At the end of 2019, many projections were shared about the technology trends that would come in 2020. No one expected that video conferencing would be the one in greatest demand.

2020 has brought never imagined challenges in all facets of our lives. Health, education, work and technology have all faced the highest level of expectations in very short time. In seemingly real time, we were expected to pivot (the word of 2020) to online education, telehealth, virtual offices and make technology accessible and useable for all experience levels in users – from 5 year old kindergarteners to senior citizens.

Did we learn anything? Are we prepared to take anything from 2020 into the future for learning or proofing for future crisis or do we just want to slam the door shut and let it be gone? It would be understandable to go with the latter, but is that wise?

While the pandemic and economic downturn proved fatal for many businesses, some organizations have managed to not only survive, but thrive. The companies who futureproofed their foundations to weather unexpected challenges that came their way have landed on their feet. For organizations to have any hope at responding to unexpected external circumstances, this is the way to go.

Futureproofing means thinking outside your return on investment (ROI). This is hard for corporate leaders to understand, but not everything should be linear. Companies should be investing in areas that contribute to brand perception and relationship building, even if the ROI isn’t immediate.

Futureproofing also helps companies think beyond the importance of collecting data. They identify potential markets and prime their schema for shifts in segmentation so they can adjust as needed.

It is safe to say that none of us could have predicted the events of this year or even understand what 2021 will be like, but some organizations (and people) have reacted much more effectively than others.

But now that we’ve been able to identify the preparations that truly make an impact during times of unpredictable change, we have the opportunity to learn from them and do better by futureproofing our businesses for the next time, and there will be a next time, that we face disruption of this magnitude rather than furloughs, fear and failure.

Melody K. Smith

Sponsored by Data Harmony, a unit of Access Innovations, the world leader in indexing and making content findable.