Technology will be one of the biggest forces reshaping both business and change management post-COVID-19.
It is important to understand these powerful trends, since technology will affect every area of the business landscape, including people, processes, systems, and strategies.
Any business professional engaged in change management, therefore, will need to adjust their strategies and prepare for a world that is more fast-paced, volatile, and uncertain.
Below, we’ll look at five of the most important technology trends that will affect change management in the post-COVID next normal.
5 Tech Trends Set to Reshape Change Management Post-COVID-19
Given the uncertainty that has wracked the world during 2020, it is certainly difficult to predict how the world will change post-COVID-19.
During the pandemic, however, we have seen clear trends in the technology sector, which offers a degree of confidence in how those trends will play out in the coming years.
In fact, many of these technology trends have already been in existence for several years – COVID-19 has only accelerated their growth.
Here are five technology trends that will reshape business, the workforce, and the workplace:
1. Software automation
Automation platforms perform software-based tasks automatically, without the need for human intervention.
Data entry and other repetitive tasks used to be the domain of automation, but this is changing with the advent of artificial intelligence.
As artificial intelligence gains steam, it further enhances the capabilities of automation tools.
Since these platforms are still emerging as a technology, many professionals have been hesitant to invest in them too heavily.
However, COVID-19 has fueled the need for digital transformation, compelling many organizations to adopt automation tools.
Automation tools will significantly affect the workplace, reshaping job roles, augmenting human decision-making, and much more.
Change managers should naturally prepare for the inevitable changes to business processes and strategies. Just as importantly, however, it is necessary to prepare for shifts to workplace dynamics, since automation will require humans and machines to work more closely together.
2. Remote working software
Remote working software became widespread during the first half of 2020, since companies around the world were required to rapidly implement telecommuting policies.
This category of software includes tools such as:
- Teleconferencing applications
- Online chat applications
- Project management tools
- Cloud-based SaaS platforms
The rapid adoption and growth of these platforms resulted in major changes to the workplace during 2020, and many of those changes will become permanent in the post-COVID era.
Research from Morning Consult and others, for instance, has demonstrated that employees would like to continue telecommuting, at least part-time.
3. Workplace learning solutions
COVID-19 has not only fueled the growth of remote working platforms, it has also been the catalyst for online learning, both in public education and in the workplace.
For enterprises and their employees, remote learning software can include:
- Online video courses and webinars
- Virtual conferences
- Self-service training software
As mentioned above, though, the pandemic is only accelerating trends that were already in existence.
Digital disruption and innovation, for example, have been increasing the demand for skilled workers. And that trend, in turn, has fueled the growth of newer workplace training technologies, such as digital adoption platforms.
E-services is short for electronic services, a broad term that refers to the use of digital technology to deliver services to end users or customers.
Electronically delivered services have become common with the rise of the internet and can include categories such as:
- Remote customer service
Certain sectors have adopted e-services more quickly than others, however.
Governments, for instance, have been slower to implement electronic services than, for instance, commercial sectors. As most of us know, online retail and shopping have exploded, while many governments’ digital services have lagged.
The reasons for this discrepancy are debatable, but in the context of this discussion, they are also irrelevant.
What matters for change managers is that COVID-19 has fueled the growth of online services in many areas, from customer service to telehealth.
In the years ahead, many institutions will invest in e-services, which will become yet another factor influencing the digitalization of the workplace.
Today, robots may seem like a distant possibility for most businesses – and robots will certainly not impact most businesses overnight.
However, when looking at a 5- or 10-year time horizon, we can expect to see more robots in quite a few industries.
During COVID-19, for example, robots have already affected many industries and job roles.
Among other tasks, robots have been used for:
- Meat packing
- Customer service
- Street cleaning
- Manual labor
Since robots take longer to research, develop, and manufacture, they will take longer to impact the workplace.
However, their influence should not be underestimated – once robotics become more widespread, they will further increase the need for employee training, new workflows, new business strategies, and more.