#Innovation — 17.06.2020

Is the health crisis accelerating technology adoption?

Investment Grade Credit

The pace of adoption of new technologies tend to have relatively well-known patterns. Starting with “innovators” and early “adopters”, at the outset of the tech availability, to “early majority” and “late majority” that only take on mature technologies, to “laggards”, that tend to only join the trend when everybody else already has, the phases have been codified since the 50s. And these patterns of adoption, initially developed in the USA for new farm practices by agricultural researchers (Bohlen, Joe M.; Beal, George M. (May 1957). "The Diffusion Process". Special Report No. 18), held surprisingly firm over the following 50 years and the subsequent technology waves, from the microchip to VCR, from the PC to the phone, from the internet to social networks.


The key element tends to be the adoption by the “early and late majority”, which indicates widespread success, and this process, depending on the technology, can take up to several years, even if the pace has accelerated over time. However, periods of crisis can accelerate this adoption significantly, especially when the technology is already proven and only users’ mentality needs to change.

The unprecedented situation created by the Covid-19 virus could very well be such a crisis. The forced home confinement of a large portion of the planet has laid the ground for companies to leverage existing technologies to continue to operate, and for people to continue to interact with each others. The most striking examples are well known, from Microsoft announcing the number of daily users of Teams, its group communication and collaboration tool, increasing by 70%, to Netflix beating its forecasts in terms of number of subscribers.

For corporations, using technologies was the only way to continue to operate and it has worked very well so far. While many companies already had the technologies and the tools installed and available on their own infrastructures, there was a strong reluctance to change proven ways to operate. However, with no alternatives, a mass trial of these existing technologies was forcibly launched in March 2020 and has proven very successful to date, with daily video calls, remote approval processes, electronic signatures, online collaboration, etc. leading the way.

“In time of extreme market volatility, the quality of advice and the speed of execution are of paramount importance in order to protect our clients’ wealth and at the same time allowing them to seize opportunities,”

Long Doan, APAC chief operating officer, BNP Paribas Wealth Management told Asian Private Banker.

On the client side, more generally, this crisis has seen a quantum leap in the use of our digital solutions by our clients. The traffic to BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s integrated e-banking platform (myWealth) has seen continuous increase with over 76% of clients now equipped with our digital solutions and our recent online advisory service (myAdvisory) has seen a very strong interest raising. The usage of myWealth has increased by a quarter in the last few month, with an acceleration in the past few weeks. In addition, leveraging video conferencing and other communication strategies, BNP Paribas Wealth Management has organized multiple events and webinars to enable clients to have direct virtual access to our leading market experts.

“Since the virus outbreak, the bank has actively organised “non-traditional market updates” using webinars and audio conferences, so that clients can directly interact with the bank’s CIO and market experts.” Asian Private Banker 

On the employee side, the vast majority of BNP Paribas Wealth Management teams have been able to work from home with full functionality . The relationship managers have been able to leverage the range of tools created by the bank to continue to be ever closer to their clients and bring them solutions by multiplying interactions and value-added exchanges.

As the uncertainties related to the Covid-19 crisis are likely to continue to be present for the time being, the lightning-fast adoption of certain technologies have in effect established a “new normal”. Working together as integrated teams while staying at home, we have BNP Paribas Wealth Management have been able to stay close to clients virtually and deployed our resources to ensure clients can continue to operate and benefit from the advice of their dedicated private bankers.

“We have been providing effective and easy-to-use communication tools for our employees, and I can say that this is probably the part that people appreciate the most.”

Long Doan, APAC chief operating officer, BNP Paribas Wealth Management

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