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Business survival and new technologies have emerged as the top two areas where enterprises plan to prioritise investment over the coming year, as their post-pandemic recovery plans take shape.
That is according to the fifth Annual trends survey from UK-based IT services provider Advanced, in which 1,000 senior business decision-makers were asked to predict how technology would affect how UK organisations operate in the near term and the future.
A large majority of respondents, 98%, said they are of the view that technology will play a major role in the global economic recovery from Covid-19, with 54% name-checking business survival – both during and post-pandemic – as a key spending priority over the next 12 months.
At the same time, 59% of respondents said they plan to prioritise investment in cloud products and other technology over the same period, while 77% predict that the pandemic will result in their organisation adopting a permanent “digital first” attitude in the years to come.
Gordon Wilson, CEO at Advanced, said there are already signs that some of the predictions made by the survey respondents are starting to play out.
“We have seen that the shift to a digital-first mindset has been rapidly accelerated,” he said. “In the healthcare sector, for example, many clinicians and patients are now communicating and interacting virtually. In fact, according to the Royal College of GPs, around 70% of GP appointments have been carried out via video or telephone since the introduction of lockdown in March 2020.
“The legal sector is experiencing somewhat of a digital transformation too, with judges and lawyers working from home and courtrooms becoming virtual. We still have a long way to go, but it’s encouraging to witness the positive and empowering effects that technology can have on organisations, employees and communities during this turbulent time.”
When asked directly about the impact Covid-19 has had on their technology investment priorities, 36% of respondents said the pandemic had prompted them to realise that having technologies to hand that enable their organisation to rapidly adapt their working conditions is a must.
Respondents also said that the pandemic had made the people working within their organisation more open to using new technologies, with 65% observing a new-found keenness among employees to adopt new tech-enabled ways of working.
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Even so, Wilson said it is still important that CIOs and business leaders take the time to educate employees about the necessity for new technology, to encourage adoption across the entire workforce, including those who may be more resistant to change.
“There’s still a job to be done in educating some employees as to the benefits innovation will bring and ensuring there is willingness to embrace this change,” he said.
“People need to understand how the tools they are given will make their jobs easier, and better, or they will want to revert to their old ways of working. This will be problematic given the evolving working practices that now need to take place as we adapt to the impact of the pandemic.”
Julian David, CEO of trade association TechUK, echoed the survey’s findings, saying that technology is likely to play a “central role in our global economic recovery” from Covid-19.
“Organisations, both large and small, are already implementing tools and technologies to support the changes in our working environment,” he said. “Given the long-term implications of the pandemic, this support must continue.
“Not all employees are open to adapting to new digital ways of working, however, so leaders need to take extra steps to address these concerns to ensure nobody feels left behind.”