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In the Zone

When does tech go back to normal? Maybe it doesn’t

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 12/01/2020
Blog Category: advanced-technologies

The pandemic has transformed the way people work, learn and play, and it’s also transformed the tech industry.

But once we have an effective vaccine, won’t things go back to normal — meaning, the way they used to be?

Maybe not. Working, shopping, learning and playing remotely are transforming a lot more than just tech. Consider:

Zoom is zooming: The videoconferencing company just reported sales for its fiscal third quarter that rose by roughly 370% year-on-year. (That’s not a typo. 370 percent.) Zoom also said the number of customers contributing more than $100K in revenue over the last 12 months rose by 136%. And the number of customers Zoom has with more than 10 employees rose by 485%.

Amazon is zooming, too: In October the company reported that sales in its fiscal third quarter had risen by 37% to a whopping $96.1 billion. The company recently said it would hand out $500 million in holiday bonuses to its front-line staff. And it has pledged to create 100,000 seasonal jobs this year.

Salesforce takes up the Slack: How much is collaboration vendor Slack Technologies worth? Salesforce reportedly reckons about $17 billion. The deal could be announced as soon as later today, when Salesforce reports its latest financial earnings.

Digital shopping rules: Speaking of Salesforce, the company today reported that digital sales spiked across all major U.S. shopping days. That includes a 20% year-on-year increase on Thanksgiving day, 23% increase on Black Friday, and a 10% rise on Cyber Monday. Also, retailers with curbside, drive-through, and in-store pickup saw 32% higher online sales growth compared to retailers without those options during Cyber Week.

Who needs an office? Demand for office space across the United States is down more than 50% from pre-COVID levels, according to VTS, a provider of CRM software for the the real-estate industry. “This is by far the worst contraction in recent history for the office market as businesses grapple with a global pandemic,” says VTS CEO and co-founder Nick Romito.

Customer service rises to the top: More than three-quarters (77%) of CEOs worldwide say they’ll fundamentally change how their companies interact with customers to drive business growth, finds a new survey by consultants Accenture. “COVID has pushed experience further into the spotlight,” says group executive Brian Whipple, “accelerating its significance through every function and employee.”

These trends aren’t flukes; they’re part of the new normal. Once new habits are established, they become, well, habits. Smart tech providers will take note.

UPDATE: Salesforce has indeed signed a definitive agreement to acquire Slack. But the pricetag will be much higher than earlier estimates had it: stock and cash worth $27.7 billion.


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