Could the global pace of pandemic-rushed digitalization still lag behind that of pandemic-exacerbated IT/Finance/HR challenges? Find out what two surveys revealed …

In a global survey of 1,150 senior business leaders in North America, Europe, and the Asia Pacific region (APAC) between August and November 2021, across 13 industries to understand the to understand the pace of digital transformation over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic and the biggest barriers to success in Finance, HR, and IT, it has been concluded that respondents’ business needs were changing faster than the technology, processes, and culture required to keep pace.

In addition, in-depth qualitative interviews held between September and November 2021 with senior business leaders and transformation experts from the finance, HR, and IT functions revealed that the digital acceleration gap is widening: in response, leaders in the research sample were adopting a more sustained approach to transformation by prioritizing access to data and employee experience.

To help close the ‘acceleration gap’, respondents across the three functions had the following considerations: 

  1. Finance leaders
    • 51% of these respondents indicated that new technologies were one of the most important elements to accelerating planning, execution, and analysis cycles to integrate data between disparate systems and break down internal data silos.

    • 61% indicated that technology that unifies financial, people, and operational data was their most pressing need, with 64% indicating that it took weeks or more to get results at the end of a reporting period.
  2. HR leaders
    • Amid the Great Resignation, organizations in the survey were increasingly focused on skills to help improve recruiting, retention, and overall employee experiences.

    • 25% of HR leaders in the survey ranked resilience and adaptability first among skills that teams need in order to continuously meet fast evolving business demands.

    • 50% of HR respondents indicated that positive employee experiences were most important for accelerating transformation across the business.
  3. IT leaders
    • While CIOs in the survey held the key to data-fueled transformation, many were challenged by the pace of change as legacy constraints and data silos were top barriers to digital transformation.

    • 42% of IT leaders in the survey were confident in their teams’ ability to adopt cloud technologies without legacy constraints.

    • 50% of IT respondents were struggling to keep pace with service upgrades as part of legacy technology, with 59% indicating it can take weeks or months to change an automated business process.

According to Pete Schlampp, Chief Strategy Officer, Workday, which commissioned the surveys: “There is an acceleration gap organizations need to address to help ensure their digital journeys keep pace with the growing and evolving demands of their business. We are encouraged that global finance, HR, and IT leaders (in the survey) were taking a more measured approach to their transformation strategies by leveraging technology that drives adaptability across their business.”