Business agility is a top priority regardless of the global situation, but one recent study showed tech purchases could be delayed.

How bad is the extent of the economic recession caused by the pandemic?

To answer this question for the near future, intelligence research firm Forrester has surveyed business and technology decision-makers in the Asia Pacific regions in January and again in May.

Their business and tech priorities have shifted due to the COVID-19, and companies generally find themselves in one of three modes: survival, adaptive, and growth.

Once business leaders understand their enterprise’s current mode, they may need to clarify their top-level goals and take specific actions to create the right tech budget both for their current situation and as their business conditions change in the still-fluid future.

Some key findings of note:

  • While 26% of respondents were in survival mode, 16% were in growth mode. 
    May’s data showed that 51% of respondents at firms in Asia Pacific expected their future tech spend to decrease; this is in stark contrast to the 53% that expected to increase it by more than 5% before the crisis.

  • Business agility is a top business priority across modes. 
    Respondents at companies in survival mode put growing revenues and cutting costs as their top two business priorities for the next 12 months. Those in adaptive mode also saw cutting costs as a high priority. Respondents at firms in growth mode put improving their ability to innovate and accelerating their shift to digital business in their top five business priorities. Regardless of the respondent companies’ state of business health, accelerating their response to business and market changes was always one of the top five priorities.

  • Large IoT, big data, and marketing-tech projects could be delayed or cancelled. 
    COVID-19 has had a direct and positive impact on cloud infrastructure and platforms, IT security and risk, and mobility spend. What the May survey also shows is that companies in survival or adaptive mode are likely to cancel or delay some of the tech purchases that they had planned before the crisis. This is particularly true for IoT, big data, business intelligence and analytics, and martech software purchases.
  • Work-From-Home is the new normal. 
    About half of respondents said they could not wait to get back to work, while 44% said they were afraid to go back. In the May survey, 48% of all respondents in Asia Pacific indicated that their firm would permanently maintain a higher rate of full-time remote employees; this increased to 68% of respondents at companies in growth mode.

According to Forrester, today’s highly volatile and uncertain environment makes it clear that enterprise adaptiveness is the only sustainable way forward.