Australian and New Zealand businesses are planning for up to three years of COVID disruption. That’s a key finding from the   2020 Beyond Disruption Business Pulse study released by  DXC Technology this morning and Telsyte.

The researchers sought the views of  600 Australian and New Zealand business leaders including CEOs, COOs, managers, CIOs, CDOs (Chief Digital Officers), and other technology decision-makers across various industries and business sizes on their organisations’ experiences in dealing with disruption.

Almost nine out of ten large organisations say they have managed the disruption well, compared to a lower proportion of small-medium enterprises (SMEs) (61 per cent). Generally, half of the respondents (54 per cent) believe it will take one to three years to fully recover.

A small number – (6 per cent) say it will take longer than three years to recover.

Overwhelming organizations (82 per cent) say technology is key to managing disruption, a number which climbs even higher (92 per cent) for those with more than 1,000 employees.

Importantly, two-thirds (68 per cent) of organisations believe their technology investments have helped them manage the current crisis well. In addition, most organisations (80 per cent) have “fast-tracked” their modernisation with technology, and more than half (54 per cent) described themselves as now having fully embraced a ‘cloud-first’ policy, whereby they aim to utilise cloud as much as possible within business practices.

“Australian and New Zealand businesses were compelled to transform almost overnight, and the majority rose to the challenge in an incredible display of resilience,” said Seelan Nayagam, managing director, DXC Technology Asia Pacific.

“Technology has been instrumental to enabling businesses in supporting a remote workforce and continuing to serve customers, but we have also seen an equally significant cultural shift take place. Many businesses that were once reluctant to transform or adopt flexible working policies have seen just how helpful these adjustments have been to manage the recent disruption. Now the paradigm has shifted, with businesses seeing technology as a gateway to productivity and cost efficiency to aid in their recovery,” Nayagam added.

The 2020 Beyond Disruption Business Pulse also revealed trends in terms of technology investment, cybersecurity, organisational culture, employee wellbeing, and data-driven decision making. Key findings include:

  • Spensing : Organisations plan to increase technology spending across the business by an average of 5 per cent, an investment which climbs to 10 per cent for those with more than 1,000 employees. This is similar to investment levels indicated by technology decision-makers in the Telsyte survey conducted in December 2019.  Business leaders indicated the most important technology investments for the next 12-months to be workplace modernisation (75 per cent) and cybersecurity (66 per cent), in addition to data analytics (72 per cent), cloud (68 per cent), and modern business applications (66 per cent). A silver lining in the current disruption is that 85 per cent of organisations now feel more open to new and emerging technologies.
  • Employees With organisations now managing a remote workforce, the majority have admitted the focus of their transformation efforts will be on employees. This marks a significant swing from 2019, when 61 per cent claimed transformation efforts were focused on customers.  Over 70 per cent of large organisations have launched mental health programs, and personal development training to help build staff resilience. In terms of recovery, improving wellbeing programs (70 per cent) and increasing skills and training programs (59 per cent) are amongst the top business priorities in the next 12 months
  • Productivity : In 2020, 44 per cent of organisations allowed the majority of their staff to work from home compared to only 7 per cent in previous years. This number rises to 65 per cent for larger organisations with more than 200 staff. In addition, almost three quarters (73 per cent) have expanded the responsibilities of employees, with many embracing multidisciplinary roles. As a result, half (52 per cent) of  respondents said they have cultivated a culture of productivity due to the current disruption, and three in five expect to see increased productivity in the future, a silver lining as a result of the organisational changes made to manage the recent disruptions.
  • Cybersecurity  : Nearly half (49 per cent) of organisations are seeing an increase in cyber-attacks, yet only 33 per cent are offering cybersecurity training for staff. In terms of recovery, the top business priority for organisations in the next 12 months is improving cybersecurity (79 per cent).
  • Analytics : Organisations have identified the most important technology investments for the next 12 months to be workplace modernisation (75 per cent), data analytics (72 per cent), cloud (68 per cent), cybersecurity (66 per cent), and modern business applications (66 per cent). Respondents are focusing on faster and easier access to trusted data for better decision making (54 per cent) and improving the analytics capability and data literacy skills across the business (46 per c3ent).

“It’s been a turbulent year with constant changes, making it difficult for businesses to predict the future,” said Foad Fadaghi, managing director of Telsyte. “The findings from this study, conducted over an eight week period, have provided a pulse check on the sentiment of ANZ business leaders, highlighting their challenges and learnings. It’s evident that technology will be critical, with cloud, analytics, cybersecurity and employee experience front and centre on the road to recovery.”

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