Is digital transformation being ‘rushed’ amid COVID-19 pressure?

DX projects are being placed in the fast lane, raising concern for their future longevity.
29 May 2020

Plans are being rushed into place. Source: Shutterstock

  • Many digital transformation projects have been shortened from periods of months or years to weeks 
  • ‘Compromises must be struck’, which could effect the longevity of digital transformation efforts
  • About 9 out of ten companies indicated customer service as their main focus

The global pandemic has led business leaders to rethink their plans for the year and ahead. With priorities shifted and resources conserved, existing and future technology plans are heading for a change of direction too.

We are more used to hearing of digital transformation projects being delayed, hindered or axed entirely. But as a result of a sudden shift to remote working – and the demands that brings on a business’s IT infrastructure – digital transformation (DX) projects are have seen a rapid acceleration. 

That’s according to a recent survey by AppDynamics, which suggests that while these initiatives may have been positively expedited, for some, there are concerns that speed may have come at the cost of integrity. IT professionals in the report expressed worries that DX processes had been “hastily implemented, in way that’s not future-proof.”

The Agents of Transformation Report 2020: COVID-19 Special Edition study surveyed 1,000 IT professionals from around the world, including the US, UK, France, UAE, Russia, Japan, and Singapore. The IT leaders come from a wide range of industries including financial services, retail, manufacturing, and public sector.

One of the key findings revealed 95 percent of organizations changed their technology priorities during the pandemic. With 71 percent indicating DX projects that have been scheduled to be implemented within months or years before the pandemic, were instead deployed in weeks.

Rushing digital transformation

With these upgrades rushed into place, about half (59 percent) of respondents found themselves firefighting and were tasked to introduce short-term fixes to technology issues. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) shared that they have deployed previously-abandoned DX projects during the global health crisis.

While implementing DX projects is now considered critical and high-priority, 76 percent of technologists were worried about the long-term consequences of hastily implementing these tech-heavy initiatives.

“With such pressure to deliver projects at this incredible pace, there is no time for lengthy planning cycles and comprehensive proof of concept testing,” read the report.

“Compromises have to be struck — and many technologists are concerned that future-proofing is taking a back seat.”

The report also focused on the impact of a now mass remote workforce leading to a number of DX projects prioritizing the continuity and adaptability of businesses to operate from home.

With efficiency and continuity of operations a top priority, 86 percent expect to see the long term use of remote working tools and technologies; 84 percent predict their companies to retain and bring forward more flexible or on-demand resourcing.

As a ripple effect, companies are also grappling with minimizing the disruptions in customer experience, so enlisting advanced technologies to uphold and improve customer services is essential in the current climate.

Up to 88 percent revealed digital customer experience is now their company’s top priority, but there are some challenges that prevent companies from delivering smooth customer experience.

The listed challenges include managing spikes in website traffic (81 percent), lack of unified visibility and insight into the performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers (80 percent), and managing mean time to resolution with a remote IT department (70 percent).

Even though there are concerns regarding future-proofing, IT professionals believed that many of the DX processes deployed during the pandemic will endure after the coronavirus outbreak subdues – 83 percent predict that spend in sustaining and upgrading the digital customer experience will increase. TechHQ recently covered the transformative roles of virtual agents and artificial intelligence (AI) have in bolstering customer services and experiences in the time of COVID-19.