Nearly a year into the global COVID-19 pandemic, no life has been untouched by the enormous upheaval this outbreak has brought.
But perhaps nowhere has the change been bigger, nor the industry better poised to adjust than in the IT sector.
With an ethos that embraces rapid evolution, tech has made enormous adjustments, and even in some cases redesigned the way we do certain tasks forever due to COVID.
Here we’ll look at how IT firms and the tech industry are pivoting post-COVID and what that means for consumers.
Knowledge is Power
From the moment the pandemic began, there was an understanding that traditional means of communicating were no longer enough.
Nowhere was this more obvious than in the explosion of Zoom users. While many video conferencing services exist, Zoom swiftly rose to the top.
According to CNBC, “Daily downloads of the Zoom increased 30x year-over-year by March 18.”
But merely being the big winner of the work-from-home world wasn’t enough for the app. Zoom realized early on that to maintain its role as the No. 1 source of B2B and beyond interaction, it would need to be there for its users.
So it created a “Support during the Covid-19 Pandemic” page. This collection of resources clearly spells out for users all the ways to utilize the service from how to handle telehealth to remote working guide. By going above and beyond when it comes to keeping customers informed, Zoom has built trust even during obstacles—like the privacy concerns stemming from “Zoom bombers,” or unwanted interruptions by internet trolls.
A Hand Up, Not a Hand Out
As far as devastation goes, few industries have been hurt more by the pandemic than the restaurant industry.
As of September 17, 100,000 restaurants across the country had closed according to Travel + Leisure. Recovery is still ongoing, but one IT firm pivoted in order to help by giving away services for free.
OneDine, a Zen client that offers POS-integrated mobile menu browsing and contactless ordering and payment, made its technology available for free from April-September 2020, so restaurants could become more pandemic-ready practically overnight.
Small Business Support
Coding Dojo, a business that provides courses on programming, decided to help small businesses during the pandemic.
In April it announced plans to provide Tech for America. The initiative called on alumni to provide web and software development services for companies on a volunteer basis.
All a company had to do was submit a request for help, and the team of volunteers would spring into action using their expertise to assist those in need. While a lifeline for small businesses, Coding Dojo also found a great way to introduce its services to new potential customers who might then reach out once the pandemic ends or business stabilizes.
Cleaning Up Their Act
For Neu, a Seattle-based start-up that, pre-COVID, connected vacation rental owners with cleaning services, the vanishing travel industry seemed disastrous.
That is until they decided to look into new markets they’d been planning to act upon. That’s where Neu found opportunities. They shifted to helpling real estate agents find cleaners for home showings (home sales saw record gains despite the pandemic) instead. And thanks to having already established a supply chain to outfit cleaners with the necessary gloves, products, etc. to comply with infectious disease prevention, they were able to rebound once Airbnb rentals picked up again.
Learning on the Fly
Another IT business that pivoted during COVID is DreamBox Learning.
The math lesson business instantly knew it had an opportunity to help with distance learning during the pandemic, but still had to adjust. It promoted a parent dashboard to help parents track their child’s progress, accelerated the rollout of Predictive Insights to help educators see how students might perform on standardized tests, and worked with school districts to adjust its applications.
On top of all this, DreamBox saw that it needed to rethink its look and feel given racial unrest across the country and responded accordingly to make sure it was an inclusive online space.
Answering the Call
Consider the burden that was placed on healthcare companies and local governments overnight, with citizens calling in with questions regarding health and safety.
There was no way many of these organizations could handle these inquiries on their own. So IBM stepped up to help. Tech Republic reported in April that IBM launched Watson Assistant for Citizens campaign to bring chatbot capabilities to these institutions in order to provide quick answers to frequently asked questions. The assistance helped lessen the burden on the organizations, while getting people answers fast.
3D to the Rescue
3D printing has captivated the imagination for years, but at no time has it seemed more critical than now. With PPE printing capabilities, some companies decided to use their technology for good. Such was the case with Electro Optical Systems. The company made a vast library of free downloads available to people to print critical medical supplies.
The pro bono effort might seem like a loss in the short-term, but as the supply chain continues to recalibrate, it could become its own new supply service in the near future, pandemic or not.
What does an IT firm focused on automated workforce solutions do when there’s surging unemployment?
Help those unemployed people bounce back.
That’s what Zira did, naming its new tool just that: Bounce Back. The tool helped those recently laid off to navigate their state’s unemployment websites and regulations. The unforeseen pivot might have never happened had the pandemic not upended Zira’s original business plan, but thanks to its ability to adapt, the company was able to transition and help people in the process.
The ongoing, global economic impact of the coronavirus remains to be seen. For now, companies that want to stay afloat have to keep adjusting and adapting.
That said, IT firms are in a great position to do just that. If the pandemic has taught us anything it’s that the need for IT solutions is a well that doesn’t seem to run dry. Innovative strategies to compete in our evolving world marketplace are never-ending. Being savvy enough to stay one step ahead of the curve is what can make all the difference—whether it’s during an average week or a global crisis.
If your IT firm has had to pivot during the pandemic, it’s more important than ever that you have the marketing campaigns you need to reach your customers. If you’re ready to develop your tech marketing, contact our tech marketing experts today.