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The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Software Search

October 14, 2020

The entire world at large has felt the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve seen businesses in all industries either crumble, scramble to recover, or unexpectedly find and leverage an unforeseen opportunity to excel.

The first two months of the pandemic were tough; February and March 2020 resulted in companies of all sizes slashing costs, reevaluating their business plans, and figuring out how to support their bottom line during a staggering economic, political, and social situation.

Remote working became a necessity.

The influx in both consumers and businesses turning to video conferencing solutions, the increased need for virtual private networks or secure server connections, and the quick embrace of digital and telecommunication networks were expected. After all, when the world quarantines, the “normal” way of working becomes obsolete.

What were the impacts of COVID-19 on work?

Not everyone is well versed in digital transformation or alternatives to existing solutions and systems. Additionally, not all businesses have the financial stability to pivot to another solution. Free versions of software quickly came to market once vendors realized that some of their potential demographic simply didn’t have the funds to support necessary change. But coming up with and dispersing free versions takes time.

Read More: Business Software Spending During the COVID-19 Crisis

At the same time, G2 analysts kept an eye on site traffic; partly to understand buyers’ needs in the midst of the pandemic and partly to anticipate changes to those needs as the months went on. Coronavirus did not disappear at the end of March, but what did change was business’ adaptability.

In February and March, users were desperate to find software that could connect them remotely. Then they found solutions that worked (or worse, did not work). They stuck with those new solutions and began dealing with brand new pain points. Those pain points, in addition to belated bottlenecks, resulted in a new kind of software search. The market research team at G2 then became interested in any sustained or differing changes in site traffic after the initial rush of remote work, tracking traffic from March 2020 to August 2020.

Generally, the effects were unsurprising. Some of the software categories that saw a significant uptick in traffic included Virtual Classroom, Online Learning Platform, Computer-Assisted Translation, and Visitor Management.

The data team at G2 decided to expand that initial category traffic data pull to go beyond February and March. Companies in the U.S. particularly have evolved to find ways to work efficiently through the crisis rather than find ways to end the crisis and resume “normal” work.

The results are as follows.

Immediate and long-term impacted traffic

The following graph is comprised of G2 categories that have changed in traffic by 100% or more in one of the two time segments given below:

  • Immediate reaction due to the sudden impact of COVID-19—the months of February and March
  • Tracking the changes for six months after the initial hit of the COVID-19 pandemic—the months of March through August

Any category that appears on this graph already had at least 500 unique page views as of February 2020.

 

A few callouts from the graph:

These categories saw a positive uptick in traffic in the February-March dataset:
  • Virtual Classroom (1122.60%)
  • Webinar (551.88%)
  • Video Conferencing (506.30%)
  • Online Learning Platform (203.24%)
  • VR Collaboration (187.82%)
  • Remote Desktop (178.62%)
  • Online Course Providers (113.76%)
These categories saw a positive uptick in traffic in the March-August dataset:
  • Note-Taking Management (160.07%)
  • Flipbook (125.25%)
  • Animation (142.26%)
  • Desktop Publishing (107.74%)
  • Computer-Assisted Translation (113.45%)
  • Cryptocurrency Mining ( 482.76%)
  • Installment Payment (128.34%)
  • Student Information Systems (SIS) (211.17%)
  • Gym Management (108.10%)
  • Email Verification (192.96%)
  • Visitor Management (112.17%)
  • Library Management (103.12%)
  • Contact Center Operations (148.28%)
These categories saw increased traffic in both the February-March and March-August datasets:
  • Note-Taking Management (53.68% and then 160.07%)
  • Flipbook (26.42% and then 125.25%)
  • Animation (14.16% and then 142.26%)

Trends

Online learning, online meeting, online collaboration, online support—there’s an obvious trend here. Most, if not all, industries have had to contend with meeting their users and consumers where they are. And where there are is “online”. While some businesses have shown flexibility when it came to remote work, there are some industries like healthcare—where remote work is simply not possible—or consumer packaged goods—where, at the very least, working in office supposedly outweighed any benefits or conveniences employees working remotely. Now, with “work from home” mandates, remote work has become the primary way to ensure the safety of employees.

For those industries that are unable to see to the 100% remote work reality (most likely due to the nature of the industry), solutions like visitor management and contact center operations enable social distancing, safe work environments, and contact tracing initiatives.  

Generally, the software categories that saw either initial or regained traffic on G2 throughout the pandemic makes sense. Electronic and digital offerings that enabled employees and workers to resume their daily activities were in high demand. Similarly, once “keep the light on” tasks were addressed, interest turned towards tools like video conferencing software and virtual workspaces that could improve engagement with clients and productivity of workers, virtual event platforms to enable and leverage virtual conferences, and collaborative whiteboard software to analyze activity and work output for further improvements.

There were unexpected developments in buyer insight, though. Verticals, specifically industries such as farming, public works, real estate, and supply chain needed help, and they came to G2 looking for software that could lessen their load. They may have latched onto comprehensive solutions that worked for non industry specific companies, but soon realized that they needed to take into consideration the nuances of their own industries.

Adding on, the coronavirus pandemic further peeled back corporate practices that were unfair or inequitable to certain demographics and populations. In a time when all businesses earnestly reevaluated their systems and mindsets, a surge in adopting tools like business continuity management software, objectives and key results (OKR) software, diversity & inclusion consulting, and strategy and innovation roadmapping tools to help identify and enforce diverse hiring, training, and supporting objectives can be seen.  

What does this mean for the future of work?

For better or for worse, humanity has discovered that it can work during crises. Luckily, we are in a time where software solutions exist to solve any problem. The terror of automation and artificial intelligence taking over jobs and rendering human effort obsolete is no longer on the forefront—rather, we have embraced that kind of technology to lessen resources and energy during a time of mental and physical depletion.

Even in industries like healthcare, supply chain, and food, where healthcare, warehouse, and restaurant heroes work tirelessly to combat the pandemic and don’t get the luxury to work remotely and safely, they can benefit from a variety of solutions that make their jobs just a little bit easier, boost morale a little bit higher, and simplify communication and notifications a little bit better.

Our analysts consider best practices for remote work across industries, and its  impact on the market.    Explore Now →

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