The pandemic did trigger the digital transformation journeys with 80 percent of companies implemented work from home arrangements, but there is also a substantial number of local businesses that were already spending on digital transformation pre-pandemic but do not continue to do so post pandemic, while others have no transformation strategy at all, according to a survey.
Last June, world’s leading consultancy services firm Grant Thornton conducted a survey on the impact of COVID-19 on the digital transformation agendas of companies in the Philippines. The respondents were mostly leaders and decision-makers of organizations in various industries with assets greater than P100 million.
According to the survey, 17 percent of respondents in the Philippines the COVID-19 was the driver for them to digitally transform in order to address the uncertainties brough about by the pandemic.
These organizations come from a wide range of industries also identified process automation and digitization, infrastructure in the cloud, e-commerce implementation, and workforce mobility as the focus areas of their digital transformation.
But, the survey also showed that 63 percent of respondents already had ongoing and completed digital transformation projects even before the enforced lockdowns. These companies had process automation, workforce mobility, and digital marketing solutions in place or nearing completion as of the close of the survey.
While 80 percent of the companies surveyed had ongoing digital transportation programs, a relatively significant 20 percent have not started or did not have any plans for digital transformation at all.
The survey also showed that half of the enterprises with no plans for digital transformation were in manufacturing and had less than 100 employed personnel.
It also showed that COVID-19 triggered digital transformation projects for 17 percent of the respondents while a majority 60 percent of these companies did not have a digital transformation strategy in place.
Among the top five industry respondents, BPOs had the higher number of completed projects, while manufacturing was one of the industries with no plans of having digital transformation projects.
The most common ongoing or completed projects for BPOs were process automation (83 percent), data analytics (63%), and enterprise software implementation (63%).
For manufacturing, enterprise software implementation (47%), workforce mobility (40%), and digital marketing (40%) were the top ongoing and completed digital transformation projects.
Notably, while majority o the respondents said that they primary concern is cybersecurity, it did not belong to the top four projects that companies plan to undertake.
Companies with a larger IT budget have completed the most digital transformation projects. Fifty percent of the respondents said that they have more than 10 percent o their revenue dedicated to IT and these were the same organizations with the most completed projects.
The survey also showed that 100 percent of companies that planned to increase their IT spend have started digital transformation projects before the quarantine. As for those planned to decrease their budget, 50 percent have no plans for digital transformation, 25 percent have ongoing digital transformation projects, and 25 percent will start projects only after the pandemic.
While the pandemic did trigger the digital transformation journeys for 17% of the respondents, most companies that were already spending on digital transformation pre-pandemic would continue to do so. The survey also showed that 9 percent respondents had no plans to respond to the effects of the pandemic through digital initiatives.
It is true that digital transformation is not a magic pill that will cure all problems at this difficult time. Nonetheless, companies should digitally adapt to be resilient now and, perhaps, to alter the future of their respective industries.
Grant Thornton said that the year 2020 is a forgettable yet memorable year to remember for most businesses around the world.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced business organizations to find ways to continue operations despite the government restrictions enforced to ensure public health and safety. For corporate survival, many companies have resorted to digital transformation initiatives, such as innovations in workplace mobility, digital marketing, and e-commerce. Some companies have also modified and recalibrated their business models, processes and systems to address the challenges of the ongoing situation.
“It is true that digital transformation is not a magic pill that will cure all problems at this difficult time. Nonetheless, companies should digitally adapt to be resilient now and, perhaps, to alter the future of their respective industries,” it added.
As published in Manila Bulletin, dated 16 September 2020