The Impact of COVID-19 on Tech Development and Adoption

In March 2020, just a few weeks into the first lockdown, McKinsey published an article that said, “recent data show that we have vaulted five years forward in consumer and business digital adoption in a matter of around eight weeks. Banks have transitioned to remote sales and service teams…grocery stores have shifted to online ordering and delivery …schools in many locales have pivoted to 100 percent online learning and digital classrooms.” The New York Times reported that the NHS had seen a decade of technological change in the course of a week. Fortune wrote: “the pandemic has only accelerated the head-spinning pace of technological change.” The Economist called it “techceleration.”

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has had a profound impact on tech innovation, development, and adoption among businesses, consumers, and the medical community. It has profoundly changed sectors such as retail and financial services. But as we begin to come out of lockdown here in the UK, which of these technologies and trends are here to stay, and which are likely to fall by the wayside? Which services, applications, and devices failed to gain traction despite high expectations?

This event will explore these questions from four perspectives: consumer, enterprise, health, and retail/e-commerce.

Our panel will be moderated by Audrey Mandela, WiTT Chair. She will be joined by:

  • Melissa Bane – Managing Director, Europe, Grail Insights;
  • Catherine Davies, Managing Partner, Monticle;
  • Camille Mendler, Chief Analyst , Enterprise Services |Service Provider & Communications | Omdia; and
  • Alexandra Rehak, Associate Director, Technology Strategy at Cambridge Consultants.

The evening will run as follows:

6:00-6:15 Welcome and networking

6:15-7:15 Panel discussion and Q&A

7:15-7:30: Wrap-up and further networking

To attend this free event, please register on Eventbrite:

We hope you’ll join us in May!

Best wishes,
The WiTT Board
Annette, Audrey, Helen, Michelle, Stephanie, and Yasmeen

Chair and Panelist biographies

Panel Chair
Audrey Mandela
Chair, Women in Telecoms & Technology / Co-Founder, Multimap /Independent Consultant / Angel Investor

Audrey Mandela is chair of Women in Telecoms & Technology (WiTT), a networking group for women in the sector. She also runs Mandela Associates, which provides market research and consulting services for select clients in the telecom, internet and geographical information sectors.

Audrey was Co-Founder of Multimap, one of the world’s leading online mapping providers, where she acted as the company’s corporate counsel and marketing director, and was a board director. Multimap was acquired by Microsoft in December 2007.

Audrey was formerly Senior Vice President, International, for the Yankee Group, one of the industry’s leading IT research firms. As Senior VP, Audrey was responsible for managing the Yankee Group’s research, consulting and sales activities in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Audrey is also a member of the advisory board of Angel Academe, an angel network that focuses on investments in women-led businesses; a member of the TEDxCouncil and an advisor for TEDxLondonBusinessSchool; an NED at several tech start-ups; and a board director for Wedu, a charity that mentors and supports young women leaders from underserved communities in Southeast Asia.


Catherine Davies
Managing Partner

Over the last 11 years Catherine Davies has supported the NHS to give patients consistently safe, high quality, compassionate care within local health systems. She has held executive level positions in Monitor, the health regulator, and its precursor organisation. Catherine was delighted to be featured in the Heath Service Journal top 100 people with the greatest influence on health policy and the NHS. She now advises NHS organisations and healthcare businesses directly.

Catherine helps innovative companies to partner with the NHS. Her vast experience working in the public and private sectors and with all parts of the NHS in England enables her to offer a unique set of perspectives and connections. She is also a passionate advocate for a better gender balance in the health eco system and is about to launch a podcast – the Women In HealthTech Show

Catherine is on the board of Reform, a leading Westminster think tank and an Expert in Residence for the Women of Wearables network. Catherine began her career as a corporate lawyer with a global law firm in London.


Melissa Bane
Managing Director
Grail Insights

Melissa is the Managing Director of Grail Insight’s European business. Melissa has over 25 years of experience ranging from market research and strategy consulting to Fortune 500 companies to founding and managing marketing for award-winning software companies. She specializes in helping companies build growth strategies and translate data into actionable decisions.
Melissa previously managed the Internet Market Strategies practice for the Yankee Group in Boston, advising consumer goods, technology and financial services clients on ecommerce strategies, growth planning and M&A.

Melissa then went on to co-found Altio, a London based software company, where she raised over $15 million in financing and grew the company’s presence across the US. In addition to her executive management role, she was responsible for marketing strategy, product positioning and market development.

Melissa later led marketing for software company Nexaweb in Cambridge, MA, where she managed the company’s corporate communications, product positioning, market intelligence and go-to-market strategies. Before joining Grail, Melissa consulted with Fortune 500 clients such as Microsoft, HP and IBM on competitive intelligence, strategic insights and product strategy in the US and Europe.

Melissa has grown Grail’s European operations from inception to now serve some of the leading consumer, technology and ecommerce brands in the UK and Europe. She leads a team of consultants and researchers to advise FTSE 100 clients on insights and strategy.
She has been profiled in the Financial Times and regularly quoted in publications such as the New York Times, The Washington Post and Wired.

Camille Mendler
Chief Analyst , Enterprise Services
Service Provider & Communications

Alexandra Rehak
Associate Director, Technology Strategy
Cambridge Consultants.