Why Global Crises Drive Technical Innovations


In our latest contribution John Bates, CEO of Eggplant unveils the reasons why, in global crises, innovation thrives.

John F Kennedy famously said: “In a crisis, be aware of the danger – but recognise the opportunity”. Never has this been more applicable now, when for the first time since World War II, civilisation across the globe is united in a common crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic. The steps taken by governments around the world to slow the spread of inflection and get the virus under control are unprecedented and have thrown up a wide range of problems for business across all industries. Not only has COVID-19 taken over the headlines and driven anxiety levels up, but also forced businesses to shutter, economies to struggle and people to stay home and turn to the Internet like never before; which has ultimately put a severe strain on the IT industry.

While this may have exposed gaps in the market, it has also provided the unique opportunity for innovative businesses to fill them with new products and solutions. After all, problem-solving is at the heart of innovation and during times of crises, our natural drive is to help by improving or creating new, ground-breaking products and services.

Some of the best inventions we use daily were born out of global disasters to improve society – from drones to the microwave oven. As a result of hardships, technological development accelerated to modify tools to meet needs. It’s when problems occur that solutions emerge, forcing us to keep pushing and inventing.

Accelerated Digital Disruption

Nowhere is this more apparent than the HealthTech industry, where innovative and adaptable businesses are coming together to create a vaccine and use technologies to prevent and track the spread of the virus. But the rippling effect of Covid-fueled innovation is far reaching. Breakthroughs in retail, travel, manufacturing and supply chain have been born as a result of the pandemic.

From the adoption of contactless payment skyrocketing to rolling out robots in warehouses to fill in some of the gaps in the supply chain. A survey conducted by Mastercard found one in five people no longer use cash at all and one in ten people started to use contactless for the first time, due to the current pandemic. Since supply chains have been massively affected during COVID-19, organisations are forced to look into alternatives in order to stay resilient. With workers forced to remain at home amid lockdown, the supply chain dependency has changed from physical labor to robotics-based solutions.

Digital roadmaps scheduled to take place and be carried out over yearly phases suddenly needed to be accelerated and conducted within days, leaving little time for IT departments to prepare. New priorities and challenges are coming into play, that were likely never prepared for, to maintain a top-notch online experience for customers.

Prepare today, for a successful tomorrow

The crisis has pushed digital to become key to our every interaction, vital to work remotely and communicate with others outside of the home. Over 80% of technologists expressed that the pandemic has created the biggest technology pressure for their organisation that they have ever experienced.

Read More: Founder Feature: Dr. John Bates, CEO of Eggplant

We are seeing companies rapidly try to adapt and implement technology, which has been readily available for years, in order to survive and not succumb to the pressures. In fact, these uncertain times underscore the importance of investing in digital business and long-term resilience. Business continuity plans need to include strategies that ensure customers and partners are able to receive the digital products and services they rely on throughout the pandemic’s duration. It is crucial for companies to use tech available to them in order to prepare for the next disaster, avoiding the need to scramble to develop a service or product to remain relevant and in business for years to come.

Through the eyes of the beholder

For businesses online, staff, customers, vendors and partners all interact with different parts of websites and applications in different ways and with different expectations for performance. To truly test that digital infrastructure is prepared for the consequences of coronavirus is to experience the technology through the eyes of users.

One such strategy is end-to-end test automation, which enables companies to deliver much better quality software at a faster pace while simultaneously freeing up teams to be more productive. Instead of relying on snail’s pace manual testing or old-style code analysis, using AI-powered bots to act as real users do throughout the supply chain, at scale, real usage can be tested and problems anticipated and corrected before they occur. This is key because one bug on one device is likely to have a knock-on effect on every device in the chain. Software testing is a strategic resource for continuously optimising the customer experience and tracking how technical factors relate to successful business outcomes. Through intelligent automated testing, organisations can ensure that the performance of their websites and applications is part of the solution rather than part of the problem.

Novelist Mary Shelley once said, “Invention, it must be humbly admitted, does not consist in creating out of void, but out of chaos.” The current crisis has taught us the importance of digital transformation and constant invention to ensure we are stronger coming out of this than we were before.

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John Bates

CEO at Eggplant, the company looking to rid the world of bad software, and put quality software.