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Digital transformation, skilling to be focus areas of businesses in next two years: Study

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on October 22, 2020 Published on October 22, 2020

‘In the last few months, we have witnessed year-long digital transformation and adoption compressed into weeks’

A majority of organisations have now accelerated their digital transformation amid the Covid-19 pandemic with executives planning to prioritise these efforts over the next two years, according to an IBM Institute for Business Value study titled ‘Covid-19 and the Future of Business’.

According to the study, 55 per cent of Indian executives are planning to increase their prioritisation of digital transformation efforts over the next two years, while 66 per cent of executives globally stated that their organisations have completed initiatives that previously encountered resistance.

New challenges

Amid the transformation process, the challenges faced by the organisations prior to the pandemic have now evolved.

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“During the pandemic, traditional and perceived barriers to digital transformation like technology immaturity and employee opposition to change have fallen away. Now, executives see organisational complexity, inadequate skills and employee burnout as the biggest hurdles to overcome, both today and in the next two years,” the study said.

According to the report, 60 per cent of Indian executives are prioritising workplace safety and security, while 85 per cent said that they will support the physical and emotional health of their workforce over the next two years.

Furthermore, 41 per cent of executives are planning to provide access to mental health resources for their employees in the next two years.

“More than two-thirds of executives globally said they will prioritise establishing remote work over the next two years as an option for their employees to ensure employee health, productivity and motivation,” the report said.

“However, in two years, they believe only about a quarter of their employees will be enabled to work remotely, about twice as many as two years ago. Executives in industries like education, insurance, banking, financial markets and information technology (IT) services have the highest percentages expected to be working remotely in two years,” it added.

New technologies and upskilling

Along with the well-being of employees, organisations are also focusing on employee skilling as the transformation includes increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) and cloud technologies.

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While 81 per cent of Indian executives will prioritise cloud in the next two years compared to 56 per cent now, 59 per cent of executives will also increase prioritisation of AI over the next two years, said the report. In India, 71 per cent of executives also plan to prioritise cyber-security in the next two years.

In terms of skilling, 74 per cent of Indian executives said that they are helping their employees “learn the skills needed to work in a new way”.

“In the last few months, we have witnessed year-long digital transformation and adoption compressed into weeks,” said Kamal Singhani, Country Managing Partner, Global Business Services, IBM India/South Asia.

“Companies in every industry have been encouraged to initiate digitisation measures, propelled by the infusion of automation and AI, and look forward to building cognitive enterprises of the future,” he said.

“Looking ahead, I believe that our focus on cloud and AI is going to be our competitive advantage as we propel our clients and businesses to achieve this vision, while they quickly recover and sustain their path to growth, business continuity and resilience,” he added.

The study is based on responses from over 3,800 C-Suite executives in 20 countries and 22 industries, including 172 executives from India.

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Published on October 22, 2020
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