There is little doubt that one of the biggest takeaways of COVID-19 has been the acceleration of digital transformation worldwide. The pandemic swiftly changed the notion of the traditional workplace and ushered in “a new normal” for many. While it remains to be seen how long COVID-19 will impact day-to-day life, it’s evident we can’t go back to the old way of doing things.
Almost one year into the pandemic now, we are more clearly seeing how COVID-19 is shaping the future of SaaS.
Digital Must Be the Channel.
For starters, digital must move from being a channel to the channel. Organizations that didn’t recognize this before have certainly had the message driven home in 2020. We can no longer assume business will be done in person — let alone in the same location anymore.
The definition of “availability” has also shifted. The workplace model is entirely different. We’re moving from a Blockbuster model to a Netflix one. Blockbuster was open 12 or so hours per day with customer-selected movies. Now, we’re more of a Netflix-modeled society — open 24/7 and with personalized recommendations. We’re all being forced to do things differently, which means organizations have to determine how to do the most they can with what they have.
The only logical answer in today’s environment is digital.
The Right Tech Stack.
The pandemic has opened up enormous opportunity for organizations to not only change their technology essentials but to upgrade at the same time. Teams are rethinking whole processes and making tremendous improvements that will pay dividends for years. As a result, choosing the right tech stack to navigate the new digital environment has never been more vital.
We’re seeing this play out in a myriad of ways. For instance, the point solution is done. Organizations are simply exhausted at the prospect of working with yet another vendor to solve yet another business problem with existing tech stacks. Instead, organizations will look to vendors that take a holistic approach to their problem sets.
Increasingly, those holistic approaches incorporate helpdesk, ticketing and chatbot solutions. With more people working remotely than ever before, organizations are recognizing the need for communication and support platforms. Take chatbots, for example. They are so much more than just “chat” now. Chatbots today guide deep conversations, kick off complex workflows, take actions on your behalf and escalate requests accordingly. The result is personalized and contextualized communication in a consistent, unified voice. The organizations that invest in solutions like these will accelerate their constituents’ trust because of the clear, 24/7 communication they provide.
Organizations are also quickly learning that holistic approaches to digital transformation shouldn’t just add to the tech stack but, rather, centralize it, to cut down on workflow chaos and disparate data.
AI as a Business Partner.
Finally, changing, upgrading or centralizing technology essentials is certainly important for navigating the digital terrain going forward. Organizations that are serious though about digital transformation should prepare to fully commit. The pandemic has illustrated that artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t just for research and development anymore. It’s time to commit to adapting these solutions instead of just flirting with them.
Increasingly, organizations are seeing that AI can serve as a valuable business partner for teams in human resources, marketing, customer support and more. We expect a lot of migration projects over the next year as organizations go from casually dating AI to being in a committed relationship with it. Post-pandemic, we expect the great organizations to find a way for all automation to work together with minimal overhead and exemplary results.
The Primer for Transformation.
The pandemic may have upended much of the familiar for organizations in 2020 but there have also been important silver linings. Digital transformation teams everywhere had been struggling uphill — through thorns and rain — for a decade. COVID-19 has finally given them the push they’ve needed. People are no longer afraid to try new software, join virtual meetings and share files in the cloud. In this way, the new normal has been a great primer for the future of SaaS.
David Karandish is the founder and CEO of Capacity, an enterprise SaaS company, with a new kind of helpdesk, powered by artificial intelligence, that automates support for your customers and employees. Before founding Capacity, David was the CEO of Answers Corporation. David and Chris Sims started the parent company of Answers in 2006 and sold the company to a private equity firm in 2014 for north of $900 million.