Underneath all the tragedy of the coronavirus pandemic is a massive digitization effort within nearly every industry across corporate America that promises to change how we shop, get healthcare, or even find our next job.
There are many visible examples of this. Some Walgreens shoppers have already had a glimpse at the new, internet-enabled displays from Cooler Screens that will soon be in 2,500 stores across the nation. At non-profit hospital chain Banner Health, a new chatbot (the brainchild of a former Target executive) helps mitigate one of the biggest complaints in the healthcare industry: waiting for a doctor. And more regional banks are investing in online banking, an offering that many of the Wall Street titans have perfected but that, prior to the coronavirus, had less urgency among smaller institutions as customers still preferred visiting local branches.
But there are many improvements that may not be noticeable to the average shopper or patient. Walgreens, for example, is partnering with Microsoft and Adobe to create a digital profile for each of its customers — which allows the retailer to create custom promotions based on shopping habits.
PepsiCo is using artificial intelligence to scan tweets, menus, and other online information to help get deepen insight into rapidly changing customer preferences. Those efforts even helped support the launch of new SodaStream flavorings. At IBM, the tech giant is automating many of the more mundane human resources operations — like pinpointing the skills that certain teams may be lacking based on the resumes of the employees.
These digital transformations are only accelerating, as COVID-19 prompts a quicker shift to online interactions. And both sides of the spectrum — the visible improvements and the behind-the-scenes advancements — will only get more robust.
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