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A/NZ firms endure DX agility struggles through pandemic

19 Aug 2020

COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation (DX) initiatives across Australia and New Zealand, as well as the wider Asia Pacific region, but many organisations admit they are not as digitally agile as they should be.

A recent IDC and Workday survey of 9000 business leaders across nine Asia Pacific countries found that 40% of Australian organisations and 46% of New Zealand organisations have accelerated their digital transformation, but the progress has not been without roadblocks.

According to the Workday Digital Agility Index, only 6% of Australian organisations and 3% of New Zealand organisations consider themselves to be digital agile. Leaders across both countries say they don’t have a strategy to develop digital talents or a budget for digital transformation.

Furthermore, 61% of Australian firms and 63% of New Zealand firms admit that less than half of their employees have digital skills. This could be due to a lack of strategic mindset about digital talent, which could also be linked to poor employee experience.

Almost three quarters (74%) of organisations in Australia are struggling in the wake of COVID, due to issues such as work and workplace, customer engagement, and financial performance.

New Zealand organisations are the least agile in the areas of process and governance, followed by technology.  

“These results all point to the fact that organisations need to make sure they are better prepared to deal with increasingly unpredictable circumstances,” says Workday A/NZ managing director and vice president Stephen Jack.

“When speed and agility have never been more critical as we go into another lockdown, the research shows more than 50% of Australian and New Zealand organisations were not able to adapt their business processes in response to COVID-19 and struggled to change financial plans, budgets and organisational structures.”

He notes that organisations are not reallocating budget or shifting people as quickly as they should be, even though they are critical in a crisis.

“The research provides surprisingly strong evidence for business leaders to ask critical questions about organisational 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."

IDC Asia Pacific’s associate vice president and head of digital transformation, future, and enterprise, Daniel-Zoe Jimenez, says the findings are consistent with IDC’s other DX research and the impact of COVID-19 on organisations in Asia Pacific.

“Digital transformation 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, and highlighted the need for organisations to focus on becoming agile and adaptable.”

Australian businesses remain siloed, with data housed in disparate applications and IT systems  The survey found that 71% of Australian organisations  have finance and HR processes that are not fully aligned or in sync, and 77% don’t operate over a single enterprise wide technology platform.

It’s a similar story for New Zealand firms, where 73% saying they have finance and HR processes that are not fully aligned or in sync, and 59% not operating over a single enterprise wide technology platform. 

"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 future,” concludes Jimenez.