The technology industry is starting to enjoy a lucky escape. What would have happened had vaccines against Sars-Cov-2 not been invented and deployed?
There has been much talk of how technology has had a good pandemic. IT suppliers have done well commercially. The pace of digital transformation in user organisations had to quicken, and it did. Implementations that would have taken X months have been executed in X weeks has been a common refrain. The shift to the cloud has been faster and deeper. And so on.
But equally, it is plausible to posit that much low-hanging fruit has been grabbed faster, and a myriad of short-term, emergency mode projects have been done – by stressed out IT workers, and other digitally-enabled workers – in double-quick time. And there is much evidence of “housekeeping” projects being done – the enterprise IT equivalent of clearing out cupboards and ticking off long-neglected DIY projects.
It will be interesting to see how the resumption or initiation of longer-term projects – like full-blown ERP implementations – will fare as the pandemic fades. And how sustainable emergency-mode working, or mass-scale working from home will prove to be. But, above all, the IT industry has avoided, so far, confrontation with the growth-rate limiting factor of the “analogue” economy in pandemic-driven recession.
Fortunately, the western advanced economies are emerging from pandemic gloom. And here it is cheering to cite two B2B tech CEOs who are optimistic: Evan Goldberg, CEO, NetSuite, and Mark Barrenechea, CEO, OpenText.
In a recent press briefing, Goldberg said, of the late pandemic but emerging period we are now in: “companies that are doing the best are those that are able to pivot the fastest. It’s not really one industry versus another, it’s more on a company-by-company basis …. But we see tons of business transformation and formation [ahead]. There are businesses that are suffering, and some that won’t make it. But generally we will see a thousand flowers bloom”.
And in an interview with Computer Weekly, Barrenechea said: “I don’t think tech is reaching a peak at all. I think it has just been a continued wave in this fourth industrial revolution that is in its very early days, that got an accelerant because of the pandemic: AI, analytics, quantum computing, 5G – only 20% of our customers are well on their digital journey. It’s been probably the best year in tech that I’ve seen, certainly since the internet boom. And have to remain very humble, and very grateful. But there are also big innovations on the horizon”.
Let the new roaring twenties commence.