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ServiceNow Strategy

Digital Transformation is Getting Another Moment of Urgency… But Will it Last?

Just a few days ago we released our COVID-19 edition of our usually annual Insight and Vision Report. This special edition report examines responses from over 200 global enterprise participants to understand how this unanticipated health crisis has, is, and will continue to impact their business strategies, budgets, and priorities – particularly as it pertains to Digital Transformation and ServiceNow.

Inside the book, you will find industry spotlights, what challenges your peers are facing in their own roles, how entire organizations handled their technology budgets, and more. To see the data right away, feel free to download the full report here. If you’re not ready to read through the whole book, you can start with the introduction below.

Introduction: COVID-19’s Business Impact

Nearly every measurable economic indicator – from unemployment and quarterly reporting to industry analysts shows that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted global businesses. In fact, it’s hard to imagine an industry untouched by the global health crisis and the ensuing shutdown.

We wanted to know specifics on what the business community believes the next normal will look like: Can we gauge the magnitude of the COVID-19 shadow – especially on our customer and colleagues’ digital transformation efforts? Further, what insights can we glean from new data from your peers and platform decision-makers on the future of your business, your customers, and your employees?

To start, we wanted to understand the actual impact COVID-19 has had. The current pandemic economy is arguably the challenge of our generation, so it is not surprising that our survey respondents reported that COVID-19 has had an impact of 7.4 out of a possible ten on their business.

The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a 7.4 out of 10 impact on the average business in the past 6 months.

That 7.4 of magnitude demonstrates the mix seen by varying industries. While many industries (e.g. retail and hospitality) have seen earth-shattering consequences on their business in the past six months, some industries (e.g. shipping) have seen a boon. Think about all the businesses that you interact with in your own life; the change to contactless payments, meal delivery, buying personal workout equipment instead of heading to the gym. Everyone has needed to pivot.

Where once Digital Transformation was rooted in achieving business outcomes first and improving the employee experience second, now, it has been flipped on its head to focus on enabling employees to do their jobs so that firms can sustain their business objectives.

But it is not only the past 6 months that will dictate which businesses survive and thrive into 2021. Much of our adjustment lies ahead. We wanted to know the full scope of the impact, so we asked. This data reflects that while we have been experiencing deep pandemic impacts for the past six months, many of you believe these echoes are far from over. Survey respondents expect that as much as 60% of their businesses will feel the reverberation of COVID-19 throughout the next two years.

Digital Transformation is Getting Another Moment of Urgency… But Will it Last?

The Digital Transformation journey is certainly not a new one – most organizations have been evolving their technology strategies and developing roadmaps for the past two decades. That focus was further refined over the last ten years as organizations reacted to the disruptive technologies of Uber, Airbnb, and more. As a result, markets realized that managing the service experience and adopting consumerized technology experiences that cut across previously siloed organizations provided a strong competitive advantage.

However, the shockwaves left by the COVID-19 pandemic have become another inflection point spurring business change, accelerating digitization urgency and, arguably, one which will force organizations not yet on the transformation to transform or disappear.

The catch? You have to fund transformation – a difficult prospect when business decisionmakers are facing continually changing conditions, sales disruptions, and in some cases, a complete shut-down. Leaders at many firms have also begun to execute cost-cutting playbooks to endure the remainder of the year, many beginning with pausing or eliminating all non-essential projects.

In the next set of questions, we set out to determine how essential your peers consider their digital transformation strategies, and how investments in those strategies had changed in the past few months. According to our data, on average, most organizations report out that as of July, they had decreased technology hiring and budget since the onset of COVID-19.

While that tracks with the need to hunker down and survive the evolving uncertainty, it is worth noting that not all organizations turned off their funding spigots. In fact, 15 percent noted that they significantly increased budgets. In our clients, we have seen organizations continuing their Digital Transformation work with ServiceNow, but demanding shorter projects with a faster time-to-value. Because of the uncertainty of broader economic conditions, this strong focus on quick value means that even if things are slowed on their Transformation Roadmap, they are less “stuck” and able to quickly pivot strategies.

To continue reading about the impact of COVID-19 on Digital Transformation, strategic initiatives, and hiring budgets, download the full COVID-19 Insight and Vision Report here

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