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August 2020
8 Min read

How COVID-19 Has Changed
the IT Priorities for 95% of Companies

Derkach Anastasiya

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To better understand the challenges and changing priorities that IT professionals face during the COVID-19 pandemic, the customer experience agency Scheduling shares the results of AppDynamics global research that involves IT top management and IT resource management.

The information collected allows mystery shopping agencies to track the changing priorities of companies in the digital transformation process, to measure the impact of COVID-19 on the pressure of IT departments and the speed of technology projects, helps to develop a unified employee and customer satisfaction scoring system (NPS), to map the customer journey, as well as to identify major problems in the operation of digital services that have arisen during the pandemic.

Research methodology

  • the interview with 1000 IT specialists working in companies with a turnover of at least 500 million dollars;
  • the data was collected in 10 countries: Russia, USA, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, UAE, Japan, and Singapore;
  • the sample of respondents included specialists from such industries as IT, financial services, retail, public sector, industry, and automotive, as well as media and communications.

Pressure on IT specialists

The study showed that IT professionals suffer constant pressure and high workload due to a growing range of tasks. They are busy organizing corporate remote access systems, providing technical support to employees, managing overloaded IT infrastructure and applications, and ensuring cybersecurity while taking on new responsibilities and authorities. According to the study:

  • 81% of IT professionals say the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the highest technical pressure on their companies ever.
  • 61% of respondents are experiencing more pressure at work than ever before.
  • 64% of IT specialists have to perform new tasks they haven’t previously dealt with.

Key Strategies Revision

The current situation has revealed that 66% of organizations have weaknesses in their strategies which creates an urgent need to accelerate a number of initiatives that were established under the long-term digital transformation program. Thus, according to the survey:

  • 74% of IT professionals note that some digital conversion projects were approved within a few weeks, although the approval process usually takes more than a year.
  • 71% of respondents say that their technology projects were implemented within a few weeks rather than months or years that would have been required before the pandemic.

To cope with the consequences of the epidemic, even competing organizations should share their data and create new strategies together. In order to get to know the competitors better and make sure they are worth dealing with, it is required to conduct a competitive pricing analysis.

Digital services quality as a top priority

According to the study, the vast majority of organizations – 95% – have revised their technology priorities during the pandemic, and 88% of IT specialists believe that the quality of digital customer service has now become a major value.

However, 80% of IT professionals are not ready to provide optimal service quality due to the lack of understanding of processes in the technology stack. Among the main problems that hinder to ensure the uninterrupted digital services during the pandemic, the experts emphasize:

  • Uncontrolled peak traffic bursts on a site or in an application – 81%;
  • Lack of unified picture and correct understanding of the processes and connections in the technology stack that affect the quality of customer service – 80%;
  • Mean Time to Repair (MTTR) for remote IT operations has increased – 70%.

Designing positive experiences for employees can have a significant impact on many aspects of the organization’s activities. This is particularly relevant during quarantine periods. Some companies report a close link between the employee best practices and key performance results. Thus, employees with the most positive experiences show the best performance. There is a secret employee service available to find out how well the employees serve customers.

Digital Challenges

Additional resources for transformation

To accelerate the implementation of digital transformation and ensure a high level of customer service, IT specialists need additional resources and support from the company management. In the opinion of respondents, the key factors that need to be addressed now include:

  • Clear visualization of processes in the process stack – 92%;
  • Clear definition of goals and objectives – 90%;
  • Real-time data availability – 89%;
  • Autonomous control and accountability – 88%;
  • Willingness to experiment and take risks – 87%.

Despite the challenges and increased workload, nearly 80% of respondents said that the increased role of IT departments during the pandemic had had a positive impact on the perception of IT within the company.

A new class of employees — agents of transformation

Back in 2018, a global study by AppDynamics identified the need for qualified IT specialists who are ready to provide digital business transformation. In the report, this class of employees was mentioned as “agents of transformation”. Their distinctive qualities — innovative thinking, willingness to experiment, and possession of professional skills needed to quickly and effectively implement new technologies.

83% of respondents say that transformation agents will help businesses cope with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and come out from the crisis faster thanks to the high level of competence of this class of IT professionals.

As AppDynamics CEO Danny Winokur emphasizes, in these difficult business times IT professionals are on the front line, and business leaders are responsible for providing these employees with all the tools and support they need. This is the only way to provide first-class digital customer service.

  “It is the professional vision, skills, and leadership qualities of transformation agents that determine how companies will adapt to the new environment of the COVID-19 period, and whether they will become stronger once they emerge from this situation.”

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