Going digital, faster to address key areas hurt by COVID-19

Organisations are investing heavily in technology to address immediate concerns.

Pre-COVID-19, private and public organisations were on a journey towards a digital business model, travelling at varying speeds. But the scale of the pandemic has forced a dramatic acceleration, both in the speed of change and the required investment in digital transformation.

According to KPMG’s recently released, 2020 global survey, organisations are investing heavily in technology to address immediate concerns like falling revenue and interrupted supply chains, and to build longer-term competitiveness and resilience.

Quarantine, social distancing, and remote working have tested the ability to meet customers, citizens and patients where they are, via digital channels. Some have thrived but others have struggled. As KPMG’s 2020 Customer Experience Excellence Report emphasizes, it’s the evolution of customer needs, attitudes and values that will most disrupt how businesses compete. Without a strong digital commerce capability, it’s hard to compete. Customer centricity is about more than just commerce.

It means building the business model from the marketplace back; aligning the front, middle and back office to deliver a seamless customer experience. Another KPMG study, The Connected Customer, found that 35 percent of customer experience-focused companies plan to adopt ‘commerce everywhere’ business models by 2022. The pandemic has also focused minds on employees’ wellbeing and values.

An exceptional customer experience can only be delivered by people who believe in their organisation’s purpose, and who feel they are prized by both management and customers. Not every business is ready to do this, with progress held back by aging infrastructure, inflexible human resources, lack of a clear purpose, and a fragmented approach to managing different functions.

To better understand how COVID-19 has impacted companies’ digital transformation strategies, in mid-late summer 2020, KPMG commissioned Forrester Consulting to survey 780 digital transformation strategy leaders in 10 countries across 12 sectors.1 The responses show that digital transformation has indeed taken on greater urgency: The leaders participating in the survey viewed digital transformation as a requirement for competing today and a strategy for winning in the longer term. And they’re investing heavily in technologies to achieve this goal. But will this be enough? We strongly believe that without a coordinated, connected approach, the new digital organisation may suffer many of the shortcomings of traditional models: siloed functions, unresponsive operations/supply chains, and a constant battle to access the right talent.

These findings are consistent with the 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey results which show that during the three-month period (May-August 2020), technology spend grew at a greater rate than at any point in history, with technology leaders reporting a median additional spend of 5 percent to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.2 When asked about their top priorities since the pandemic, respondents place a firm emphasis upon digital initiatives, with the ultimate aim of offering an enhanced customer experience. Leaders are eager to enhance their companies’ digital capabilities and create digital business models, products and services — supported by platforms.


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