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Research: Tech execs’ priorities in the ‘new normal’

Thu 28 May 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

AppDynamics, a Cisco company and APM vendor, has released a special edition of its global research study, The Agents of Transformation Report with new findings related to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report reveals the pressures technologists are experiencing as they lead their organisations’ responses to the pandemic and how their priorities are changing as the rate of digital transformation accelerates.

The COVID-19 pandemic has required enterprise organisations to shift overnight to an almost completely digital world. 

Technology departments across the globe are now grappling with surging demand and mounting pressures to accelerate digital transformation strategies. 

They must deliver high performing digital experiences to customers and all-remote workforces at a time when the survival of the organisation is resting on their shoulders.

Technologists are under pressure

The research shows that technologists are experiencing pressure from every angle as they mobilise workforces to operate from home, manage increasing pressure on their networks and applications, and maintain the security of the technology stack, while also taking on new roles and responsibilities.

  • 81% of technologists state that COVID-19 has created the biggest technology pressure for their organisation they have ever experienced.
  • 61% of technologists feel under more pressure at work than ever before.
  • Almost two thirds (64%) of technologists are now being asked to perform tasks and activities they have never done before.

Of those surveyed, 66% of technologists confirm that the pandemic has exposed weaknesses in their digital strategies, creating an urgent need to accelerate initiatives that were once part of multi-year digital transformation programmes.

  • 74% of technologists report that digital transformation projects which would typically take more than a year to be approved, have been signed off in a matter of weeks.
  • 71% point to digital transformation projects that have been implemented within weeks rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic.

Prioritising the customer experience

The research highlights that the majority of organisations (95%) changed their technology priorities during the pandemic, and 88% of technologists state that the digital customer experience is now the priority.

However, technologists report not having the resources and support they need to make this priority shift, with 80% citing that they feel held back from delivering the optimal customer experience because of a lack of visibility and insight into the performance of their technology stack. 

Technologists list the following areas as the biggest challenges in delivering seamless customer experiences during the pandemic:

  • Managing spikes in website traffic (81%).
  • Lack of unified visibility and insight into performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers (80%).
  • Managing mean time to resolution (MTTR) with a remote IT department (70%).

New resources and support are needed to rebuild

The report highlights that technologists need specific resources and support from their organisations to meet the challenges ahead. 

92% state that having visibility and insight into the performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers and the business is the most important factor during this period. 

Other key areas technologists note needing support right now include:

Clear goals and objectives (90%).

Real time data at the point of need (89%).

Autonomy and accountability (88%).

Freedom to experiment and take risks (87%).

Despite the enormous pressure technologists are facing, 87% see this period of time as an opportunity for technology professionals to show their value to the business. 

Already, 80% of technologists report that the response of their IT teams to the pandemic has positively changed the perception of IT within their organisations.

Technologists have the opportunity to step up and guide their organisations through the current crisis, but need access to data and insights to make smarter decisions, to be operating within the right internal structures and culture, and with close support from strategic technology partners.

The urgent need for agents of transformation

In 2018, The Agents of Transformation Report revealed the need for a new breed of technologists, primed to deliver transformation and business impact within their organisations. 

These elite technologists, known as Agents of Transformation, possess the skills and attributes needed to drive innovation.

At the time, the research concluded that in order for businesses to remain competitive, 45% of technologists within an organisation needed to be operating as Agents of Transformation within the next ten years. 

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, technologists report that the target must be reached not within ten years, but now.

With 83% of respondents stating that Agents of Transformation are critical in order for businesses to recover quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an urgent need for technologists to operate at the highest level of their profession.

“Technologists are stepping up in their organisations’ hour of need, and it is now the responsibility of business leaders to do everything possible to provide these women and men with the tools, leadership and support they require to deliver first class digital customer and employee experiences,” says AppDynamics general manager Danny Winokur. 

“It will be the skill, vision and leadership of these Agents of Transformation that will determine how businesses are able to navigate this turbulent period and emerge stronger on the other side.”

Research methodology

Interviews were conducted with 1,000 IT professionals in organisations with a turnover of at least $500M in 10 markets - US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, UAE, Russia, Japan, Singapore.

Respondents worked across a range of industries, including IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications.

All research was conducted by Insight Avenue between April 22 and May 6, 2020.

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