Businesses have gone through fundamental changes over the past 12 months – and technology has played a key role in keeping operations going.

This is the conclusion of a new report from the EBC Group, in conjunction with the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, which discovered that the coronavirus pandemic has brought about fundamental changes to the ways in which businesses operate – far beyond home working.

It found that companies are now more willing to try out new solutions, with 78% of businesses either adopting new technologies for the first time, or increasing their use of the latest tools, over the course of the pandemic.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cloud technologies, video conferencing and the Office 365 suite saw some of the biggest gains, as businesses use all the options available to them to keep employees working and the business operating as close as possible to usual.

To this end, EBC highlighted the vast number of active Microsoft Teams users during the pandemic, with the platform now seeing a record 75 million daily users – a three-fold increase on just a few months previously.

Digital transformation such as this has innumerable benefits, of course, but it’s also not without risk. The report noted that use of newer technologies put businesses at greater risk of falling victim to cyber criminals looking to exploit errors in deployment, weaknesses in newer systems or knowledge gaps among users. The result was an increase in malware and phishing attacks that ran alongside the wider tech transformation.

Looking ahead, EBC expects the move towards new technologies to continue for some time yet. It found that 62% of businesses are preparing to increase their spend on digital transformation to increase further over the next 12 months.

This is most likely due to the anticipated continuation of remote working, as a growing number of businesses plan to adopt a flexible approach, even when traditional office spaces re-open.

Concluding, the EBC report authors advised business owners to “use this time to reflect on what has and hasn’t worked over the past 12 months.” It added: “Changes made should be with the objective of developing an effective digital workplace and [should] include a range of solutions.”