By Vinay Bhartia, Lark Head, India
Every decade ushers in a new phase for technology that propels innovations leading to breakthroughs in our work and lifestyle. This year, though, it is a little different. All sectors and businesses have been disrupted by Covid-19 and it has been upon organizations to discover newer technologies to keep the business going. In the middle of a pandemic, one can safely say that technology and its collaborative tools have been saviours for organizations, health care workers and people who have to work remotely while maintaining social distancing.
Without collaborative communication tools, it would be almost impossible to carry on businesses, communicate remotely beyond geographies and have solutions to technical issues. Across sectors, leaders have tried to sustain a sense of normalcy by integrating new kinds of technologies in their business every day. Here are a few ways in which collaborative tools have been key to the functioning of organisations.
Video conferencing apps
Collaborative technologies that include video conferencing apps have been a big boon for businesses in times of the pandemic. They have ensured that meetings across organizations are conducted seamlessly without any glitches or delay. A recent report from App Annie showed that business conferencing apps have been experiencing record growth, especially in March, when there were 62 million downloads during the week of 14-20 March. In Europe, social connectivity apps also witnessed phenomenal growth during the lockdown. Given the fact that most organizations have been relying heavily on technology during the lockdown, the spike in downloads of such apps is not surprising. Many traditional businesses got a boost once they started using video conferencing apps.
Project management tools
Several project management tools help in better remote collaboration. From a business perspective, this means team members can collaborate on projects together, share their ideas virtually and get approvals on them seamlessly irrespective of where they are or how complicated the project might be. These apps also come with to-do lists, calendars that keep track of meetings facilitating remote connectivity on another level.
Social distancing in times of a pandemic means the office shutters will be down for some time. However, since businesses cannot afford to take a beating because of this, they are resorting to cloud computing. This kind of virtual service facilitates business, enabling storage of data that can be accessed from anywhere beyond the confines of the office walls. In 2019, organizations across the world invested a record $107 billion on cloud-computing infrastructure services which saw a rise from 37% in the previous year, analyst Canalys revealed.
Cloud services are not new and have been here for some time and many organizations have invested in these to ensure a paperless office that can be accessed remotely from anywhere. Gartner had earlier predicted that the global investment of public cloud services would grow from 17% in 2020 to total $266.4 billion, rising from$227.8 billion in 2019. Given the pandemic and remote communication and collaboration system, the demand for cloud services is further going to increase.
Many such collaborative tools will go a long way in redefining our lifestyle and the way we work in the long run. In future, automation will gain prominence, but it will also lead to ‘phygital’ offices that will be a combination of digital and physical office space. There are apps to automate the entire business by integrating all the collaborative tools under one app making it a faster and more organized system. Many companies are already mulling over alternate work models where they are figuring out ways to cut costs through a complete virtual experience involving collaborative tools. The way work is conducted, and business will run will change drastically with a heavier reliance on these collaborative tools. A post-Covid-19 world will be very different with a lot of traditional systems becoming redundant but collaborative tools are here to stay and grow.
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