Picture: 123RF/RA2 STUDIO
Picture: 123RF/RA2 STUDIO

Washington — Many of the changes to global business triggered by Covid-19 will prove lasting.

A survey released on Wednesday by the IBM Institute of Business Value identified a “culture shift” at corporations worldwide, and concluded that “executives must accept that pandemic-induced changes in strategy, management, operations and budgetary priorities are here to stay”.

One big dividend from this culture shift: two thirds of respondents said they’ve been able to complete initiatives that encountered resistance in the pre-coronavirus work world.

The survey of almost 3,500 executives in 22 countries found cash flow along with cost and liquidity management among the highest priorities up to the end of 2022.

About 60% said they were accelerating the digital transformation of their organisations. Three-quarters plan on building more robust IT capabilities.

The digital transformation is expected to increase the actual number of jobs, “but the skills required for those jobs are going to be very different”, said Jesus Mantas, senior managing partner of IBM Services. That means potentially millions of workers who can’t transition to the new world of work could be left behind.

In a move away from the recent practice of just-in-time delivery, 40% of executives highlighted the need for spare capacity in their supply-chains.

Only about half the companies will emphasise entering new markets to increase their customer base, the executives said. And 84% said that customer experience management will be a top priority, up from just 35% two years ago.

IBM’s research — which also drew from other surveys that included employees — unearthed at least one disturbing finding: a wide gap between “employers significantly overestimating the effectiveness of their support and training efforts” and how employees feel about these measures.

Overall, the IBM study reached what it called an “overwhelming conclusion: after Covid-19, the reality for businesses has radically shifted”.

Bloomberg

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