A New Year – A New Normal- A New Beginning – Welcome 2021!!

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Keeping abreast of change –

Over the years, businesses have strived to keep tabs of the very dynamic market and  today, when the world is gearing up to adopt the  post-COVID19 normalcy, it is essential that businesses should adapt to the changes in order to stay abreast with the changing times and thrive. One change which is permanent and here to stay, albeit in variations, is the adoption of technology. According to Tuhina Pandey, Communications lead in IBM India and South Asia,  “We are living in a digitally flat world where space and time do not matter anymore – the digital divide has been bridged.”  In tandem with this, I wish to emphasize that the  adoption of technology is being seen as the ‘mother trend’ giving birth to various new trends for us to adopt if we wish to deal with the competitive nature of the market. What is immensely heartening is the view of Sanjeeva Shivesh, Founder & CEO, The Enentrepreneurship School who says with regards to technology adoption by women that, “It’s not a technical challenge as India is producing maximum women engineers. So, it’s not a challenge as most people think, and I keep meeting women who are great with technology.” In support of this view, Jahnabi Phookan, National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) says, “… this pandemic has boosted the digital revolution in India which could act as a highly profitable domain for women entrepreneurs in the near future as it has already helped them to sustain their businesses in such harsh times.” 

Looking out for business trends for more visibility –

As the economy has begun to roll on after a re-boot, significant changes owing to  customer needs have been trending. COVID-19 has brought in a new normal, where work-from-home (anywhere) is commonly accepted. It has liberated people from traditional norms and ideas that, only working from office yields higher productivity, builds the desired corporate culture, and aids in the overall development of business. The trend of working-from-home has led to localisation, creating innumerable opportunities and women are best placed to exploit these opportunities!  This inferred, Sanjeeva Shivesh, Founder & CEO, The Enentrepreneurship School claims, “I am sure WFH is going to usher in a golden era of entrepreneurship. The next 3-4 years are going to be a wave of super entrepreneurship!”  Also, the growth of a hybrid workspace and culture  has allowed the entire ecosystem to function, while alongside granting almost everyone the comfort and flexibility of working from ‘anywhere’. This agile system of work is a trend we would not wish to let go of easily. This shift is a fine balance between work from home and work from office premises and this will lead to reduced travel costs, more virtual interactions and  lesser physical contact.

Again,  Cloud Computing has become an indispensable part of businesses as remote work and Gen Alpha technologies resulting in creation of digital business and  the AI era have become a reality. As a matter of fact, looking at the year gone by, the growth of tech trends such as AI, ML and data analytics is certain in 2021.

The shift to Cloud has been real, rapid and perhaps permanent. One of the business features which was unveiled during the pandemic, was the advantage of a distributed set-up. Tech savvy companies which have been successful in adopting cloud and seamlessly handle data and projects are clear winners in the pandemic time; conveying an obvious message to all other companies to get rid of their scepticism in the adoption of cloud.  Cloud investments will be inevitable and huge in the future and so now is the time to make the ‘big shift’, if you already haven’t!

Also, businesses have been swift in adopting technology and automation as an integral part of their systems as it has become viable and necessary; one of their smartest moves in the new normal!   The changes caused by COVID-19 have already reshaped the work ecosystem and the use of machines to boost efficiency in business practices and also to keep associates safe, is the way ahead. In support of accepting technology and automation,  Jenny Sarang, Co-founder and coach at  MyJen.ai, says, “ Companies are starting to get more comfortable with virtual training.”  AI supported innovations aiding in the supply-chain systems, managing communication and transportations is what the world is bracing for. Easy to integrate automation tools are  helping entrepreneurs to interact with consumers, bill and deliver to clients without constantly being present  at their computers. Chatbots are making online interactions less tedious and more appropriate and quick. Undoubtedly, automation is saving time, money and physical efforts, thereby making it a feature which is here to stay!

Furthermore,  the quick adoption of online, contact-less payment methods has ‘saved the day’ for many enterprises, especially SMEs. With the advent of mobile -commerce, modes of payment like Apple Pay, PayPal and even bitcoin have become increasingly prevalent, and entrepreneurs can leverage these options to gain more customers and continue  the cash inflow.

Finally, Artificial Intelligence will play a critical role as we are moving not only towards a distributed workplace but also a distributed marketplace. Limited interaction with consumers and workers, will push us towards adoption of platforms supported by AI to be able to interact, produce and deliver products in time.  This trend is undoubtedly a more proactive approach to do business – and that is definitely the future. However, considering that all opportunities bring along challenges and vice-versa, while leveraging the opportunities created, we should be equipped to manoeuvre the challenges as well. Therefore, the need for digital security becomes imperative as we bridge the digital gap in endeavouring to become Atma Nirbhar. Counteracting cyber-threats is most essential now, in order to curb the huge losses borne by enterprises and people caused due to security breaches. Owing to this, the need for digital security tools will see a boom in the years to come

Thus, you must revamp your business strategy to fit into the new workplace engagement model and all said, businesses are adopting these mega-trends to remain relevant while aiming to build back better in 2021. It is a new year, a new beginning in the new normal, where we must aim higher to scale greater heights.  

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