Special Feature
Part of a ZDNet Special Feature: Coronavirus: Business and technology in a pandemic

Is the COVID-19 crisis spurring faster digital transformation or short-term IT fixes?

According to a global survey from AppDynamics, most IT professionals are concerned about the long-term impact of their current digital transformation initiatives.

The global COVID-19 pandemic has every business rethinking their digital strategies, with many speeding up IT projects that under normal circumstances could have taken years longer. Still, a new global survey from AppDynamics shows that IT professionals are concerned that many of the changes under way are being hastily implemented, in way that's not future-proof.

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The new survey, a special edition of AppDynamics' "Agents of Transformation" report, shows just how impactful the pandemic has been when it comes to IT: 95 percent of respondents said their organizations have changed their technology priorities during the pandemic. As many as 71 percent could point to digital transformation projects that were implemented within weeks rather than the months or years it would have taken before the pandemic.

At the same time, 59 percent said they have found themselves firefighting and introducing short-term fixes to technology problems. Additionally, 76 percent expressed concern about the longer-term impact of digital transformation initiatives they have had to rush through during the crisis.

"With such pressure to deliver projects at this incredible pace, there is no time for lengthy planning cycles and comprehensive proof of concept testing," the AppDynamics report says. "Compromises have to be struck – and many technologists are concerned that future-proofing is taking a back seat."


COVID-19 crisis pushing organizations deeper into digital transformation  ¦  COVID-19 pandemic will drive down worldwide IT spending by 5.1% in 2020  ¦  IT spending will be viewed through new lens as business resumes post COVID-19


For this report, AppDynamics commissioned Insight Avenue to survey 1,000 IT professionals in organizations with a turnover of at least $500 million. The respondents represented 10 markets, including the US, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, UAE, Russia, Japan and Singapore. They came from a range of industries, including IT, financial services, retail, public sector, manufacturing and automotive, and media and communications. The research was conducted between April 22 and May 6.

Just about every IT professional surveyed -- 88 percent -- said that the digital customer experience is now their company's top priority. However, a number of challenges remain as they try to deliver a smooth customer experience. 

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Those challenges include managing spikes in website traffic (81 percent), a lack of unified visibility and insight into performance of the technology stack and its impact on customers (80 percent), and managing mean time to resolution with a remote IT department (70 percent).

While there is concern about future-proofing, the respondents acknowledged that many of the changes implemented during this time should last following the crisis. Not surprisingly, given the emphasis on customer experience, 83 percent said they expect to see increased investment in technology that monitors the digital customer experience.

Additionally, 87 percent expect more focus on risk and disaster planning, 86 percent expect to see continued use of remote working tools and technologies, while 84 percent expect their organizations to maintain more flexible/ on-demand resourcing. 

Meanwhile, most IT professionals see an opportunity in the crisis to elevate the importance of their work. Eighty percent of respondents said the response of their IT teams to the pandemic has positively changed the perception of IT within their organizations.