Today’s tech companies aren’t defined by microchips and software. They include all types of businesses offering goods and services that run the gamut from baby food to pizza delivery, to education, to retail. That’s right — today, most of the companies you know are, in fact, tech companies.
What does that mean? Well, for starters, businesses — businesses that we wouldn’t have categorized as tech companies a few years ago — are recognizing the need for change and are reinventing themselves. And as companies continue to shift toward tech-driven business models, the workforce that they employ is shifting, too. And that’s exciting for women in tech.
So, what does this transformation look like? How are companies staying true to their brands as they adapt?
Check out just a few of the ways companies are reinventing themselves.
Improved Customer Experience
Retail companies are on an endless quest to find new ways to engage and delight their customers. In recent years, we’ve seen technology being used to create and personalize experiences to make products and services more accessible — and more personal by meeting customers where they are … quite literally.
Domino’s is a great example. The pizza company recently started delivering to customers using “hot spots” at locations that don’t have a physical address, such as parks and beaches. Pizza delivery certainly isn’t new to Domino’s, but they’ve managed to perfect it by using artificial intelligence to automate their phone orders. With a strong understanding of who they are as a company, they’ve built their tech infrastructure around the two pillars of their brand — food and service.
Online Shopping & Apps
It goes without saying that 2020 has been the year of online shopping. In fact, with online shopping trending upward — consumers had already spent $94 billion more online than in 2019 as of July.
So, this year, we saw retailers strengthen their online presence, though for many companies, the pandemic simply accelerated a plan that was already in motion, as Sharmeelee Bala, Head of Global Engineering for End to End Supply Chain and Enterprise Data and Analytics, Gap Inc., explained in the Future of Retail episode of The Girls in Tech Podcast.
And although customers are doing more of their shopping online or in-app, there is still excitement around the in-store experience. The formula that each company needs to hack is how to meet their customers at the right moment on their journey — in their day, on their commute or in their life. Good news for women in tech: Such a challenge presents a great opportunity for strategic thinking and a bit of creativity.
Merging Art and Tech
The creative industry is finding new ways to combine art with technology. Companies such as Pixar Animation Studios are a true inspiration. As a pioneer in animation and storytelling, Pixar’s a great example of a company that needs people with tech skills as well as traditional creatives. And the merging of these two disciplines lets Pixar create incredible — even realistic — worlds and tell diverse, inclusive stories.
Plus, as Danielle A. Feinberg, Director of Photography for Lighting and Visual Effects Supervisor at Pixar Animation Studios, pointed out in the Tech Meets Art episode of The Girls in Tech Podcast, there’s an opportunity to be someone who can troubleshoot software problems as you also develop your “creative eye.”
Using Data and Analytics to Empower
Information and data are empowering. Companies use data to make decisions, but more companies are in the business of using data to help their customers. Consider Clue, one of the most popular period tracking apps in the world. The app is designed to use technology and data to help women understand their own bodies. Clue co-founder and CEO, Ida Tin, wanted to develop a product that focused on science and data. With 14 million users, Clue is a Femtech leader and has redefined what it means to empower women with the information they need to understand their bodies and advocate for their health.
Here’s another example: For homebuyers, companies like Opendoor are changing the way we shop for homes and how we make decisions. The way they collect and process data is transforming the real estate industry — and empowering consumers.
These are just a few examples of companies that perhaps we haven’t thought of as technology companies before. After all, how many pizza restaurants consider themselves tech companies? But that’s what lies ahead. Domino’s, for example, isn’t a pizza company; it’s a tech company that sells pizza. And it’s that way of thinking that enabled the company to innovate and thrive.
And for women in tech, this also means there’s a wider range of career opportunities — a chance to figure out not just what you want to do, but what you want your impact to be. So, think beyond the typical tech and build the career you crave!