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Where next for technology

Where we are today

2020 has been a surreal experience for the world as a whole. We’ve all had to grapple with a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic alongside geopolitical uncertainties such as Brexit, the US elections and climate change. No-one would disagree that we’re in uncharted territory.

However, in the midst of this turbulence, Technology has therefore demonstrated an impressive degree of resilience, stepping up to meet society's demands and providing a robust response to the many and varied issues that governments, business and individuals have encountered and continue to wrestle with to today. Overnight businesses, their workforces and society as a whole have had to move from traditional ways of working and living to the more digital ways of doing so. 

What are we learning?

As companies gear up for the coming year, they’re facing a marketplace that’s radically changed from 12 months ago, with lockdowns and restrictions having triggered accelerated adoption in the way people use technology. The effect has been to bring the digital future forward with a shift in business and consumer demands and behaviours. This has resulted in a  greater adoption of cloud enabled technology, video calls, online shopping, the demand for tech enabled education and healthcare, and home entertainment

Cloud enabled technology

A confluence of existing factors driving cloud transition has been further accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis. The pandemic has forced organisations both locally and around the world to reconfigure their operations rapidly to enable their employees to work remotely, which has been made easier by adopting cloud-based systems. This trend is likely to persist, as the exodus from physical working to virtual working becomes the norm thus underscoring the urgency for scalable, secure, reliable, cost-effective cloud technology services and applications as opposed to traditional on-premises ones. 

Cloud servers

eCommerce

COVID-19 has accelerated the shift to ecommerce everywhere globally including locally. Many organisations have had to either move their traditional brick and mortar offering online or else optimise their current digital offerings in order to keep up with consumer demand and expectations. Organisations therefore in light of the pandemic and the new normal it has brought about need to revisit their business models in order ensure they are more digital by default and allow for a more customer centric supply and value chain. . Moreover, organisations also need to ensure that they invest in agile and flexible eCommerce platforms to create delightful customer experiences that leverage the latest technological innovations and bridge the gap between their brick and mortar offerings. 

ecommerce service

Cyber security

An overnight change from the traditional ways of working and living to more digitised ones has brought about immediate and higher security risks which have  exposed organisations to a plethora of cyber threats. The reliance on remote working and the shifted security perimeter have made organisations more susceptible to cyber attacks, phishing attempts, and other identity-related malicious activities. These attacks are normally designed to steal personal information  trade secrets and other types of sensitive data, as well as disrupt critical business operations. Going forward we see three areas which organisations must prioritise with respect to cyber security:

  • Reviewing the security posture of remote working practices and Internet-facing systems put into place in response to the pandemic
  • Ensuring a sound IT and security risk management framework in line to newly established requirements which encompasses adequate processes and risk-driven decisions for implementing safeguards
  • Doubling up on security awareness training and streamlining data sharing and collaboration tools to avoid shadow IT practices creeping within the remote workforce
cyber securtiy

Application of Emerging and Disruptive Technologies

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments and companies throughout the world have been forced to accelerate the adoption of emerging technologies to mitigate its impact. We have seen that organisations locally due to the pressures brought about by the pandemic are exploring technologies such as Intelligent Robotic Process Automation in order to be able to do more with less resources. Moreover, we have also seen a sharp increase in interest in companies exploring how Artificial Intelligence and Advanced Data Analytics can be applied to their businesses in order to be able make more proactive and forward thinking decision making unpinned by data. 

How do we respond?

What shines through is that while the pandemic has been hugely disruptive, it hasn’t changed the fundamental fact that the potential for technology and innovation continues to abound. The problems we are facing today could be the burgeoning business opportunities as tech becomes an increasingly integral part of every industry and life. 

As necessity drives innovation, new digital business models are accelerating and we are witnessing the application of innovative solutions and higher reliance on technology-enabled work and operations. It is paramount that business leaders respond to this by steering a digital agenda that drives their organisation's to transition to the new normal. Cloud Application Transformation, Shift to Online Sales, Secure Remote Working and Collaboration, AI/Advanced Analytics Driven Decision Making and Operations supported by Intelligent Automation will allow for organisation to optimise their business models and processes thus becoming more resilient whilst at the same time enriching the offerings provided to their customers.

Companies that navigate through this digital transformation in a swift, intelligent and agile manner by capitalizing on the benefits that technology provides can minimise the impact the pandemic has brought about on their operations and workforce. In parallel such a transformation can also help enable them to seize new business opportunities that such technologies enable. 

The bottom line is that business leaders need to critically analyse their organisations and ask how they will be able to transform their existing business models or create new digital business models and opportunities to win in this new normal ? 

Contact us

Michael Borg

Michael Borg

Senior Manager, Tax, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 2427

Mark Abela

Mark Abela

Senior Manager, Tax, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 6954

Jake  Azzopardi

Jake Azzopardi

Advisory, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 2518

Michel Ganado

Michel Ganado

Advisory Partner, PwC Malta

Tel: +356 2564 7091

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