A survey from Fujitsu reveals new insights into how business leaders responded to the pandemic, as well as their perceptions around business priorities in the post-pandemic world.
Fujitsu has released its Fujitsu Future Insights Global Digital Transformation Survey Report 2021, highlighting the results of a survey drawing on the insights and experiences of 1,200 CxOs and decision-makers in nine countries.
The fifth iteration of this survey examines how organisations responded to the changes that the pandemic caused and business leaders’ perceptions around priorities in the post-pandemic world.
The survey results revealed the factors that contributed to an effective pandemic response, identifying essential organisational capabilities and important insights in designing successful businesses after the pandemic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly changed the ways in which we live and work.
As countries around the world-imposed lockdowns of cities and stricter border restrictions, businesses were forced to quickly adapt and tackle new challenges in order to remain relevant.
While many people and organisations were forced to change their previous ways, various responses to the pandemic have yielded many different results. Moreover, as the digitalisation of business progresses, organisations must increasingly accelerate their own Digital Transformation initiatives.
Against this backdrop, Fujitsu conducted a survey to deliver new insights into how business leaders responded to the pandemic, as well as their perceptions around business priorities in the post-pandemic world.
1. How did organisations respond to the pandemic?
While many online organisations that provide products and services purely online saw revenue increase during the pandemic, half of offline organisations that provide products and services completely offline or partially online experienced decreased revenue.
It was found that 69% of business leaders from online organisations indicated their business revenues increased in 2020 over the previous year. In contrast, 53% of offline organisations saw a drop in revenues. However, 33% of offline organisations increased their revenues despite this turmoil.
Though the impact to revenue was significant for many, 78% of business leaders from offline organisations said that they were able to effectively respond to the pandemic. The three main factors contributing to their effective pandemic responses included agility, digitalisation and employee well-being.
Among business leaders of offline organisations, 49% said agility helped them respond to the pandemic effectively.
Next, 42% credited digitalisation stating that they were already prepared in responding to the pandemic. As the pandemic forced many businesses to move their operations online, organisations that were ahead in their Digital Transformation were able to continue operations more smoothly.
Then, 40% chose making employee well-being their first priority. This indicates greater importance of placing the upmost priority on the health of employees and helping them work safely during the turmoil of the pandemic. Additionally, the survey found 87% of respondents from offline organisations thought that employee well-being had become more important or significantly more important during the pandemic. The majority further responding that the well-being of employees would make a big impact on the mid-to-long-term business performance.
2. Organisations with stronger ‘digital muscles’ also responded more effectively to the impacts of COVID-19
The results of Fujitsu’s previous global surveys have consistently indicated that leadership, value from data, a culture of agility, ecosystems, empowered people and business integration are the organisational capabilities that lead to success in Digital Transformation. Fujitsu refers to these six factors as ‘digital muscles.’
Digital Transformation is not just about introducing new digital technologies into operations, but it is about fundamentally transforming business processes and the way people work and continuously regenerate themselves.
The analysis of the correlation between the score of an organisation’s ‘digital muscles’ and ability to mount an effective response to the pandemic demonstrates that organisations with better development of these critical capabilities responded more effectively to the unprecedented changes posed by COVID-19.
3. Priorities in the post-pandemic world.
Resilience is perceived as the top business priority in the post-pandemic world. The survey results indicate that many organisations have understood the importance of a flexible response in the face of changes in an uncertain world. Many respondents also noted the importance of business process automation, data-driven management and a seamless customer experience where online merges with offline.
Many business leaders expect more business processes to become automated. The survey revealed that 44% of respondents from offline organisations predicted that more than half of their current business processes that were not yet automated would be automated by 2025. This result is truly significant, demonstrating business leader’s strong appetite for automating their business.
The survey also found that 82% of offline organisations plan to increase investments in business process automation. This enthusiasm for automation is similarly observed across industries, ranging from 86% in the finance industry to 79% in wholesale/retail.
However, expectations vary by industry. For instance, manufacturing companies are automating not only their manufacturing and testing processes but also other functions like demand forecasting, supply chain management and maintenance services through Digital Transformation.
In banking operations of the financial industry, more face-to-face services offered in branch are being replaced with fully digital mobile banking. In fact, the survey also found that the premium value of Face to Face (F2F) experiences must be revisited, redefining the role and meaning of offline physical channels becoming a necessity.
The survey found 64% of respondents from online organisations thought that the value of F2F engagement would increase because premium services that cannot be offered online will become more exclusive. A total of 49% of respondents from offline organisations had the same opinion, exceeding the number of respondents who thought the value of F2F engagement would decline.
In last year’s survey, it was already apparent that most business leaders had recognised the importance of delivering value to society. The pandemic reinforced this trend. In this year’s survey, 78% of respondents from offline organisations said they thought the importance of delivering value to society had increased as a result of the pandemic.
Fujitsu defines its purpose as making the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation. The findings of this survey will help Fujitsu to continue to serve as a trusted DX partner, simultaneously helping customers to succeed in business and to provide even greater value to society.
Organisations will have to embrace new priorities to cope with a radically different business environment in the post-pandemic world.Click below to share this article