2020 wrap up

Looking Back at 2020 – The Year the World Changed

Oh brother, 2020 was quite the year to say the least. It started off like any other year with New Year celebrations, large parties, legal family gatherings (that three months later would be considered illegal in many places), lists of resolutions, and hope for the future. But unlike previous years, 2020 was planning to throw the whole world a spinning curveball that would change the way businesses operate on a global scale and how we will work and live for years to come.

Although 2020 was kind of like being strapped onto an emotional rollercoaster filled with all the ups and downs of a good horror-comedy film, there are some things about 2020 that are inspirational for me and will be greatly missed. 

Below I’ll recap the highs and lows we individually experienced together, how 2020 was for us at Vtiger, and some takeaways to help us transition smoothly into 2021.

Hardships

For many, the world was turned completely upside down by great loss, fear, and uncertainty. We lost loved ones. Many lost their jobs and endured intense hardships. For instance, India saw about a million migrants walking hundreds of miles to get back home during the lockdown.

Companies faced unforeseen challenges early in the year with the onset of COVID-19, as many were forced to change their entire workforces to working remotely almost overnight. Companies were also scrambling to ensure they were using and obtaining the right tools to handle their new business processes while dealing with the reality that no one knew how long they were going to need to sustain working in this new environment.

Employees felt the pressure as well; it left many of us trying to stay productive while using patchy internet connections to join meetings (while wearing at least a presentable upper outfit), juggling work and family simultaneously, and providing homeschooling/childcare for our children, all without being able to leave our surrounding walls.

While writing this, I can picture myself and my wife, 30 years from now sitting around our fireplace with our grandchildren, telling ‘The great story of 2020 – The Year the World Changed.’

For us at Vtiger, 2020 was also filled with our fair share of ups and downs. Just like many companies we had to shift into a new way of thinking and working. In early March, soon after our launch of Vtiger 8 and at the beginning of the pandemic, we had our entire team transition to working from home. Although this presented some initial challenges, we are fortunate to have most of the tools we need to maintain productivity and carry on at our fingertips using our cloud CRM.

Most notably, 2020 brought the Vtiger family much sorrow when we unexpectedly lost a dear colleague and friend, Vijay Kumar. Vijay was only 25 years old when he passed, and was a true beacon of light to all those around him. Vijay was an inspiration both in his professional and personal life, always navigating his way through this world with a big smile on his face. He was a valued member of our Engineering team and was an integral part of implementing Vtiger 9.

To learn more about Vijay, please read this memorial blog written by our CEO, Sreenivas Kanumuru. 

Resilience, Bravery, Sacrifices, and Innovation

If you scroll through your social media feeds, you will see a lot of posts from people who are ready to say farewell to 2020, hoping to never think back on this year again. Although I completely understand where some people are coming from, looking back, we have had many positive experiences this past year as well.

The tragedy, uncertainty, and change that this pandemic forced upon us, has really helped to bring out the good in people. It has helped us to appreciate all the little things we took for granted in our busy, always on the go, never look back, pre-Covid lives. We have learned that we humans are extremely adaptable and really can get through just about anything with the right mindset and resources. Here is an example – from airline employees to shrine maidens.

My mother-in-law, Mary Jane, put it best by saying “All of the technology has really helped me emotionally through these times by enabling me to connect with my family and friends. Not to mention also having quick, easy access to the food, medicine, and services we need. Without access to some of the technology that I didn’t even know existed last year, this would have been a much tougher, if not impossible experience.”

New and existing technologies, especially cloud technology, have been key ingredients for us to maintain a level of normalcy while enabling us to stay connected with each other. Cloud technology and services have helped many companies stay on target while making sweeping changes to their organizations and business processes. These same tools that were already being used and embraced by major organizations are now being used by doctors, teachers, families, and more to help patients, educate children, and see loved ones no matter where we have been riding out this storm.

Vtiger has also had some positive things come out of 2020. When the world came to an almost screeching halt, we put this time to good use to redesign and rework some of the features in our CRM. This culminated with our team successfully launching our newest version of our cloud CRM, Vtiger 9. Because we had the right tools at our disposal, we were able to accomplish this feat with 100% of our employees working remotely. In the last few weeks, we have migrated all of our Vtiger 8 users over to Vtiger 9, and have started the process of migrating our Vtiger 7 customers, as well.

With the launch of Vtiger 9, we have also incorporated some brand new features including One View, new integrations, a brand new intuitive UI, and Calculus; our new AI driven engine that uses historical data and conversation analysis to help drive teams towards success. We have also learned how lucky we are to be in the position to provide our cloud service to organizations around the world while working from the safety of our homes. For that, all of us at Vtiger are truly grateful. 

We also understood the challenges that many of our customers were facing and wanted to help provide some relief. In March, we started receiving emails from some of our customers who stated that due to the pandemic and lockdowns, they were not going to be able to afford to pay for their Vtiger subscription. The same month, we launched the Vtiger Business Assistance Relief Package to help struggling businesses with deferred payments and invoice reductions.

Though this gesture would not resolve struggles our customers were facing, we knew it helped them continue using our product to generate revenue.

Our team was also glad to have the opportunity to lend a helping hand to the Corona Warriors by offering them a tool to track the daily activities.

Takeaways from 2020

At the end of the day humanity deserves a pat on the back… or maybe two. We have faced the challenges and uncertainties of 2020 with determination and adaptability. We have navigated waters that were uncharted and have found ways individually and collaboratively to press forward, succeed, and survive. We have come to acknowledge that even without the technology and tools, we are all connected to each other and have more in common with our global brothers and sisters than we once might have thought. We have realized that it’s good to slow down sometimes and really embrace and cherish the limited time we have with our loved ones. If we can take the good from the bad and all hold on to the lessons learned in 2020, we can carry that forward to make 2021 and beyond truly special.

From all of us at Vtiger, Happy New Year. We hope you and yours have a safe, healthy, and prosperous 2021.

Please leave a comment below and tell us what you are grateful for when looking back at the wild year that was 2020.

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