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While the first and second waves of the COVID-19 pandemic have brought unprecedented changes throughout the United States, one thing is certain: the way business is done, both locally and globally, has made massive steps in a long-awaited transition to digital.

Since many people are already discussing the pandemic’s impact on the economy, consumer behaviors, healthcare, education systems and just about everything else under the sun. I’m going to focus on how it has reshaped MB&A – particularly how it’s pushed us to anticipate and responded to our customers’ emerging needs faster than we’ve ever done before.

Let’s start with what we do. As a software products company, we have two major business lines:

  1. ExAM4Enterprise.com – also known as our “general purpose” data collection platform, it supports digital forms, surveys, and complex data calls.
  2. ExAM4Inspections.com – this specialized data collection platform and suite of tools supports inspections, audits, and field services.

Digital Forms & Data Collection

Gathering information in person and through paperwork has become challenging, even impossible in some cases. Throughout 2021, more businesses will adopt the types of digital data collection technologies we’ve been developing since 2013. Beginning in May and June, we saw greater interest in our products, and this has only continued to gain momentum with the push for workplaces to move to digital data collection methods and modernize existing administrative processes.

Despite the Digital Revolution that started in the 80s, many organizations continue to process paperwork on paper, because change is hard and comes at a cost – even if re-tooling promised a substantial return on investment (ROI). Considering nobody is working shoulder-to-shoulder anymore, many businesses reached their tipping point, where it was no longer more possible to keep doing things the way they’ve always been done.

I expect this trend will accelerate in 2021 and beyond, as patrons, consumers, clients, and employees alike stay hesitant to go into offices and establishments and business begin to see an ROI in digital adoption. It’s also worth mentioning that while the vaccine is dominating the headlines, it may not be broadly recieved until the fall of 2021. Knowing this, I predict that 2021 will see five years’ worth of modernization in administrative processing, and that we will all be better for it.

Digital Inspections & Field Services

While our inspections and audit customers are also being pulled into digital work streams, here we’ve seen an added push to enable virtual processes. In response, we launched our ExAM4Inspections.com remote video product ExAMRVin November. Even though our goal was to address concerns related to COVID-19, including hesitancy to perform in person inspections and paused compliance programs, we see a bigger future for it post-pandemic. By reducing the travel time and the human resource costs associated with many inspection programs, virtual processes will open the door to immense savings.

Like the push to digitize forms, this trend isn’t entirely new. Rather, the lockdown, health and safety issues, and abrupt transition to working from home pushed it to the forefront and are encouraging the large-scale adoption of this technology. Since organizations are increasingly viewing it as necessary, I predict that video inspection will become commonplace by the end of 2021.

Here at MB&A, we are optimistic about the future of work, digitization, and what 2021 will bring. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic has brought unprecedented changes to how we live, work, and socialize, it also pushed digital trends into mainstream business practices. I’m excited for the future, and even more excited to leave 2020 behind. Happy Holidays!