Techlandia Issue 5- 2021/2022 - Page 68

While the technology industry has in many ways proven surprisingly resilient to the global pandemic, with the increased digitization of the global economy and unprecedented strain on supply chains, Covid-19 has had, and will continue to have, long-lasting impacts on how technology companies do business.

One of the most significant impacts of the pandemic has been the increased digitization of the global economy.  Online dealings have been and will likely continue to be a primary point of interaction between technology companies and their customers.  Increased online transactions naturally result in increased customer data.  While more data means more risk in terms of data privacy and security, more data – and an enhanced understanding of that data – may also present opportunities.  

The collection and use of customer data carry legal obligations around the use, storage, and security of that data.  A failure to adopt adequate data security measures leads to increased security risks and the potential for fines, data subject claims, and negative publicity.  However, as many technology companies are increasingly aware, data can also be commercialized to create new products and revenue streams.  Whether using data to create customized or unique customer experiences, improve product or service offerings, or license data to third parties for analytics or machine learning purposes, data can be a valuable asset that many technology companies are not even aware that they have.  However, to make full use of their data, technology companies must evaluate and assess their legal rights in the data and must further ensure that any desired or intended use of the data is within the scope of those rights.  Therefore, well-drafted website terms of use, privacy notices, and other legal agreements are key to technology companies seeking to commercialize data.

The global pandemic has further placed unprecedented strains on global supply chains.  This is particularly true for companies in the electronics and semiconductor industries, with many such companies feeling the effect of the current semiconductor chip shortage.  This has caused and will continue to cause technology companies to be more proactive and strategic in minimizing future supply chain disruptions, leading to closer relationships between manufacturers and suppliers and increased investment in supply chain technologies.  

Technology companies seeking to develop closer relationships with their suppliers will need to implement more robust and protective supply and supply chain management agreements.  Technology companies seeking to prevent or minimize future supply chain disruptions will also look to expand on their internal manufacturing capabilities through the development or acquisition of new technology and IP, while also making significant investments to digitize their supply chains further and to develop or acquire AI and robotic process automation technologies to make their supply chains run more smoothly.

Covid-19 and its Effect on

Technology Companies:

Legal Challenges and Opportunities

During the Continued Global Pandemic