While no one has a crystal ball, life may never return to what it was before COVID-19. We’ve experienced major shifts in how we live, work, learn and communicate. The word “hybrid” best describes these changes and what the future may hold. We may not return to the past, but we won’t be in pandemic mode either.
The acceptance and use of new technology has moved at warp speed. Adoption of advanced technologies in operations, supply chains and data security has moved faster than most decision makers could have imagined. Technology has also enabled huge advances in remote work, operations, customer service, and healthcare…
“You want to work from home?” While some businesses offered this as a perk, most frowned upon it, citing the importance of “face time.” If there is one thing the pandemic has proved is that working remotely has not hurt productivity. Cloud communications enabled teams to interact and collaborate, using tools like video conferences, file sharing, shared workspaces and messaging. Without this operational support, productivity and team interactions would suffer. Many workers in highly skilled, non-customer facing jobs (e.g., finance, insurance, IT) can work remotely very effectively. Advances in cloud communications have made this possible. What’s more, many employees like the flexibility and report less stress.
Online shopping, already gaining in popularity before the pandemic, has soared. Home delivery of goods and food, curbside pickup and other hybrid shopping habits are here to stay. Customers like the convenience, wide product selection and speed. Businesses have responded to this demand by adding digital customer channels like chatbots, mobile apps and other ecommerce tools.
Contactless payment methods and digital workflows are two examples. Using document automation, artificial intelligence (AI) and other automation tools, banks have quickly moved away from in-person interactions, enabling customers to upload all pertinent documents including image files and PDFs. Need to see a driver’s license? The customer takes a picture using their smart phone and uploads it to their online application. The bank representative facilitating the application is probably sitting at home, not the branch.
One of the most dramatic changes is the adoption of telehealth. The technology was available before the pandemic, but both providers and patients were reluctant to use it. The pandemic has helped everyone recognize the value of telehealth. A follow-up appointment, often just a conversation with the healthcare provider, is more efficient and convenient done virtually. When a patient comes down with a bad cold that is “going around”, the provider can diagnose the problem with a video call, keeping the sick patient at home. Going forward, expect to see a blend of in-person and virtual care.
All These Innovations Reside in the Cloud…
Businesses don’t have to worry about buying hardware or software to quickly expand their capacity. That capital can be used to transform operations, hire new talent or introduce new products.
Cloud communications can give your businesses more flexibility and options than ever before. Contact us today at (703) 321-3030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.