Digital preparedness was key to adapting to the challenges and opportunities created by the pandemic, according to business leaders that participated in a recent study.
'The transformation imperative’, commissioned by Microsoft and conducted by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), examined how the relationship between technology, business and people has evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study revealed that the move to remote work also created a new focus on employee engagement, with many businesses looking into skill-building, well-being and societal benefits as part of their transformations.
“We’ve long seen the advantages that digital transformation brings customers – and this data gives us concrete insights into how industries have handled the challenges of the past year,” said Deb Cupp, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for enterprise and commercial industries. “The findings confirm trends we’ve seen emerging and reinforce our commitment to delivering insights, products and services that help customers in every industry pivot when they need to, empower workers of all kinds and achieve more.”
According to Microsoft, the EIU research “seeks to unlock insights from the past year and focus on the way forward”, with specific focus on supply chains, remote work, predictive analytics, decision-making and employee safety and well-being.
It found a strong correlation between organisations’ digital maturity and their ability to address the disruption, “the more focused companies were on digital transformation, the faster they were able to recover operations and empower people to move forward,” said Microsoft.
“The Covid-19 pandemic showed how digital tools are critical in allowing businesses to create agility and respond to major disruption,” said Michael Gold, managing editor of the EIU. “But this study shows that it’s not just about business. Companies overwhelmingly see digital transformation as crucial in overcoming skills gaps, engaging employees and delivering broader benefits to society.”
The majority of respondents (75 per cent) said digital transformation should go beyond business success to support societal improvements, for example by creating a more inclusive, accessible workforce and addressing carbon footprints and climate change.
Read the full report from EIU and Microsoft.