The 2020 coronavirus pandemic upended the way companies do business. Some are coping better than others—but largely, businesses are optimistic about 2021.

That’s especially so for tech-forward organizations in two different industries—technology and manufacturing— that are planning major business initiatives to move beyond crisis response and thrive in a transformed corporate landscape. The pandemic accelerated trends that already were underway—and while 2020 might have been spent coping with the crisis, many business leaders are thinking about the next steps.

“We are in the middle of probably one of the biggest strategic moves the company has made in its history,” says Ritu Raj, director for enterprise engineering at John Deere. “That’s a big statement for a company that’s over 180 years old.”

According to a worldwide survey of 297 executives, conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, in association with Oracle, 80% feel upbeat about their organizations’ ultimate goals for 2021, expecting to thrive—for example, sell more products and services—or transform—change business models, sales methodology, or otherwise do things differently.

The iconic manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment is building a new operating model for the company with technology as the centerpiece, Raj says. For example, the tractors it’s selling today collect data about their operations and help farmers complete jobs like planting with precision. It’s one of the big moves— new business models, mergers and acquisitions, and big technology changes such as widespread automation— that organizations are making or planning in a landscape transformed by the pandemic.

tale of two industries

Every industry has unique characteristics. Certainly that’s true of technology companies, which by their nature undergo rapid transformation. The industry tends to be early adopters of new technology, says Mike Saslavsky, senior director of high-tech industry strategy at Oracle. Most tech products have rapid, short lifecycles: “You have to stay up with the next generation of technology,” he adds. “If you’re not transforming and evolving your business, then you’re probably going to be out of the market.” That premise applies across the range of businesses categorized as “tech,” from chip manufacturers to consumer devices to office equipment such as copiers.

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By: MIT Technology Review Insights
Title: New business models, big opportunity: Tech/manufacturing
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Published Date: Mon, 12 Apr 2021 14:00:00 +0000

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