COVID-19: Three ways tech companies can help other industries with business continuity


Technology solutions have been helping businesses solve their operational challenges for a long time, but there will be increased demand to address business continuity weakness post-coronavirus.

Improving productivity, processes, efficiency, and enabling strategy for customers has always been in the wheelhouse of AI and SaaS providers in general. But in a post-COVID-19 world, these tech companies are positioned to help other industries address these three challenges.

SEE: Coronavirus: Critical IT policies and tools every business needs (TechRepublic Premium)

1. E-commerce roll-outs

According to a report by Technavio, the artificial intelligence (AI) market in the retail sector is expected to grow by $14.05 billion  through 2023. Whether your business is in the retail, medical, or other product or service sector, the time to establish or enhance your online portal for customers to make purchases or access services is here. Many businesses without an e-commerce presence during COVID-19 have suffered significant losses. AI and other technology companies are about to become very busy keeping up with the demand for e-commerce and AI projects. These are the types of projects that will address not only customer purchases and marketing activities but also consumer behavior, inventory levels, product tracking, and other supply chain and logistics activities. 

SEE: COVID-19: Five continuity challenges coming to the retail industry (TechRepublic)

2. Supply chain and logistics obstacles

COVID-19 has presented even the largest of brands like Nestle with massive logistics challenges. In his tribute to front-line workers, Nestle CEO Mark Schneider said commitment and discipline were critical to maintaining business continuity, especially when addressing supply chain challenges. Technology such as AI can help companies with complete automation of tasks or augmentation that assists workers with their day-to-day work. Chatbots can help with operational procurement or machine learning (ML) can help Supply Chain Planning (SCP) and warehouse management. Some companies may also choose to adopt machine learning and predictive analytics to assist with supplier selection or Supplier Relationship Management (SRM).

SEE: Inside UPS: The logistics company’s never-ending digital transformation (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

3. Security and compliance concerns

With e-commerce also comes increased challenges like security threats and privacy issues. AI security tools and techniques use AI to autonomously identify or handle potential cyber threats. AI helps companies gather information that can be used to identify the relationships between threats, such as malicious files, suspicious IP addresses, or human elements to allow security experts to respond faster. SaaS and AI should work closely with cybersecurity experts to identify the best practices that can address potential security threats and privacy issues in advance of rolling out new e-commerce portals or before making changes to existing portals. 

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the enterprise 2020: Tech leaders increase project development and implementation (TechRepublic Premium)

Technology can help with recovery

Now is the time for companies to leverage technology to improve customer service and delivery. Technologies like AI, machine learning, chatbots, and other technologies are available to help companies across the globe in different industries address challenges encountered in emergencies like the coronavirus. Technology companies are positioned to help your company enable or improve your e-commerce presence, supply chain planning, warehouse management, and security.

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