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The business and teamwork lessons of 2020


2020 was … an interesting year

No need to belabor that point. Between a global health crisis, lockdowns in almost every country, and confusion about data and politics and beliefs and solutions and masks, everything seemed to be different. Very few people’s plans at the end of 2019 went the way we thought.

What did it all mean for business?

Remote work

Those who were skeptical saw that the model can work very well. It cannot work for everyone, no, but for sectors like tech, finance, energy, etc. it works very well -- and remember, many of the teams that had been fully in-office moved to a remote model within 1-2 days. And again, it worked when people were worried it might not.

The tech used for remote work -- collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype, Slack, Discord, and other platforms -- worked well and was flexible and scalable. Companies were able to develop product and sell without having to fly all over to trade shows and client sites. There were innovations in banking (contactless payments), e-commerce (better drop shipping), and more industries. Cloud was already becoming normative for most companies, but with so many people working remotely, cloud became a central storyline of the year.

While there are concerns about people working more remotely, remote work was effective. It worked. It defied the skeptics.


Teamwork took on a different form this year, as collaboration became digital/virtual as opposed to in-person in most cases. Consider: in December 2019, Zoom had 10 million meeting participants. In April 2020? It had 300 million.

One of the big lessons of 2020 was how interconnected business is, and how people need people. Collaboration, teamwork, and culture had to adjust -- you see your coworkers less -- but they became even more important. It’s very hard to become digital-first or digitally-transform if the culture isn’t there that allows it. People needed to support each other, and that happened in 2020 as well.

This fits very well with our core beliefs at Serengeti. Teamwork is one of our core capabilities both between Serengeti engineers and between Serengeti and our client. We select, develop and empower individuals with strong talent, great attitude, energy, and ensure that they will always work well within a team.

We enable seamless team extension by mirroring the processes and development environments of our demanding clients. Our global team of over 150 engineers are adept in all major technology platforms and possess unique development skills, domain knowledge and real-world experience.

What does this mean for business?

Mostly positive. Consider:

  1. More organizations understand that remote, dispersed teams can be just as effective as on-site teams (and maybe moreso). That opens them up to thinking about outsourcing some of their dev work as opposed to building a team in-house.
  2. Organizations need new products and revenue models to meet the current moment, and they understand they need truly expert development to build those products. In finance, it’s often been contactless payments of late -- in healthcare it might be better back-end systems to track patients, symptoms, and facilities they’ve moved through. Everyone is trying to rise to meet this moment.
  3. There is a greater need for expertise around cloud, automated testing, and machine learning in this environment. Organizational leaders want the best mix of human touch + high-tech that they can get, and they need the right developers on board for that to happen. It’s easier from a cost and productivity standpoint to outsource your software work, as hiring is a gamble and this is not a guaranteed time for revenue streams.
  4. Teams with expertise in logistics are in high demand, as this is a chaotic time -- the holiday season in 2020 will be a “Shipageddon,” with many more packages shipped than the system can handle. Well-designed logistics and operational platforms help reduce that problem.

2020 was a hard year for many, but many industries also thrived. When we look back on it, we’ll probably see it as a fulcrum point in a transition to more work-from-home, more adoption of cloud, more contactless delivery and payment options, more e-commerce shops, and ideally a bigger focus on teamwork and getting the best talent possible. It will be a year that changes how business is perceived and executed, and going into 2021 with a focus on WFH, a solid tech stack, talent, and new product possibilities will serve your business well.

Let us know if you need any help with any of this, in the meantime feel free to check out our checklist above.

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