Published in Small Business
Michael Carnevale, founder of Carnevale ID. Michael Carnevale, founder of Carnevale ID. MIBIZ FILE PHOTO: JEFF HAGE

For tech firm Carnevale ID, reacting to unpredictable change is business as usual

BY Sunday, May 10, 2020 06:14pm

GRAND RAPIDS — Technology firms like Carnevale ID Inc. are designed to react quickly to changes and create new innovations for clients. 

Throughout the user experience designer and software developer’s nearly 20-year history, those changes have mostly stemmed from advances in technology platforms that bring new tools to market. The current moment of change may have been brought on by the coronavirus, but it’s still having a profound influence on how companies in a range of industries are thinking about leveraging technology in new ways, said founder Michael Carnevale. 

“And they’re not responding to it from a short-term quarantine perspective,” Carnevale said. “They’re responding to it from a longer term (perspective that) ‘life is going to change in these subtle ways, and our interactions between customers and businesses will be changing in these subtle ways.’ 

“These are opportunities that companies have to be ready for and to be serving up that type of interaction that the customers are going to want with businesses. It’s going to be different.” 

For example, he cites the ability to use augmented reality to allow people to experience products from the comfort and safety of their homes “without having to go to a showroom to be able to understand it.” 

“We have been delivering these types of advanced digital experiences for years now, and I think we’re just going to see more of that,” he said. 

Carnevale said the pandemic seems to have changed clients’ priorities. While some of Carnevale ID’s clients hit pause on their projects, others used the disruption as a catalyst to push forward. 

“The fact that we create digital experiences for businesses and their consumers, that seems to be a space that represents a lot of value to our clients, especially right now, because so many of the customer interactions are going to be happening digitally,” he said. 

The social distancing guidelines related to the pandemic also have changed how the team at Carnevale ID collaborates with one another. Gathering in a conference room to brainstorm ideas has been supplanted by virtual collaboration leveraging whiteboard technology in the Zoom video conferencing software or web-based software tools including Miro and Loom.

Carnevale expects the ubiquity and widespread use of those tools to further the push for decentralized business operations that support remote work.

“The more traditional generations have probably been resistant to it because they see the value of everybody being in the same room and getting stuff done together. I think what’s happening is they’re now seeing that this works as well, and in a lot of cases, even more effectively with the decentralization,” he said. “They’re seeing that their team is being just as productive, and so I think there’s going to be less resistance to remote work within corporate and agency environments.”

In the short term, Carnevale thinks the tech industry could experience a slow down in the summer, but he’s confident that his firm is structured to react and deal with the unknowns. 

“Technology is already pretty unpredictable; the rate of change is so fast,” Carnevale said. “From a business structural standpoint, we’ve always had to respond to that level of change. The situation we’re in now is just another form of change. It’s a change that’s not coming from Silicon Valley, per se. It’s coming from another source, but we’re responding to it in the same way. 

“That whole mindset is why our customers like working with us. You can’t support clients in a state of rapid change and give them the services they need and the solutions they need if you’re not adapting and changing faster even than they are.”

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