Digital transformation projects accelerated by pandemic
A new report from cloud business management company Sage reveals that 52 percent of companies say they have accelerated digital transformation plans by three years or more due to the demands of lockdown.
The study of more than 1000 finance leaders across US small and mid-size businesses also shows a growing confidence that they will return to pre-pandemic revenue levels by the end of 2021.
When asked what technology has proved to be the most valuable over the last year, more than a quarter (27 percent) of businesses surveyed say cloud accounting software was a 'saving grace' solution, providing finance teams with complete visibility, remote access to real-time data, improved efficiencies, better decision making, and seamless cash-flow management. Nine out of 10 businesses surveyed are using or planning to invest in these systems in 2021.
Of those businesses that accelerated their digital transformation efforts, 40 percent believe they have become much more connected to their customers during the pandemic. However, this drops to just 11 percent among companies with fewer than 250 employees -- the sector of respondents least able to invest in digital efforts over the last year.
The pandemic has also led to interest in exploring new digital avenues. Just under a third (32 percent) of respondents acknowledge trying social media advertising for the first time, while 23 percent have hired employees completely digitally for the first time.
"It's no surprise the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affected small and midsize businesses, along with their employees and customers. As we faced unique challenges at home and work, businesses saw great success implementing new programs, offering flexible work arrangements, and prioritizing commitment to the communities in which they operate," says Nancy Harris, EVP and managing director at Sage North America. "As the world begins to reopen, it is critical that these key learnings from the last year are not lost, and that organizations continue to leverage creativity and technology to foster stronger relationships with employees, customers, and prospects for continued growth."
You can find out more in the full report available from the Sage site.