Tech post-COVID

“We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months.”

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, April 29, 2020

“…the first half of 2020 saw an increase in e-commerce equivalent to that of the previous ten years.”

McKinsey & Company, January 4, 2021

Industry consensus is pointing toward the coronavirus crisis accelerating cloud computing, remote work, and a more digital economy in general. Most roads lead to “more tech,” much of it built here.

Amazon, Microsoft, and Google are number one, two, and three in public cloud computing. Microsoft and Google are leaders in technologies for remote work. As the tech giants emerge from the crisis with more customers buying more products and services, those same customers will be continuing their own digital digital transformation efforts that the crisis turbocharged.

Manufacturers need more automation and robotics. Educational institutions need more online learning. Healthcare will do more telemedicine. Both online shopping and entertainment have surged and a lot of that growth is likely to stick.

And every big company will want a back-up plan for remote work in the event of another pandemic.

Competition for tech talent will be even fiercer.

A river of money will be flowing in and through Washington–the only question is whether we will muster the political will to tap it to accelerate recovery for all.

We’ve collected some examples of the emerging consensus of a “more digital economy” below.

The digital-led recovery from COVID-19: Five questions for CEOs (McKinsey & Company)

There’s a popular meme going around that neatly captures the tipping point of digital. It’s a short questionnaire asking who is driving your digital transformation. The first two options are “CEO” and “chief digital officer.” Below that, highlighted with a bright red circle, is “COVID-19.”

The coronavirus pandemic is a humanitarian crisis that continues to take a tragic toll on people’s lives. There’s no denying it is also acting as a catalyst for change—economic, societal, personal, and corporate—on a scale not seen since wartime. The scale of the change and the speed at which it’s happening is shining a bright light on the fact that companies are facing a once-in-a-generation shift. And for all the uncertainty about what the future will look like, it’s clear already that it will be digital.

We believe the COVID-19 crisis is likely to significantly accelerate the shift to digital and fundamentally shake up the business landscape.

Coronavirus Is Widening the Corporate Digital Divide (Harvard Business Review)

The stakes for digital transformation have increased dramatically. Now, digitizing the operating architecture of the firm is not simply a recipe for higher performance, but much more fundamental for worker employment and public health.

Covid-19: Protect, Recover and Retool (Bain & Co)

Use digitalization and partnerships to help your organization and operations increase resilience, scale, and speed…Trends like digital and automation that were evident before we entered the crisis have accelerated and will accelerate further.

Coronavirus: CIO Areas of Focus During the COVID-19 Outbreak (Gartner)

“The value of digital channels, products and operations is immediately obvious to companies everywhere right now.”…“This is a wake-up call for organizations that have placed too much focus on daily operational needs at the expense of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Businesses that can shift technology capacity and investments to digital platforms will mitigate the impact of the outbreak and keep their companies running smoothly now, and over the long term.”

The Rise of the AI-Powered Company in the Postcrisis World (BCG)

…COVID-19 is likely to be no different from other crises. It will greatly accelerate several major trends that were already well underway before the outbreak and that will continue as companies shift their focus to recovery. For instance, rather than heavily concentrating sourcing and production in a few low-cost locations, companies will build more redundancy into their value chains. …Consumers will purchase more and more goods and services online. And increasing numbers of people will work remotely.

We believe that the application of artificial intelligence will be immensely valuable in helping companies adapt to these trends.