Importance Of Technology In Today’s Ever-Growing Economic Uncertainty

6 mins read

27 April 2023

Lucas Lu, Head of Asia, Zoom

Technology has become an essential component of modern business and society, playing a critical role in driving economic growth and innovation. Today, as we face an ever-growing economic uncertainty, the importance of technology has become more apparent than ever before. With disrupted global markets forcing businesses to adapt to a new normal, remote work and digital transformation has become the new standard. In this context, technology has played a significant role in helping companies to stay afloat and adapt to the new reality.

The impact of technology on the economy can be seen in various sectors, from e-commerce to fintech, from healthcare to education. The ability to access data, collaborate remotely, and automate processes has become crucial for businesses to remain competitive and resilient in a rapidly changing environment. Furthermore, technology has enabled new business models and provided opportunities for entrepreneurs and startups to disrupt traditional industries and create new markets.

Is it undeniable that the pandemic brought about drastic changes in the way businesses run their day-to-day operations as well as how communication needs to be well carried out without having to see each other physically. These changes are here to stay and to find out how technology has become such an integral part of any business, DigitalCFO Asia spoke with Lucas Lu, Head of Asia, Zoom

Technology In Continuing Operational Efficiency Even In Periods Of Extreme Market Uncertainty

Leaders today are facing a highly disruptive business landscape, fuelled by the need to manage costs while coping with industry-wide skills shortage. Having the right technology solution to help manage these pressures is half the battle won. In fact, we are seeing increasing demand for a platform-first approach when it comes to technology adoption. 

Firms find that the ability to consolidate business communications and collaboration across employees, customers, and partners within a single platform is key to reducing what we call the ‘toggle tax’, or time taken to switch between apps. 

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) to improve workflows has also been instrumental in raising productivity for hybrid teams. With flexible work now a mainstay in many organisations, employees across time zones and geographies are able to work smarter and collaborate better with AI. For instance, team members can navigate to key parts of a meeting they might have missed with smart recording functions that’s powered by natural language processing. 

For customer support teams, productivity is often tied to the ability to scale up support with existing resources. In this aspect, intelligent chatbot solutions that are integrated into the platform employees use on the day-to-day can be a gamechanger. With AI, the number of man-hours needed to service the same volume of customer requests can be vastly reduced.

At Zoom, we have supported many of our customers in their pursuit for productivity. For example, we are working with Wall Street English, an international English language learning provider for enterprise businesses, adults and teenagers, as they expand to new markets. They leveraged Zoom’s video SDK to power their digital classroom, which helped educators deliver a high-quality, reliable teaching experience to more online students around the world. This helped their existing pool of teachers work more efficiently and effectively, which is pivotal to helping the company expand sustainably. 

Zoom In Helping Change The Way People Work & Viewing How Work Can Be Done

Zoom, at its core, makes flexible work possible. In today’s world, this is almost non-negotiable: a recent survey Zoom commissioned with Morning Consult in the US found that business leaders themselves prefer flexible work, and more than 90% said they preferred a hybrid or remote working environment versus in-person only. 

We are focused on providing organisations a collaboration platform that integrates seamlessly into employees’ preferred ways of working – be it in the office, at home or even while they are on the move. For example, Zoom Phone allows employees to take calls while on the go, and then transfer to Zoom Rooms or Meetings when they reach the office. This makes flexible work easier and more productive. 

With flexible work, naturally, also comes the challenge to continue engaging teams across time zones and geographies, to help ensure they feel included no matter where they are. With built-in features like automated translation and transcription as well as “raise hand” functionalities, our platform helps ensure that every employee – regardless of language or geographical barriers – has their voice heard.  

Ultimately, Zoom helps to build trust between teams and within the organisation. We believe that trust, along with technology, are the cornerstones of a successful flexible work model. 

Technology – An Integral Part Of An Organization & How It Has Brought On Other Challenges As Well

As we have seen over the past few years, technology is central to helping hybrid teams collaborate effectively, and bolstering organizations across verticals as they reimagine customer experience to stay competitive in a difficult business climate.

Customers are looking for increasingly immersive and personalized experiences, and being able to acquire and retain customers will be essential for profitability in the long-term. To give a simple example, electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC) via video has made it possible for banking users to complete the digital identity verification process for their accounts within minutes, down from days. Customer signatures are securely recorded through a video call with a bank officer, and any paperwork can be reviewed and signed directly within the video meeting. Most importantly, this eliminates the need to visit the branch physically. We know that this is the kind of reliable, seamless and connected experience modern customers want. 

At the same time, rapid technology adoption in the workspace has exposed organisations to more cyber threats and complex issues surrounding identity verification. This only goes to show the importance of having security top of mind, rather than an afterthought. Having an  “always verify, never trust” approach is critical, especially as employees are now working from anywhere. This is why we also have recently partnered with Okta to enable the identity authentication of meeting attendees via email in end-to-end encrypted (E2EE) meetings, adding an extra layer of security to communications online while maintaining our seamless and reliable Zoom experience. 

Technology Changing The Workplace In The Next 5 To 10 Years

We must remember that work is no longer just a place, but a space where teams come together to collaborate. We expect the workspace to be continually disrupted in the coming years as employees truly embody the ‘work-from-anywhere’ model.  In fact, latest IDC research has found that by 2024, 40% of C-suite teams in Asia Pacific will use intelligent space and capacity planning technology to reinvent office locations for gathering, collaborating, and learning. As employees become more mobile, this also means that the collaborative platform they use must be equipped with feature-rich technologies that work across devices.

From working in shopping malls and virtual coworking spaces, to using avatars in replacement of human faces, the possibilities of collaboration and connection in the workspace are endless.  

In addition, the development of advanced technologies like AI, augmented reality and virtual reality will transform employee and customer experience as we know it. Teams will become more data-driven. For employees, this may mean managers leveraging data to refresh antiquated performance metrics based on office time, creating a level playing field for both remote and in-person employees. The use of conversation intelligence, for example, can also help in coaching customer-facing teams in their sales conversations through enhancing the effectiveness of their communications with customers. 

Something less discussed, yet equally important, is the role of technology in driving inclusivity and diversity in the workspace. Remote hiring will only become more prevalent, with organizations able to source the best candidate for their needs across the world. We will see workforces become more diverse and innovative as a result, ultimately benefiting the company’s bottom line.

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