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Businesses investing in DX more than ever thanks to COVID-19

Half of Australian organisations lost customers during COVID-19 due to failings in communications, and many businesses are finding they have a gap between operations or aims and systems. However, the pandemic has also had positive outcomes for businesses.

This is according to new research from Pegasystems, the digital transformation (DX) software company. The global study, conducted by research firm Savanta, explored the effect the global pandemic has had on businesses and their ability to adapt in a time of crisis.

The research shows that the global average of organisations that lost customers during the COVID-19 pandemic due to failings in their communications was 36%, much less than Australia’s 50%.

Specifically looking at customer engagement failings triggered by the pandemic, Pegasystems found that 56% communicated at least one message to customers that was badly received and damaged their brand reputation, above the global average of 37%.

In addition, more than half (55%) of organisations worry they let their customers down during the crisis, and 64% said they should have done more to help their customers.

Pegasystems states that organisations failure to sufficiently adapt to the pandemic may be a result of business leaders overestimating the state of their DX efforts.

More than three quarters (85%) of business decision makers said the crisis exposed more gaps in their business operations and systems than they originally expected.

This is despite the fact that 81% were well into their DX initiatives and 41% assessed their DX initiatives to be in advanced stages.

This has resulted in businesses taking their DX projects more seriously, with 81% saying the pandemic experience has forced them to accelerate their DX plans; 72% stating they will increase the priority level of DX within their organisation; and another 62% will add more DX investment.

With these new DX plans in place, the vast majority (98%) of business leaders feel confident they will be prepared to face a similar crisis if one should hit in the next two years, according to the research.

Looking at specific DX projects, the survey found the four most popular DX projects needed to prepare a future crisis were: AI-driven analytics and decisioning (46%), AI-driven predictive analytics (45%), cloud-based systems (43%), and customer messaging applications (43%).

The survey also found that various positives have come out of the pandemic situation. In fact, 76% of respondents say their business learned a lot during the crisis and will permanently change the way they operate for the better.

79% say the crisis taught them to be more empathetic with customers, and 70% feel they learned more about their customers during the crisis than they did the previous two years combined.

Furthermore, 77% said remote working has been successful and will likely continue after the crisis ends; and 62% reported employees are more productive now than before the pandemic, only 13% saw a slight dip in productivity and 2% reported a significant drop.

Pegasystems CTO and vice president of product marketing Don Schuerman says, “What this research makes clear is that digital transformation can no longer be a nice to have for today's businesses.

“Even those that thought they were digitally advanced now realise they've only scratched the surface. Organisations need to reexamine every part of their business for digital readiness or face consequences regardless of whether another crisis of this magnitude happens again or not.”