Software AG has published results from its ‘Situation Report’ global survey of IT Leaders and their digital transformation investment strategies. The company looked at a few data points gathered through our own research at the end of 2020. It noted that technology investments in 2020 saw digital transformations accelerate dramatically. Analysts have suggested that several years’ worth of change have happened in the space of a few short months.
The research highlighted some priorities and assumptions that companies have in common. It also highlighted some areas where opinion is divided on the best way forward.
What companies have in common
- 97% believe their business is resilient.
- 95% believe technology will help them tackle future challenges.
- 90% believe that customer expectations will increase in the next year.
Where companies differ:
- Whether to consolidate (50%) or diversify (48%) tech portfolios.
- Whether to prioritise product and process (48%) or customer support and service (52%) improvements.
- Who the biggest beneficiary of digital investments has been, or will be, with customers, employees and ‘the business’ all cited as top priority.
What did companies invest in?
The report suggests that by looking at where investments were made shows that while the goal of transformation was common. The means of achieving it were diverse. Data and analytics tools, process-focused technology as well as customer experience and integration platforms were all invested in.
Of the technologies essential in 2021, global IT leaders listed the following as areas of focus. Cloud computing (67%), 5G (51%), AI (43%) and Integration (43%).
Which tech did companies invest in?
There is a real split between companies that looked to diversify their technology portfolio (48%). Alternatively, those who preferred to consolidate on a few technologies (50%). Despite the risk of over-dependence with the latter, 97% of companies are confident that their IT infrastructure is resilient. Just 1% said that it definitely is not. Are people living in denial? Or has the rush of investment created a new level of resilience that will serve companies well in the future.
Investment usually has either an internal or an external priority. Product development/process improvement (internal) helps the organisation first. Service and support functions (external) help the customer first. Each will trickle across to the other, of course. Companies are almost 50/50 on their approach.
Impact of Covid-19 pandemic
“The COVID pandemic redefined digital transformation in the enterprise,” commented Dr Stefan Sigg, CPO, Software AG. “While transformation has been an imperative that IT leaders have been championing for years, it took these historic circumstances for many business leaders to make it a priority. The resulting acceleration was nothing short of miraculous, albeit necessary. Organisations had to take some big dramatic steps – and in some cases a leap of faith – to make their businesses work in the most difficult circumstances. The reward is that the benefits will stretch well beyond the pandemic.”
Closer look at global trends
- A majority of American and German IT professionals say they need more diversification in their IT infrastructure. While the majority of British and French say they have a good amount of technologies and suppliers.
- American and British IT professionals are more likely than French and German to say their IT infrastructure is “definitely” resilient. The latter are more likely to say it is “probably” resilient.
- American and British IT professions are more likely to say a “better digital experience” is most important to customers. French and Germans are more likely to report that customers want a “faster service” than Americans and British.
- British IT professionals say their Board of Directors are the most influential decision maker when it comes to transformation.
Digital transformation is expected to continue with 70% of businesses say definitely and 27% say it probably will. Only 2% say they will not make any investments in 2021. However, recession is the biggest fear for businesses in 2021. Businesses overwhelmingly (95%) believe that technology will help them to be more resilient in the face of these challenges. Forty-three percent thought it was critical. Ongoing digital transformation reminds businesses of the importance to be ready for the unpredictable.
The survey was conducted online between November 9 and 17, 2020 by Regina Corso Consulting. It examined how global IT professionals feel about digital transformation efforts. The survey was conducted among 600 IT professionals. There was 250 from the US, 150 from the UK and 100 each from France and Germany. All respondents are at least a director and work in a company with at least 250 employees.
Enterprise Times: What this means for business?
The COVID-19 pandemic served as the backdrop for a year of innovation and digitalisation in businesses around the globe. Transformation and investment remain common goals, but the best way to achieve them highlights diversity of thinking in tech strategies. Nearly all the businesses contacted in the research underwent digital transformation in 2020. Furthermore, 3 out of 5 confirmed they went through a “large amount” of change in the year. That’s not surprising considering the amount of sudden change businesses have had to implement quickly. Remote working, implementing social distancing, kerbside pickup or click and collect, local fulfilment, online booking systems, the list is endless.
The ways in which companies pursue their digital transformation are varied. One priority or approach will suit one organisation better than another. According to Software AG, whichever road businesses chose, building resilience is vital. In addition to being ready for the unexpected must be at the heart of every strategy.