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Perspectives

COVID-19 outlook for the US technology industry

Recover: Insights from The Center for Technology, Media, and Telecommunications

To recover from the crisis while making a bold play for a thriving future, there are three key strategic issues that technology companies should consider.

Positioning industries for a stronger future

The continuing COVID-19 crisis is creating enormous uncertainty and change—and questions with no obvious answers: Which changes will persist? What will the new world look like? How will people and organizations adapt? Even as US technology, media, and telecommunications companies focus on responding to the global pandemic and its immediate repercussions, they will hopefully soon need to pivot toward recovering from the crisis and setting themselves up to thrive in the next era. Sudden change can loosen old foundations, creating opportunities for greater progress. Companies should reassess what and how they sell, how they operate, and how they can forge stronger and more direct relationships with customers.

This series will frame a discussion and explore what’s changing, what strategic issues to consider, their impacts, key actions to take, and questions to ask. There are many different scenarios, and we may not have all the answers yet, but we can act with foresight to better position ourselves for a stronger and more resilient future.

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COVID-19 outlook US technology industry May 2020

Key takeaways

To recover from the crisis while making a bold play for a thriving future, there are three key strategic opportunities that technology companies should consider:

  1. How to upgrade supply chains for greater transparency, responsiveness, and resiliency
  2. How to modernize capabilities by accelerating adoption of cloud, XaaS, and edge intelligence
  3. How to capitalize on asset valuations with mergers and acquisitions

Tech hits a glitch

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected most tech companies, whether they sell smartphones, semiconductors, servers, or cloud services. No one can say with certainty when the crisis will end or the precise effect it will have on tech companies. But we can identify some major impacts of COVID-19 to date—and consider how they could shape leaders’ options and actions as tech companies seek to recover from the crisis and thrive.

There are bright spots for the technology sector. Cloud services are in higher demand than ever. Videoconferencing and remote collaboration use are at all-time highs as companies scramble to keep employees productive. And companies have a fresh appreciation for the scalability and resilience of the public cloud and have been rapidly shifting to cloud services. But that does not mean the sector has been insulated.

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The road to a strategic recovery

For all its pain, the COVID-19 crisis can be an opportunity to make significant upgrades to infrastructure and processes that may be long overdue. Developing more transparent and dynamic supply chains, enabling higher-performing remote workforces, and accelerating migration to public clouds are potential ways to recover strongly while setting up long-term strategies for success.

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Thriving in the coming era

The COVID-19 crisis is forcing many businesses into a defensive posture amid unprecedented change and uncertainty. Yet the world will likely inevitably return to a new equilibrium, as it has after every past crisis. Done smartly, recovery can take advantage of sudden opportunities to make bold changes that shift tech businesses into a position of thriving in the coming era.

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Emerging stronger

Nobody knows when the pandemic will subside, or how exactly it will reshape the world. The tech industry has helped people and companies stay connected and, in many cases, stay in business. The decisions tech companies make today can help them to recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

But the goal shouldn’t be merely to bounce back after governments lift the lockdowns. Tech companies have the opportunity to emerge stronger, more resilient, and more innovative. And because technology has changed the way every industry operates, the decisions tech companies make today can help companies from every industry recover and thrive as well.

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