I think I share this feeling with many of the folks reading this - 2020 can’t get in my rearview mirror fast enough. We have been incredibly fortunate not to be one of the millions of businesses devastated by the pandemic, but all the same I’m ready for it to go.
However, no matter how much I’m ready for it to go, 2020 has definitely had a lasting impact and I think its going to change our business, this country and the world forever. Because there are plenty of people talking about how 2020 is reshaping the world, I mostly going to talk about how it is reshaping our business and our customer’s business.
Let’s start with what we do. As a software products company we have two major business lines:
• ExAM4Enterprise.com- this is our general purpose data collection platform supporting digital forms, surveys and complex data calls.
• ExAM4Inspections.com- this is a specialized data collection platform and suite of tools for supporting inspections, audits and field services.
Digital Forms & Data Collection
What we are already seeing and a trend I see continuing in 2021 is the adoption of the kinds of digital data collection technologies we provide because gathering information in person and via paper has suddenly become more burdensome.
We saw interest that began in May and June picking up momentum as the pandemic persisted and resulting push to move to digital data collection and to modernize existing processes. In the past organizations may have had forms online, but they still processed a lot of paper either in person or on paper.
This physical paper processing was facilitated by the relative ease with which paper could be handled within facilities by workers physically sorting and handling administrative flows while working shoulder to shoulder. Of course, nobody wants to work shoulder to shoulder right now and we’ve seen many of our customers accelerating long running pushes to move those work streams to digital.
I expect this trend will accelerate in 2021 and beyond as consumer desire and adoption is facilitated by a general hesitancy to go into offices and get it done in person. This willingness by the consumer to have digital preference and to have had positive digital experiences during the pandemic is going to massively accelerate this trend. I predict five years of modernization in administrative processing will happen in 2021 and I think we will all be better off for it.
Digital Inspections & Field Services
Our inspections and audit customers are similarly being pulled into digital work streams, except that here the push has also been to enable inspections and audits to occur virtually. In November we launched our ExAM4Inspections.com remote video product ExAMRV. This directly address concerns in the marketplace with Covid, but we see a bigger post Covid future in 2021 and beyond. Technically sound remote inspections open the door to immense cost savings by reducing travel time and costs associated with many inspection programs. Just like the push to digitization in forms, this isn’t a trend that is entirely new, however 2020 has pushed it to the forefront and helped reduce the friction to this technology in the marketplace. Now organizations see it as necessary and we’ve seen a big change in when our customers think this will become mainstream and here to stay. I predict that 2021 will become the year that adoption of remote video inspection becomes a mainstream affair.
In conclusion here at MB&A we see 2021 as the year when so many of the “future” digital trends become mainstream approaches to doing business. I predict we are going to see 5+ years of adoption happening over a 12 month period. 2021 is going to be the time when so many of the digital programs adopted to enable business operations under Covid become mainstream. I’m excited for this future and even more excited to leave the 2020 behind. Happy Holidays!