Bain Technology Report 2020 highlights Covid-19 ‘catalyst’
At the turn of the year, few people could have predicted the global turmoil and devastation caused by Covid-19. The devastation also created an opportunity for growth as people around the globe pivoted to a life more virtual – made possible by technology.
Commentators claim the digital transformation was brought forward a decade in just six months, yet most technology companies haven’t drastically altered their existing plans, according to Bain & Company.
One of the clearest examples is that the long-term shift from on-premise to cloud computing continues to be a critical priority, according to a cross-section of IT decision-makers Bain surveyed monthly since March (see Figure 1).
“When the crisis hit, companies paused many of their IT investments,” says the report. “Early in the pandemic, IT decision-makers said they expected decreased spending on software maintenance contracts and on-premise IT to continue at least through 2021. The expected spending reductions have only grown more pronounced as the pandemic has unfolded.
“It wasn’t all belt-tightening. IT decision-makers said they immediately boosted spending on cloud-based security and software-as-a-service for remote work in the wake of the pandemic. They expect their cloud budgets to continue growing over the next year and beyond.”
Meanwhile, the pandemic has highlighted the need for resilience (see Figure 2).
Retooling the supply chain has become an urgent priority in a quest to make them stronger as well as cost-effective. The disruptions due to Covid-19 have shown how far technology supply chains have been stretched in an effort to achieve lean – shortening cycle times, concentrating production, and reducing costs and inventory.
The report says companies are accelerating and scaling up experiments with robotic process automation, artificial intelligence and other advanced automation tools.
“Technology has always moved fast, but the transformation across the industry has accelerated faster than some in the industry thought possible,” states the report. “Like past crises, this one will favour those who boldly adapt and extend new ways of operating.”
The Online Safety Bill: What is it and what does it mean?
New internet laws will be published today in the UK in the draft Online Safety Bill to protect children online and tackle some of the worst abuse on social media, including racist hate crimes.
The draft legislation, which was previously known as the Online Harms Bill, has been two years in the making. Some new additions to the bill include provisions to tackle online scams, such as romance fraud and fake investment opportunities.
What does it include?
The draft Bill includes changes to put an end to harmful practices and brings in a new era of accountability and protections for democratic debate, including:
New additions to strengthen people’s rights to express themselves freely online, while protecting journalism and democratic political debate in the UK.
Further provisions to tackle prolific online scams such as romance fraud, which have seen people manipulated into sending money to fake identities on dating apps.
Social media sites, websites, apps and other services hosting user-generated content or allowing people to talk to others online must remove and limit the spread of illegal and harmful content such as child sexual abuse, terrorist material and suicide content.
Ofcom will be given the power to fine companies failing in a new duty of care up to £18 million or ten per cent of annual global turnover, whichever is higher, and have the power to block access to sites.
A new criminal offence for senior managers has been included as a deferred power. This could be introduced at a later date if tech firms don’t step up their efforts to improve safety.
Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “Today the UK shows global leadership with our groundbreaking laws to usher in a new age of accountability for tech and bring fairness and accountability to the online world.
“We will protect children on the internet, crack down on racist abuse on social media, and through new measures to safeguard our liberties, create a truly democratic digital age.
The draft Bill will be scrutinised by a joint committee of MPs before a final version is formally introduced to Parliament.