According to The Agents of Transformation report, 88% of technologists say that digital customer experience is now the priority for their business
James Harvey, technology company Cisco AppDynamics’ CTO in EMEA, looks at whether or not Covid-19 has accelerated digital transformation projects.
In just a few short months, the Covid-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way most enterprise organisations operate and deliver services and products.
It has also redefined what is possible for IT teams to achieve.
As the consequences of the pandemic took hold, businesses shifted overnight to an almost completely digital world, IT departments across the globe grappled with surging demand, and a real urgency to accelerate digital transformation strategies.
Technologists across the world have delivered incredible digital transformation projects over the past few months.
A new report, The Agents of Transformation 2020: COVID-19 Special Edition, reveals some of the considerable challenges that IT teams have faced, and explores the support technologists need to maintain innovation in these extraordinary circumstances.
As countries slowly emerge from lockdown and governments tentatively reboot entire national economies, the pressure is on for technologists to deliver the infrastructure, applications and security required to maintain high-performing digital experiences for both customers and predominantly remote workforces.
At the core is the need for access to real-time data, visibility and insight across the entire IT stack.
Covid-19 has seen digital transformation projects signed off ‘in a matter of weeks’
It’s perhaps no surprise that 81% of technologists say that Covid-19 has created the biggest technology pressure for their organisation that they have ever experienced, or that 61% feel under more pressure at work than ever before.
With such pressure to deliver projects at an incredible pace, there has been no time for lengthy planning cycles and comprehensive proof of concept testing.
But these enormous and unprecedented changes to our ways of working – and selling – are also giving technologists the opportunity to accelerate long-held ambitions and initiatives that were once part of multi-year digital transformation programmes.
Of the technologists surveyed, 74% report that digital transformation projects that would typically have taken more than a year to be approved, have been signed off in just a matter of weeks.
At the same time, 71% have actually implemented digital transformation projects in weeks, rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic.
These figures clearly demonstrate why 87% of technologists surveyed say they see this period as an opportunity for technology professionals to show their value to the business.
Digital customer experience ‘now the priority’ for businesses, says survey
In response to the pandemic, many critical functions – from shopping and banking to working and education – have moved online.
As a consequence, 88% of technologists report that digital customer experience is now the priority for their business.
But many are undoubtedly feeling the strain as they help to adapt go-to-market strategies, as well as create and launch new digital services and applications in line with this new priority.
To successfully deliver on these programmes and provide the best possible experience to customers and employees – both now and in the future – technologists need the right resources and support from their organisation.
When asked what they needed to become an “Agent of Transformation” – technologists who possess the skills, ambition, and vision required to drive innovation – top of the list was visibility and insight into the performance of their technology stack (92%).
Access to real-time data at the point of need (89%) also featured prominently.
But 80% of technologists say that they have been held up by a lack of visibility and insight into the performance of their technology stack when trying to deliver quality customer experiences during the pandemic.
Access to the tools and data which technologists need to make informed, strategic decisions in real-time, and connect application and digital performance to key business outcomes is vital.
There is a disconnect between the tools technologists have, versus what they need to truly excel.
Only with the right actionable insights can IT teams succeed in delivering the highest levels of performance across all digital services.
This is going to be crucial as organisations battle in the increasingly competitive post-Covid economy.
Technologists believe they can positively impact how their business responds to the effects of Covid-19
Of course, access to the correct tools is not the only factor that will enable technologists to succeed.
The Agents of Transformation report identified other personality and managerial factors such as the need for autonomy and accountability (88%), and the freedom to experiment and take risks (87%) as key components in their ability to truly step-up in their organisations’ hour of need.
Certainly, the willingness and commitment of technologists during this crisis is unquestionable.
87% of technologists believe they can positively impact how their business responds to – and then recovers from – the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But to do this, they must have access to data and insights to make smarter decisions, to be operating within the right internal structures and culture, and have close support from both senior leadership and strategic technology partners.
The onus lies on business leaders to do everything possible to suitably equip IT teams as they navigate this turbulent period and emerge stronger on the other side.