Telstra study: 93% of businesses have changed their IT priorities due to COVID-19

Article content

Telstra today published a new white paper identifying the technological challenges and the industry outlook post-COVID-19. The research, Business Continuity, Flexible Working and Adaptive Infrastructure: Five Actions for When the Economy Reopens Following COVID-19 gathered data from 120+ business leaders across Asia Pacific, Europe and the United States to provide insights on how to recalibrate their IT strategies. The research was conducted with GlobalData to survey C-suites and IT decision-makers of large enterprises from over 15 industry verticals to understand organisations’ responses to the pandemic.

The key insights from the survey showed that the pandemic has:

  • Accelerated digital transformation, and redefined its meaning from its pre-COVID-19 state
  • Revealed non-existence of Business Continuity Plans (BCPs) for global events such as pandemics
  • Created a once-in-a-generation technology shift towards face-to-face collaboration being conducted mainly through video conferencing
  • Shown that high capacity networks are crucial in underpinning technology to support the distributed and nomadic workforce

Businesses are recalibrating their digital transformation strategy

93% of businesses state they have changed their IT priorities either incrementally, significantly, or dramatically. Businesses are updating their overall IT strategy, with the top priority for respondents across all regions being to set up policies for their remote workforce. This includes areas such as ensuring employees can connect securely and access their applications and data.

Nearly one in ten enterprises did not have a BCP pre-COVID-19

Of those organisations that did have a BCP in place almost a third (29%) did not have plans in place to respond to an unexpected global event such as a pandemic. In North Asia, 19% claimed to having a full BCP in place that demonstrated significant preparedness for responding to major events, including pandemics, ranked the second highest among the regions.

The results point to the need for businesses to dramatically widen the scope of BCP, and to rely on more data tools to discover the hidden relationships between data sets, identify more vulnerabilities and consider ways to generate a risk score on a more formal and regular basis.

Video conferencing and cloud-based contact centre solutions are some of the most transformative technologies to the enterprise

Video is the new voice in collaboration. 98% of respondents believe there will be an increased reliance on video conferencing to replace face-to-face meetings post-COVID-19 recovery.

Dustin Kehoe, Services Director from GlobalData shared, “It was interesting to see the overwhelmingly positive response for video conferencing. While the technology has always been available, we are seeing a generational shift in perception from pre and post-COVID-19 eras.”

Organisations are reviewing their approach to customer engagement

Nearly half of respondents are now adopting a cloud-first contact centre strategy for improving end to end capabilities for speed and agility when serving customers. The sentiment is the strongest in North Asia at 57%, followed by Southeast Asia (SEA) and Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) at 52%.

Networks will play a more important role in connecting remote and mobile workers

According to the survey results, eight out of ten businesses in the survey have a percentage of employees who ‘cannot work due to ICT challenges.’

One of the top immediate ICT priorities from the survey is supporting the remote workforce. The sentiment is especially strong from European and SEA and ANZ respondents. Post-COVID-19, networks will need to be software-defined, cloud-ready, more automated and flexible.

Outlook for North Asia

The top business priorities for North Asian respondents – Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan – focus on enabling remote working for employees and ramping up Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) implementation, including video conferencing for the distributed workforce. They are also looking at accelerating workloads to the cloud to support this new way of working and improve business continuity. Looking ahead, the region will move to role-based ICT where services are provisioned to reflect the roles and the activities of employees. 80% of respondents, the highest among all regions, stated the need for automation as a priority.

"While businesses in North Asia had relatively better preparation for major events compared to other regions (19% had incorporated significant preparation for major events, including pandemics, into their BCPs), they still see the challenges of COVID-19 as a major catalyst for a significant pivot in their overall IT strategy. They are seeking to increase speed of change to ensure business and workforce resilience. 60% of respondents are planning to increase spending on IT services in 2020, while 63% are reassessing their WAN strategy to support remote workforce. This pandemic has shown us how businesses need adaptive technologies and secure collaborative tools to ensure connectivity among people, especially in the face of difficult business conditions and market volatility," commented Paul Abfalter, Head of North Asia & Global Wholesale, Telstra.

View the infographic to learn more.