Pandemic triggers some firms to speed transformation, says report - The EE

Pandemic triggers some firms to speed transformation, says report

More than one in three executives in both the U.S. and China are seeing COVID-19 as an impetus to digitally transform their business. So say the authors of a new report published by Alameda, California-based Wind River.

According to the report, COVID-19 is influencing which technologies will receive increased attention, with enterprises that want transformation placing more than 50% extra focus on investment in areas such as 5G, containers, and cloud-native technologies. In all, 74% of C-suite, IoT, and DevOps leaders are modifying corporate strategies due to the coronavirus.

Wind River, a specialist in delivering software for the intelligent edge, has issued new research investigating how technology executives — specifically, C-suite leaders and senior executives in areas such as IoT, DevOps, security, and embedded development — from both the U.S. and China are realigning their focus during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their insights are contained in the Wind River commissioned report titled, COVID-19 and Corporate Strategies in the U.S. and China: A Seismic Event Demanding Change and Action from Top Executives.

Seismic events can disrupt our focus and thinking and force reassessment of drivers of future business success, say the authors. The current COVID-19 pandemic is one of those major events producing a worldwide impact, especially given its reverberations on the two largest global economies, the U.S.A. and China.

Kevin Dallas, president and chief executive officer of Wind River says, “Prior to the pandemic, the vast majority of corporations were looking toward advancing their digital transformation. However, we’ve entered a different landscape that is triggering leaders in DevOps and IoT development to make profound decisions about the speed and nature of their technology investments.

As we’ve seen from our study, in this COVID-19–shocked world, those most optimistic about the future of their business and the direction of their technology and development investments are the enterprises viewing this as a time to accelerate and even change the nature of that transformation.”

Looking inside the minds of technology executives in major sectors such as telecommunications, healthcare, automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing/industrial provides a view into how leaders are redirecting their focus and accelerating or delaying investments. The report surveyed 400 senior-level technology executives from the U.S. and China at enterprises with revenues ranging from US$100 million (€90 million) to $1 billion (€0.9 billion).

With COVID-19–related challenges creating new pressures, enterprises are rapidly falling into the categories of simply surviving, pivoting to adapt to new realities, or doing nothing. While the U.S. and China are in different phases of the pandemic, in several aspects the responses from each country split in similar ways. More than 1 in 3 executives—39% of U.S. and 43% of Chinese leaders—are focusing on surviving this crisis, while 35% in the U.S. and 33% in China are spurred to make a transformation due to COVID-19.

The enterprises focused on transforming have a much higher propensity to accelerate key technology investments compared to those who are merely surviving. Those with a desire to digitally transform are placing 50%+ extra focus on key investment areas such as 5G, containers, and cloud native. The research findings among these leaders indicate that they understand the core technology components that will be vital for digital transformation.

For these enterprises, executives are increasing spend in the following areas:

  • 5G projects: by 63% in China, 37% in the U.S.
  • Cloud-based application development: by 62% in China, 35% in the U.S.
  • AI: by 61% in China, 37% in U.S
  • Container-based development: by 56% in China, 38% in U.S.
  • IoT: by 60% in China, 33% in U.S.
  • Applications at the edge: by 57% in China, 25% in U.S.

As enterprises have had to implement changes to their business processes due to the pandemic, 98% in China and 90% in the U.S. note that their ability to meet customer demands has been impacted. Given recent needs, the interest in growing DevOps practices has risen across enterprises, with executives now placing more importance on DevOps (46% in U.S., 36% in China).

Regardless of region, most enterprises realise that the road ahead will be tough. 50% of enterprises in the U.S. and 77% in China are seeing heavier workloads across their teams. They also anticipate the need to implement major initiatives such as accelerating new business models (83% in U.S., 89% in China) and building in more agile development (82% in U.S., 86% in China).

To tackle these challenges, there is a clear recognition among leaders that they will require transformative focus and skills. Therefore, in order to successfully lead a digital transformation, C-suite leaders and executives in DevOps/DevSecOps and IoT anticipate increased importance in their roles (ranging from 60%+ in the U.S. to 73%+ in China) as their businesses exit COVID-19.

As the world grapples with the disruption caused by COVID-19 and enterprises begin to understand major gaps and the resources required to deliver on customer needs, they must identify the right strategies and experts to help them accelerate a digital transformation and realise long-term success beyond the pandemic.

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