When a revolution faces a storm as disruptive as the COVID-19 pandemic it is inevitable permanent changes will be shaping how we do things, driving the need for business analytics in everything from the classroom to the workplace.
Of course, we won’t know exactly what impacts those changes will bring or how they will echo in our economy in years ahead. It will, however, advance the cycle of eliminating lesser-business-models in favor of stronger ones. Here are a few predictions:
- Medicine. Technology-driven ‘telemedicine’ will gain a strong foothold and become more commonly accepted. Routine doctors’ visits will more often be video chats. This is not new, just not widely adopted. Health companies such as Duke Health and Novant Health offer tele-visits and are experimenting with Bluetooth enabled tools to aid their examinations. Another is Teledoc, a virtual healthcare company offering 24/7 access to providers via an app.
- Virtual Gym. This trend continues to grow with the advent of technology and novelty. Peloton and others will be growing. What a great model from the classic gym where the customers invest in the equipment AND pay a monthly membership fee. The smart equipment collects all sorts of data allowing them to customize their services, hours best suited for real-time workouts and to build a whole segmentation strategy in a way the traditional fitness center could not. They know more about their customers’ workout habits than ever before. Now if they could figure out a way to share it with the online doctors….
- Remote Working. I know this is obvious right now. The point in mentioning this is as recent as 2017 just 7% of people worked remotely, and once people and businesses experience productive remote working, many will not go back. This will have a domino effect of everything from office space to car ownership.
- Paper Money. Currency has been on the decline for a while. It has existed for those nostalgic to insert cash into a birthday card or for others to have anonymous transactions. Credit cards and digital payments will become even more commonly accepted (Venmo, PayPal, ApplePay, SamsungPay). One thing that needs to be overcome in the peer-to-peer payments is how to make and accept payments without the internet. Simply using Wifi Direct, at least for small payments, is necessary especially when there is a disaster or (gasp!) in places without internet service.
- Higher Education. Colleges on campus will be dramatically changed. All schools had some version of online tools for classes. Impressively most, including Wake Forest University, quickly converted to online teaching with live video instructors, distribution and grading of assignments. It is possible that nearly half of college classes could be online going forward.
- Retail. Sure, there has been a long trend on how services like Amazon and Walmart Online are forcing tradition brick and mortar stores to change. The next few months will give more shoppers to try this out and will have everlasting impacts. Everything from curbside pick-up and delivery to virtualization and augmented reality (i.e. trying on those new glasses or clothing) will get a boost. In addition, to convenience, more people will see the benefits of an omnichannel experience and the power of analytics. Helpful recommendation engines tracking your purchase history it could create suggestions such as “you are running low on ketchup it’s been 2 weeks since you last bought it”. Great! No more sorting through my pantry to make a shopping list.
The COVID-19 crisis will impact us in many ways both short term and long. We will see businesses making seismic shifts in their operating models to adopt new ways of serving customers. Companies who are agile in adopting business analytics and its recommendations will create not only an increasing need for analytics talent but also a better way of doing business.
Note: Views are my own, not those of my employer.
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