74% said the crisis exposed more IT gaps than expected
54% admit they should have done more to help their customers
71% are accelerating their DX plans as a result
New research from Pegasystems Inc., the software company empowering digital transformation (DX) at the world’s leading enterprises, reveals most business leaders overestimated the state of their digital transformation efforts – which hampered their ability to adapt to the pandemic. Nearly three quarters (74%) of business decision makers said the crisis exposed more gaps in their business operations and systems than they originally expected.
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The global study, conducted by research firm Savanta in late May, found that four out of five leaders thought they were fairly deep into their DX initiatives – with 35% assessing themselves in ‘advanced stages.’ But this appears to be wishful thinking, leaving them vulnerable to a host of customer engagement failings triggered by the pandemic:
- More than half (54%) conceded they should have done more to help their customers during the crisis.
- Over one third (37%) communicated at least one message to customers that was badly received and damaged their brand reputation.
- Over one third (36%) said they lost customers during the pandemic due to failings in their communications.
As a result, business leaders are vowing not to let their lagging technology infrastructure put them at risk for the next crisis. Seventy-one percent say the pandemic experience has forced them to accelerate their DX plans; 62% will increase the priority level of DX within their organization; and another 56% will add more DX investment. With these new DX plans in place, nine of out 10 business leaders feel confident they will be prepared to face a similar crisis if one should hit in the next two years.
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Which specific DX projects have risen to the top of their wish lists? The survey found the three most popular DX projects needed to prepare for a future crisis were: cloud-based systems (48%), customer relationship management (CRM) software (41%), and AI-driven analytics and decisioning (37%).
Other findings suggest that even with all the problems it created, the pandemic could have some positive outcomes on businesses:
- Change for the better – 74% of respondents say their business learned a lot during the crisis and will permanently change the way they operate for the better.
- Greater empathy – 69% say the crisis taught them to be more empathetic with customers.
- Getting to know you – 61% feel they learned more about their customers during the crisis than they did the previous two years combined.
- Working from home actually works – 71% said remote working has been successful and will likely continue after the crisis ends.
- More productive than ever – 52% reported employees are more productive now than before the pandemic. Seventeen percent saw a slight dip in productivity and only 3% reported a significant drop.
Pega surveyed more than 1,200 business decision makers around the world for their perspectives on how their organization has been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The results include responses from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia.
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