way. Organisations have had to adapt their security and IT practices quickly which, for large enterprises, has lead to many complications and disasters.
A Nintendo breach earlier this year saw 300,000 user accounts compromised. Twitter’s spearphishing attack saw cyberattackers posting as some of the most influential people in the world. EasyJet reported the breach of 9 million data records, including 2,200 credit card entries. Marriott saw 5.2 million hotel guests impacted after the hack of two employee accounts.
Frequent data breaches led to a tough year for consumer trust, teaching us some important lessons. Moving into 2021, businesses are more aware of the importance of cyber-security, regardless of their industry, size or nature.
By now every organisation should be aware that end-user training on cloud technology and security is vital to keep businesses protected. It can be difficult to educate employees as we all work from home, but organisations should rise to that challenge .
The widespread use of robotic and machine learning technology has enabled rapid advancements and significant cost savings. Adoption and benefits will continue long after the pandemic subsides, so businesses, employees, and governments should embrace and adapt to these modern working conditions and methods.
Finally, and perhaps most crucially, organisations should use Covid-19 as a reminder that disasters do happen and should be planned for. Regardless of size, businesses should have specific procedures in place to weather unexpected circumstances.
Keeping up with the latest technological trends is an important part of this. Companies who test and implement modern solutions on a regular basis will naturally run into fewer risks when forced to roll them out on a mass scale. Being proactive with technology almost always leads to benefits in the long term.