The business world faces a new challenge in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, which has already seriously affected many verticals. This year we meet the economic recession, and investors react wary, reducing activity and withdrawing investments. It resembles much the situation in 2008, with the only difference that to predict how much longer this situation will last is quite difficult. There are 2 possible strategies that investors will follow. The one is investing in the surviving business, and the other is investing in newly born startups that grew up on the substrate of the new economic situation and took into account the new reality in their business models. But in the first case, the current enterprises may accumulate liabilities, and investments will firstly go to pay off debts, which prolongs the payback period. There is a chance that investors will go the second way. And this is a perfect chance for startups.
Now we are witnessing how companies take anti-crisis measures. Actions directed to optimization of internal processes, automation, and reduction of dependence on personnel, increasing efficiency, and simultaneous cost reduction on staff and all possible non-core items of expenses are in priority.
Basically, there are several ways in the fight against the crisis two of them are low-interest loans for business and low costs on raw materials. The crisis of 2008 showed that the first strategy was good only at the initial stages of the crisis overcoming, but in the long run, it slowed down the economic recovery. The second way is hardly possible because in the current situation there is a shortage of certain types of materials due to lower extraction, production and transportation rates, which, on the contrary, increases the demand and prices, and on the other hand, oil prices are already quite low, and it is unlikely that they will fall even lower. It is possible that economies will not use any of these options, but will look for some other way. One of the options may be digitalization, as, during the pandemic, technical conditions and infrastructure will already be created for this. The essential objectives will be saving costs, performance growth, faster processes execution, lower cost of ownership, and risks associated with ownership of assets, and processes digitalization. Let’s make assumptions about what it may look like.
What Solutions Will be Probably in Demand
The previous crisis revealed an interest in ERP systems. But this time, the most affected spheres are services and entertainment – restaurants, hotels, travel agencies, airlines, spa, and beauty salons. It’s of the high possibility that products and SaaS, which are aimed at these verticals, will boost as soon as the economy recovers in the future. So, what exactly may business demand in these conditions, and what objectives may want to reach?
These are tasks of production and supply management (warehouses mostly), expenses, waste management, cash flow control, staff management, business automation, in a nutshell, everything related to the optimization and acceleration of deliveries for defrosting working capital and the increase in internal profitability.
Also, a further extension in various sharing platforms is expected, as the use of things, equipment, and other assets are less risky and more cost-effective. Users of sharing services usually follow some of these aims: they want to satisfy a one-time need for exclusive things/equipment, they may want to save costs on storage and maintenance or even renew and strengthen the equipment base and get competitor advantages in the market.
An interesting situation will be observed in the e-learning sphere. During this time, good infrastructure and methodological developments will be accumulated. With high probability, staff training, and adaptation during the internship phase will be automated and carried out in a remote mode.
With the spread of quarantine measures that take place in most of the countries, and namely, ways of implementing and monitoring the execution of these measures, give a push to smart cities evolution. Cameras with AI track and distinguish between people, and their location is matched with the permitted routes. Governments will invest more in the infrastructure of different types of electronic Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to collect information and make data-driven decisions to manage assets, resources, and services efficiently.
Big changes also will touch the supply chains, especially in the sphere of storage, order picking, and warehouses management, as well as last-mile delivery. This is caused by drift in the buyers’ behavior – a number of purchases through the Internet increases in times, and buyers require to-door delivery. Also, the demand for essential goods increased, which leads to a burden on such components of the supply chain as inventory management, demand prediction, and communication with suppliers. The ability to react fast and speed up the supply chain cycle to the buyer will increase turnover. Contactless delivery, the ability to deliver with drones to quarantine zones, automated warehouse management, and order picking using the latest technology – robotics, IoT, blockchain, and others – will with a strong probability become a new standard in the supply chain.
Digitalization seems to be an evident way of the economic recession consequences overcoming for businesses. Investors will probably invest in seed and early-stage startups having MVP (Minimum viable product) that are created on the basis of new approaches to existing business impediments and client service. It may take several months to develop a tech MVP. This time frame includes market research, business model creation, business analysis, design, development, and testing, building a startup team, as well as investor pitch preparation and a search for appropriate angels and venture investors. During business activity explosive growth right after a pandemic, it may be too late to go through these preparation stages, and the competition may be too much to withstand. But now there is a small window in time in which it is possible to complete all the preparatory steps, including the launch of the product.
XB Software has got experience with MVP development for tech startups in different verticals – supply chain, logistics and transportation, real estate business, waste management, smart cities, e-commerce, and a range of others.
Get a free consultation on development for startups by XB Software experts.