For nine months now, the flow of our lives has been dictated by COVID-19. Our children’s education, the health of our loved ones, and the nature of our jobs have all been in the shadow of the pandemic.
The Jan 9, 2020 World Economic Outlook report by IMF had forecasted global economic growth of +3.3% for 2020 and +3.4% for 2021. By June 2020, the economic growth forecast was sharply reversed to –4.9%. The effect of pandemic was swift, sharp, and brutal across the board. We have all been challenged not only to figure out how to fight the pandemic, but even more importantly, how to live with it until a vaccine is widely available. In less than six months, we made enough progress that by October 2020, IMF forecast a rapid recovery and worldwide economic growth of 5.4% for 2021.
While stock markets may thrive again, I believe they will be even more disconnected from the real economy in 2021. The unprecedented uncertainty of 2020 forced companies to rapidly evolve and move to focus more than ever on profitability and manage the balance sheet. Organizations invested heavily on automation, reducing expenses, and leveraging human capital with less constraints on location.
Stock may go up, but so may unemployment.
This divergence of Wall Street and Main Street is happening because COVID-19 has forced an acceleration of digital transformation and created a new normal that goes well beyond knowledge workers shifting to home offices.
Digital transformation is now a permanent initiative as businesses of all sizes expand their online presence and provide support, services, and products. There is no going back on this trend.
This doesn’t mean everything that marked 2020 will stick. While some newly remote jobs will stay that way, there will also be a return to in-person normalcy in many occupations. Zoom, the darling of the pandemic economy, saw its stock price plunge the day that Pfizer’s vaccine trial results were announced –- an indication the markets believe more people will return to offices and factories.
There was a time when only very large companies saw their fortunes tied to these broad economic trends. This time it really affects everyone. Actifio was built on the idea that data is the new strategic asset and cloud is the new platform. We believe the core value proposition of our multi-cloud copy data management software — speed, cost and platform independence — is perfectly aligned with where the world is heading.
Persistent has been a long-term partner for Actifio in some of our most important initiatives. As we emphasized in our recent announcement expanding this partnership, Persistent’s focus on being a technology builder positions them very well to help organizations accelerate their digital transformations. Actifio is proud to be able to help Persistent and its customers advance these vital modernization efforts, and we look forward to continuing our partnership in 2021 and beyond.