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 their IT strategies. The research was conducted with GlobalData to survey C-suites and IT decision-makers to understand organisations’ 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 Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) 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 being to set up policies for their remote workforce. This includes areas such as ensuring employees can connect securely while accessing their applications and data.
Nearly one in ten enterprises did not have a BCP pre-COVID-19. Of those organisations 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 Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand (SEA and ANZ), 22% claimed to have a full BCP in place, demonstrating significant preparedness for responding to major events, including pandemics, ranking the highest among the regions.
The results point to the need for businesses to not only dramatically widen the scope of BCP, but also to 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 centre 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.”
Organisations are reviewing their approach to customer engagement. Nearly half of respondents are now adopting a cloud-first contact centre strategy for improving end to end capabilities for speed and agility when serving customers. The sentiment is the strongest in North 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 and SEA and ANZ respondents. Post-COVID-19, networks will need to be software-defined, cloud-ready, more automated and flexible.
Outlook for Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand
The top business priorities for SEA and ANZ respondents – Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand – are improving ICT and security resilience for business continuity purposes (77%). They are investing in Unified Communications and Collaboration tools, including video conferencing for remote working, accelerating cloud adoption, and looking at role-based ICT solutions that incorporate strong automation and digital tooling. Some 84% of leaders see this as a high priority compared to a global average of 74%.
“While the businesses in the Southeast Asia and Australia and New Zealand region had better preparation for major events including pandemics (22%) compared to other regions, they still see the challenges of COVID-19 as a major catalyst for a significant pivot in their overall IT strategy. This pandemic has shown us how businesses need adaptive technologies and secure collaborative tools to ensure connectivity among people, especially in the face of difficult business conditions and market volatility,” commented Marjet Andriesse, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Telstra.