It’s no surprise that COVID-19 changed—and accelerated—most organizations’ IT plans. As a result, technology executives are increasing their investments in digital technologies. They’re also speeding up what were once multi-year technology plans.
Conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights in association with VMware, Digital Acceleration in the Time of Coronavirus1 reveals how technology strategy contributed to business resiliency and growth. The survey showed that companies ahead of the digital curve were best positioned for success at the onset of the pandemic and in the uncertain times ahead.
In one of the first signs of changing priorities resulting from the crisis, companies quickly shifted to accommodate a surge in the remote workforce. Before COVID-19, on average, only 8% of workforces regularly worked remotely. During the pandemic, this shot up to an average of 27%.
Globally, 75% of respondents believe digital transformation efforts were accelerated by the pandemic. One-third anticipate budget increases for digital investments. Now, IT teams plan to address the shortcomings exposed during the pandemic by prioritizing:
- Modern apps and infrastructure.
For many, COVID-19 challenged existing business continuity plans. Nearly two-thirds (63%) indicate they had business-continuity plans in place prior to the crisis. However, for many, these were oriented toward traditional disaster recovery. Fewer than half (46%) felt their plans were effective when attempting to cope with the shutdowns.
Global Industry Priorities
Industry-specific themes also emerged across regions. Removing decades-long barriers, healthcare—more than any other industry—is accelerating digital transformation in response to COVID-19. In financial services, there’s evidence that mobile applications are becoming the foremost destination for customer service. Nearly all surveyed financial services leaders (98%) said they’re increasing or maintaining focus on digital-first customer experiences within applications.
More than half of healthcare organizations surveyed (51%) are increasing patient experience investments. The most critical is telehealth services worldwide, filling a much-needed gap in serving healthy populations as they care for the sick. Popular solutions include virtual desktops and wearables that can enhance care provider engagement and patient outcomes. To learn more, read the healthcare insights blog.
Almost two-thirds of financial services organizations (65%) said they’ve expanded agile practices and continuous delivery (CD) methods in response to new modern app demands. Securing those apps is also being prioritized. More than half (53%) instituted “secure-by-design” application development. Both initiatives are critical to enabling apps to become the main customer experience destination for banking services. To learn more, read the financial services insights blog.
For government leaders, the number one priority and challenge is protecting against cyberattacks and securing data and information. Close to half of respondents indicate they’re allocating a “significant” share (defined as more than 25%) of their IT budgets to security and threat management.
Many are choosing solutions that build in security, rather than bolt it on, from data centers to multi-cloud and endpoint devices. At the same time, agencies increasingly look to boost agility and efficiency with public cloud and FedRamp Authorized cloud services that power and secure enterprise infrastructure and apps. To learn more, read the government insights blog.
Services delivered across networks will drive a more fully connected world. Telecommunications providers are enabling customers across all industries to reimagine application development and delivery. To help consumers and enterprises alike realize the potential of 5G, telco providers must first continue to invest in their own digital transformation—from core to edge.
During the pandemic, distributed work capabilities quickly turned into business continuity must-haves. When asked about the greatest employee experience challenge, most retail leaders cited providing employees with the physical equipment necessary to be productive remotely. This includes capabilities provided by the combination of personal devices and secure digital workspaces.
Nearly three-quarters of manufacturing IT and business technology decision makers (73%) placed employee efficiency and workflow automation as the highest priorities. By achieving efficiency gains through modernizing infrastructure, cost-conscious manufacturers can keep improving IT operations.
Becoming Future Ready
COVID-19 work-from-home orders and shutdowns provided sudden, dramatic proof of the value of digital technologies. Now facing new business pressures, new enterprise technology priorities are emerging.
Future-ready organizations possess technologies that are highly flexible and capable of supporting remote operations and distributed workforces. And in these uncertain times, these enterprises are best positioned to succeed.
To learn more, download “Digital Acceleration in the Time of Coronavirus”:
And be sure to check out the Top 10 Trends Shaping IT Resilience for a roundup of the most salient global insights from the study.
1. Global survey of 600 C-level and IT executives, as well as in-depth interviews from public- and private-sector organizations in three regions—Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America—conducted between June-August 2020.