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Some key advances in content management and digital experience helped many businesses during a disastrous pandemic in 2020. And there’s much we can do in the year to come.

"Necessity, they say, is the mother of invention, but fear, too, is not barren of ingenious suggestions." ― Joseph Conrad (Polish-British writer)

Even as the first COVID-19 vaccines are being administered, the numbers associated with the pandemic continue to be shocking and grim. Many people are grieving. Some are just grievous. Most are weary and somber. Yet somehow, we seem to be sensing a corner is about to be turned. It is easy to be doleful, and yet, something in the human spirit wishes to find the smallest light in the darkness.

A new year is an arbitrary construct for new beginnings and optimism, yet we humans just can’t help ourselves. We resolve to be better, not complacent. Our New Year predictions align with our hopes, not our fears. Holiday messages elicit warm emotions toward our fellow man—the same fellow man whose neediness or ambition is equally annoying in every other month (and maybe even the first weeks of December as well).

So, without denying the struggles behind us and ahead of us, we should recognize some of the good that has come from 2020. Big, important things have happened due to medical innovation for certain, but even in the world of content management and digital experience, we can be proud that digital transformation has been key to keeping the world moving. That is something worthy of praise as well.

The Pandemic Accelerated Innovation that was Already Underway

Stories abound of accelerated innovation, barriers between departments evaporating, and new ways of accomplishing goals progressing from concept to reality in record time. With “normal” locked down, the traditional methods and timeframes simply could find no place in our work and lives:

  • Remote work has become normal. In May 2020, Gartner reported 74% of CFOs intend to increase remote work opportunities for their organizations permanently
  • Virtual healthcare has gotten the attention of physician’s offices and big tech, the former hoping to recoup revenue lost during the pandemic and the later betting the boom driven by the pandemic will continue
  • Likewise, virtual mental healthcare has been embraced as a trend that is expected to outlast the pandemic, with predicting digital health to remain a top-funded category in 2021

This wave of change could be unsettling, but it was also freeing. We should examine those agile development cycles and disallow the reintroduction of any old habits that did not serve us during this time of crisis. This will work, of course, only if we are also careful to reinforce the good new habits we’ve developed.

What Joseph Conrad said about invention 100 years ago played out in this year’s innovation. The digital investment that had been important became essential in 2020, and those who prioritized it previously were far better prepared for the challenges no one saw coming. Fear may have been a motivator that ultimately helped us move forward, but the lesson, and the challenge, is to maintain that momentum when the pressure subsides.

Ted Schadler is a vice president, principal analyst with Forrester. He is also a co-author of two books, "Empowered" and "The Mobile Mind Shift." On Dec. 9, together with Progress, Ted delivered a thought-provoking and motivating talk on “Forrester's Four Digital Strategies to Accelerate Growth in 2021.”

In it, Ted explains the essential role technology will play moving forward, how innovation is now a commodity, and how innovation through ecosystems has become a powerful force for business transformation.

Please take some time to listen to Ted’s words on this topic. You will be glad you did.

Syndicated blog post by Progress Software Corporation.

For original content, click here.

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