Wake up call for CIOs and companies not willing to take risks post-pandemic

Despite the economy investment in technology is increasing.

Digital transformation execution has become a fraught area for many decision makers. According to a recent report by enterprise applications company — IFS, IT decision makers are keeping internal stakeholders satisfied, and managing conflict between strategic needs and the ability to deliver at the front-line.

While many people might assume that respondents concerned with the economy would pull back on technology spending, the reality is that investment is increasing.

The research findings indicate during these dynamic times, plans to increase spending on digital transformation tracks closely with concerns about economic conditions disrupting the business. Globally, the study has found people concerned with economic disruption were 20 per cent more likely to plan for increased spending on digital transformation

Sal Laher chief digital and information officer at IFS told CIO Tech Asia, the trend it has witnessed in recent months is how businesses, both in Australia and globally, are undertaking a rapid digital transformation to maintain continuity and build resilience.

“Our recent global research found people concerned with economic disruption were 20 per cent more likely to plan for increased spending on digital transformation,” he said. “In Australia, our report revealed 58 per cent of Australian businesses have planned to increase spending on digital transformation projects.

Lessons from past economic downturns teach us that businesses that take the opportunity to maintain or increase an investment on digital transformation will likely thrive in the new working era.”

Laher said whether a business needs to “pivot”, create a “new abnormal”, “servitise”, or “diversify” to assure its revenue and thrive, technology plays a central role in creating all-important agility.

“From product changes through to supply chain management, the success of a business during a crisis is usually measured by its capacity for change and agility to execute that change,” he said.

“In the research, 54 per cent of Australian businesses said if companies do not take risks with digital transformation projects they will cease to exist in five years.”

According to Laher this is a wake-up call for Asia-Pacific CIOs and company executives that have been reluctant to invest in the latest technological solutions, and demonstrates that organisations are becoming more dependent on technology as a cornerstone for success.

“Many other research surveys have identified an increase in investment during this period to support remote working and the ability for a company to perform a higher level of its processes with remote working,” he said. “A central digital platform that facilitates global process with a single version of the truth to facilitate insights and different customer perspectives, has become important now.”

Laher said a continued failure to transform will be detrimental for organisations looking to grow and thrive in a post-pandemic world.

“Today’s macro-economic disruption did not dampen digital transformation plans, it only accelerated them,” he said. “It is important for CIOs to deliver a more effective decision-making process, while improving transparency through more effective analytics. This is inevitably linked to a continued investment in the latest technological solutions.”

Laher believes companies that started investment before the pandemic period have been able to survive and sustain their business by technology.

“The research has shown us how organisations have placed their trust and dependence in technology during these uncertain times,” he said. “Technology will continue to be an integral component to business continuity planning and resilience into the future, and this places a spotlight on CIOs to manage this uptake effectively – all digital transformation projects must be planned correctly and demonstrate purpose.”

The research showed that while only 12 per cent of Australian digital transformation projects failed, of these failures more than half (58 per cent) of organisations took up to two years to fully recover, said Laher.
“While this was better than the global results which showed 26 per cent of digital transformation projects had failed, it clearly shows CIOs that poorly planned projects can take years to recover from,” he said.

Laher said as organisations and the respective economies continue their recovery, all business decision makers are looking towards the future – post COVID-19.

“Whether re-developing and improving continuity planning, searching for new and exciting opportunities as the economy recovers or reviewing the events of 2020 to better understand the effect that COVID-19 had on business, decision makers are focused on delivering the best outcomes for stakeholders and customers,” he said.

Business leaders are proactively investigating the role of technology in their industry sector, especially now that it will determine which organisations emerge with a competitive advantage in a post-pandemic era.

“Key to this is a central digital integrated platform that can facilitate a faster and better way of working business processes in a new normal and resilient for any future similar event. Investment in technology should no longer be a debate and delayed at the executive board, it is given in order to be able to support survival and growth,” Laher said.



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