Telstra has published a new white paper identifying the technological challenges and the industry outlook post-COVID-19. The research, Business Continuity, Flexible Working and Adaptive Infrastructure: Five Actions for When the Economy Reopens Following COVID-19, gathered data from 120+ business leaders across Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States to provide insights on how to recalibrate IT strategies. The research was conducted together with GlobalData to survey C-suites and IT decision-makers to understand organizations’ responses to the pandemic.
The key insights from the survey showed that the pandemic has:
- Accelerated digital transformation and redefined its meaning from its pre-COVID-19 state
- Revealed non-existence of a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) for global events such as pandemics
- Led a once in a generation technology shift towards face-to-face collaboration being conducted purely through video conferencing
- Showed that networks underpin technology to support the distributed and nomadic workforce and are crucial to ensuring a great user experience
Businesses are recalibrating their digital transformation strategy. 93% of businesses state they have changed their IT priorities either incrementally, significantly, or dramatically. Businesses are updating their overall IT strategy, with the top priority for respondents across all regions to set up policies for their remote workforce. This includes areas such as ensuring employees can connect securely and access their applications and data.
Nearly one in ten enterprises did not have a BCP pre-COVID-19. Of those organizations that did have a BCP in place, almost a third (29%) did not have plans in place to respond to an unexpected global event such as a pandemic. In the United States, only 14% – the lowest among the regions – claimed to have a full BCP, which included major events and pandemics, in place.
The results point to the need for businesses to not only dramatically widen the scope of BCP, but to also rely on more data tools to discover the hidden relationships between data sets, identify more vulnerabilities and consider ways to generate a risk score on a more formal and regular basis.
Video conferencing and cloud-based contact center solutions are some of the most transformative technologies to the enterprise. Video is the new voice in collaboration. 98% of respondents believe there will be an increased reliance on video conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings post-COVID-19 recovery.
Dustin Kehoe, Services Director from GlobalData shared, “It was interesting to see the overwhelmingly positive response for video conferencing. While the technology has always been available, we are seeing a generational shift in perception from pre-and post-COVID-19 eras.”
Organizations are reviewing their approach to customer engagement. Nearly half of respondents are now adopting a cloud-first contact center strategy for improving end-to-end capabilities for speed and agility when serving customers. The sentiment is the strongest in Northern Asia at 57%, followed by SEA and ANZ at 52%.
Networks will play a more important role in connecting remote and mobile workers. According to the survey results, eight out of ten businesses in the survey have a percentage of employees who ‘cannot work due to ICT challenges.’
One of the top immediate ICT priorities from the survey is supporting the remote workforce. The sentiment is especially strong from European, SEA and ANZ respondents. Post-COVID-19, networks will need to be software-defined, cloud-ready, more automated and flexible.
Outlook for the United States
The top business priorities for United States respondents are safeguarding the health and safety of employees (67%), increasing efforts to support their existing customers (60%), and enabling more remote work for employees (53%). They are updating their BCPs to address the current and future pandemics as well as remote work policies for employees, including introducing or expanding cloud-first contact solutions to offer staff the ability to work remote. The US also sees a strong need to increase the availability of online and digital services for their customers.
“While some businesses in the United States had significant preparation in their BCPs for major events, including pandemics (14%), they still see the challenges of COVID-19 as the impetus for a significant pivot in their overall IT strategy and the expansion of support to both employees and customers. This pandemic has shown us how important it is for businesses to continually update their technologies and practices to not only survive, but thrive in the current and future business environment. Though many employees are working from home indefinitely, the need to connect through adaptive technologies and secure collaboration tools is essential, as is the underlying network enabling that connection,” commented Nick Collins, President, Americas.