Most organisations unable to adapt during COVID-19: Study

| August 12, 2020

Owing to a lack of digital agility, 69 per cent of organisations have been negatively impacted by COVID-19, according to a study by provider of enterprise cloud applications for human resources and finance, Workday.

The study, titled the Workday Digital Agility Index, was conducted in partnership with IDC, a global technology market intelligence company, and surveyed nearly 900 senior business leaders and C-suite executives in HR, finance and IT across nine markets in Asia Pacific. The findings provide a comprehensive analysis of digital agility in leading Asia Pacific organisations in the wake of COVID-19.

Only 6 per cent of Australian organisations are digitally agile and as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has negatively affected 69 per cent of organisations, 40 per cent have accelerated their digital transformation plans while 30% have slowed down, according to study by provider of enterprise cloud applications for human resources and finance, Workday.

Most Organisations Unable to Adapt During COVID-19 

Nearly three quarters (74 per cent) are struggling to realign organisation structures, or track people skill sets for special taskforces during COVID-19, or make changes to their financial plans, budgets, and forecasts for the year. When asked which areas of their business were hardest hit, Australian organisations identified work and workplace, customer engagement, and financial performance.

The research shows a lot of work ahead for organisations to adapt to operating digitally with organisations saying they struggled to make changes to their financial and HR plans, as well as operational structures, as COVID-19 hit.

The survey revealed that many Australian businesses are still operating in silos with data residing across multiple applications and IT systems. 71 per cent of organisations said they have finance and HR processes that are not fully aligned or in sync, and 77% are not operating over a single enterprise wide technology platform.

Australia Digital Agility 

Digital agility enables each part of the organisation to act autonomously and is empowered to course-correct following tactical developments while maintaining sight of the organisations’ strategic goals. However, the agility target still lies some distance ahead.

·     Only 6 per cent of organisations are digitally agile; 31% are just starting their journeys and are slow in adapting to change

·     68 per cent of organisations do not have a centralised budget set aside for digital transformation

·     Less than half, (46 per cent) of organisations have started on data-driven decision making

·     Australian organisations are least agile in the areas of technology, and process and governance

Digital Skills Shortage 

A short-fall of digital skills has proven to be a significant barrier for organisations in faring better with digital agility amid COVID-19. For 61 per cent of Australian respondents, less than half of all employees are equipped with digital skills.

The lack of digital expertise may be due to a prevailing mindset within Australian organisations of not viewing talent as a source of competitive advantage and therefore not investing in finding and nurturing it. 72 per cent of Australian organisations lack a strategic mindset about digital talents.

This mindset also has a spill-over effect for organisations’ employee experiences with 67 per cent not seeing the employee experience as an essential consideration in their decision-making.

Stephen Jack, Managing Director and Vice President for Workday Australia and New Zealandsaid at a time when speed and agility have never been more critical, this research shows more than half of Australian organisations were not able to adapt their business processes in response to COVID-19 and struggled to change financial plans, budgets and organisational structures.

“This is surprisingly strong evidence for business leaders to use to ask critical questions about business agility and how they can rapidly respond to change. With the right technology backbone and insights, organisations can make strategic and informed decisions to mitigate business risk, take advantage of opportunities, and plan for the future.

“I hope this study will encourage more leaders to think seriously about how they approach digital transformation and invest to emerge as stronger, more resilient organisations.”

Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, Associate Vice President & Head Digital Transformation, Future Enterprise & SMB, IDC Asia/Pacific said the survey findings are aligned with IDC’s research around digital transformation (DX) and the impact of COVID-19 on Asia Pacific organisations.

“DX is no longer an option, it’s a matter of survival. This crisis has not only brought about new challenges, but it has also intensified existing inefficiencies, making more evident the need for organisations to focus on becoming agile and adaptable. Those organisations that see the crisis as an opportunity to transform and accelerate the digitalisation of their businesses will emerge stronger and more relevant in the next normal.”