How did business cope with the stresses of the pandemic in 2020 and what lessons can we learn from it? 

During 2020 we all felt the strain of trying to do business in unprecedented circumstances. Now we have the chance to evaluate how it worked out and how we can move forward with the lessons learned.

Some organisations coped well because of earlier investment in digital technology, but most were forced to adapt their existing tech and processes as best they could. For some it was an uncomfortable ride as they struggled to serve existing customers and find new ones – but in many cases it served to highlight gaps in cloud technology provision which might have made things easier.

In Q1 2021 Sapphire Systems conducted some research into how customers and their systems had coped. Now we can look at the challenges and opportunities of 2020 and draw some conclusions.

Here are the findings from that survey along with some thoughts on how that information can take us forward into the digital future.

Easy does it

81% believe our recovery from the economic turbulence of 2020 will be medium paced.

The overwhelming attitude towards the economic situation is cautious. No one expects a dramatic upturn any time soon. But businesses have taken stock and are now looking to shore up their resilience. The ability to cope with something similar in the future is definitely on the agenda for many companies. They are also looking at how to streamline processes and getting ready to take advantage of any recovery as it emerges.

Be Prepared

50% of organisations found that prior investments in business management tech paid off.

Like the boy scouts – those who had executed existing digital plans were well prepared for the pandemic.  Previous tech investments stood them in good stead and allowed their business to transition to a digital-only world whether that was in sales and marketing, support for clients or closing financial processes.

Those businesses who did not cope well are now making measures to become more adaptable, a priority.

Vital data

46% of businesses surveyed felt they had the right data to make decisions in 2020.

Data is a vital part of the digital landscape and it is no surprise that there is a big overlap between those who already made investments in digital technology and those who had the data they needed.

Many others felt they had the data, but were struggling to get insights from it. Actionable data that helps executives make decisions is going to be a critical part of the agile business of the future.

Fast Forward to digital

50% of respondents either accelerated existing digital channels or made their first digital investment during 2020. 17% are now actively exploring their digital options.

There’s nothing like a compelling event to get things moving and we saw schools and offices doubling down to find new ways of working remotely. We also saw Drs surgeries and vaccination centres rolling out new apps – making appointments and conducting consultations in novel ways. Pressure created change, which is now being carried forward into the future across all sectors.

Key now is making sure that the digital shift is supported, structured, and sustained. Digital leaders are moving from survival mode to focusing on how they want to maximise the opportunities offered by the digital future.

Automate the future

50% of organisations are already on their automation journey

Half of the businesses surveyed have already started investing in process automation. This shows us that real life use cases for automation are growing and becoming relevant to an ever increasing number of industries and business areas.

Cost isn’t everything

Among the companies surveyed, cost was not the overriding factor behind the move to automation.

Streamlining complex business processes and removing repetitive work were the 2 key drivers. Simplicity and freeing up team members to focus on high value activities were the winners every time.

Resilience is all

Out of a list of 6 possible business imperatives, improving business resilience was the top priority for business leaders – which tells us a lot about how bruised and battered some of us still feel.

Find out more about the other 5 imperatives were when you get the full report here…

Supporting the digital shift

InCloud Solutions have been trusted technology partners to growing companies for nearly a decade. Now part of Sapphire Systems we offer high quality advice and superior technology implementation. Please get in touch to discuss your digital and automation journey post covid. It’s no longer an option to wait. [email protected]

Tel +44 (0)1628 876723