Embracing Experimentation: Predictions on COVID-19’s Long-Term Business Impact

Coronavirus has forced businesses in every industry to experiment and pivot. When the crisis ends, that mindset won’t disappear. Instead, companies and consumers will lean into experimentation, rethink how they’ve always done things and embrace technologies that felt futuristic just a few months ago. Here’s how nine business and tech leaders predict it will play out.

We’ll all prepare for the unexpected

Companies will proactively prepare for the next crisis, predicts Sudheesh Nair, CEO of ThoughtSpot: “This crisis has shown that modern supply chains must evolve to better handle unexpected disruption. To do this, businesses must leverage data in more sophisticated ways to identify unseen events sooner, gauge impact and make more intelligent decisions about how to source and deliver supplies. Looking forward, investments in augmented analytics will help businesses better understand their customers’ changing needs and influence stronger decision-making.”

Betterment for Business Director of Product Edward Gottfried also believes COVID-19 will mirror the 2008 recession in changing people’s approaches to their finances: “This pandemic will spur today’s young people to seek a deeper understanding of their overall financial picture: creating emergency funds, contributing more to their 401ks, avoiding early withdrawals and diversifying their investment portfolios. More employers will also prepare their employees for financial hardships like market downturns, illnesses in the employee’s family or unexpected interruptions in childcare.”

“This pandemic will spur today’s young people to seek a deeper understanding of their overall financial picture: creating emergency funds, contributing more to their 401ks, avoiding early withdrawals and diversifying their investment portfolios.”

—Edward Gottfried, Betterment for Business Director of Product

Companies and consumers will rethink value

“Right now, people are calling businesses more frequently to address their urgent needs, from refinancing a mortgage to upgrading their wireless plan,” says Invoca CEO Gregg Johnson. “In the future, they’ll remember the value of those conversations and expect to be able to reach a human who will respond with empathy.”

“Retailers are embracing new practices to build tangible value for their customers,” says Dosh Founder & CEO Ryan Wuerch. “After COVID-19, they’ll take a step back from their digital media strategies and put a magnifying glass on what builds that value and a strengthened brand experience. For example, putting cash back in customers’ pockets can be far more meaningful for sales and brand building than traditional digital advertising.”

“Nice to have” technology will become “need to have”

With a long-term shift to remote work, Ping Identity Founder & CEO Andre Durand says that, “Underlying all digital interactions, secure and trusted identity must be ubiquitous to ensure that interactions and transactions are as secure in the digital world as they are in the physical world. In digital, the where is anywhere, the when is 24/7 and the how is mobile. Post COVID-19, digital is no longer the nice to have or back-up strategy. It’s the future, and the future is now.”

Ansys CTO Prith Banerjee foresees a shift in our perception of autonomous vehicles: “Trust in autonomous driving has historically been low given the slow pace of development and highly publicized incidents. Now, public opinion is shifting as consumers realize the positive applications it can have in this crisis. For instance, autonomous vehicles can safely deliver food and medicine, and transport people while maintaining a social distance. Expect increased investment in R&D initiatives and simulation technologies, which bring autonomous vehicles to market sooner and more affordably. AV technology will help the world prepare for inevitable future viruses.”

We’ll also embrace remote healthcare, says Waystar CEO Matt Hawkins: “Healthcare providers have rapidly accelerated implementation of telemedicine. Waystar’s billing data showed that telehealth grew 102x since mid-March, meaning hospitals and providers have been quickly converting from office-based to home-based care. After COVID-19, we suspect that demand for remote healthcare access will continue. The government and the healthcare industry will need to work together to ensure that healthcare remains accessible and convenient for all.”

Systems that govern work will become more flexible

“Our shift to remote work is welcome for some employees with visible and invisible disabilities,” notes Cara Pelletier, Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging at Ultimate Software. “In the past, they’ve faced inflexible or nonexistent investment in work adaptations. Now, people who have never experienced those barriers understand what it means to need an adjustment, whether that’s flexible hours to manage childcare or closed captioning for meetings due to disruptive background noise. My hope is that more people will bring a deeper understanding and empathy into the workplace once the crisis has passed.”

“Our shift to remote work is welcome for some employees with visible and invisible disabilities,” notes. “In the past, they’ve faced inflexible or nonexistent investment in work adaptations. Now, people who have never experienced those barriers understand what it means to need an adjustment.”

Cara Pelletier, Director of Diversity, Equity and Belonging at Ultimate Software

“Reducing barriers for qualified, licensed professionals will offer opportunities for many of the 33.5 million unemployed Americans,” said Tomer Kagan, CEO and co-founder of Merit. “Licensed workers make up 23% of employed Americans. But outdated, paper-based systems unnecessarily prevent credentialed workers from working and contributing to the economy. Adopting verified identity through digital credentials will help kickstart our recovery, unlock billions of dollars in lost time and opportunity, and dismantle the barriers that keep Americans from quickly putting their skills to work.”