New research from AWS shows how businesses are moving to accelerate digital transformation to 'reinvent themselves' after a year of unprecedented change.
AWS surveyed 10,000 senior and IT managers in France, Germany, Israel, Spain and the UK to understand how they managed to reinvent their business during the COVID-19 pandemic without a precise roadmap and gain insights into how they envision post-pandemic growth. Many plan to accelerate digital transformation.
The pandemic has exposed the limitations of conventional business planning: carefully constructed annual roadmaps under the illusion of control and forecasts based on the past have proved unfit for purpose. Many businesses admitted to finding the need to accelerate digital transformation quickly during the pandemic a real challenge; 46% of respondents reported that their organisation had struggled to adapt over the past year. In addition, 46% mentioned the threat from new entrants ready to take over market share. Companies have had to revise their plans to adapt, innovate, internationalise and create faster without increasing costs.
Despite this challenging period, we have seen a new type of company emergence. These companies have integrated innovation into their strategy and use technologies such as the cloud to move quickly, experiment and accelerate new business models and regain lost market share. They are more agile, secure, resilient, international and customer-centric in their approach and more confident in their ability to adapt to changing circumstances. From the need to accelerate digital transformation, two in three (65%) managers say their organisation has emerged from the pandemic more agile, adaptable and confident in the future. They also confirm that the cloud has helped them reinvent and innovate (65%), scale to meet changing demand (63%) and reduce costs (60%).
Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64%) say their organisation used new cloud services during the pandemic, and 40% even used cloud technologies for the first time to accelerate digital transformation. 60% also explained the need to internationalise to be less dependent on the national market.
Surprisingly, digital transformation initiatives were brought forward by almost two and a half years.
Managers surveyed emphasised their confidence and optimism for the year ahead: 89% of their businesses plan to accelerate digital transformation to grow in the coming year, expecting on average a 21% increase in revenue.
Business leaders have learned several lessons from the pandemic, such as the importance of more agile working practices (58%), better collaboration to solve problems (56%) and getting closer to customers (55%). They are now actively using initiatives to accelerate digital transformation to improve productivity, collaboration and customer experience and help employees enrich their skills.
Companies that experienced COVID-19 are going through a rebirth process, now being more resilient and better positioned to succeed in the new post-pandemic world. Among business decision-makers, 69% say they have a clear strategy for seizing opportunities, and 60% agree that they need to readjust their business model. Accelerating digital transformation thus becomes the rule.
Cloud services are firmly at the heart of the business of the future. According to the research, 64% of companies intend to accelerate digital transformation by adopting technologies such as cloud computing in the post-pandemic period, and 54 per cent say their business depends on the cloud.
However, there are warning signs for some companies regarding agility and transformation. The internal challenges companies still face in accelerating digital transformation are diverse: 50% of business decision-makers say their organisations have not yet understood how to associate business issues with technical solutions, 47% say employees are reluctant to change, and 42% note a lack of skills.
In many established companies, the pandemic has spawned a new spirit of reinvention that has driven years of accelerated digital transformation. New entrants - disruptors - have been quicker to adopt cloud technologies to gain market share.
With customers becoming increasingly demanding, companies that cannot adapt to a more agile mindset and overcome internal obstacles will lose their position to this new generation of companies that can adapt quickly.
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