- Leading organizations put more investment into technology that enables new forms of working, and work across department functions, than other organizations, according to a December report by PwC and experience management platform Qualtrics.
- More than 65% of IT executives surveyed by the companies said they expected at least a quarter of their workforces to work from home permanently after the pandemic. While investments in video conferencing are "the norm" for most organizations, leading firms have also invested in workflow automation tools such as Jira and ServiceNow, as well as cloud-based collaboration tools like Google Workspace and Office365, per the report.
- Employee engagement has also emerged as a priority, with 67% of leading organizations reporting that they made new investments in listening and feedback systems. Employee feedback has helped guide IT investment overall; 95% of leading organizations surveyed in the report said they improved existing technology as a result of employee feedback during COVID-19.
The emerging wave of procurement technology that supply chain companies are using to automate repetitive, time exhaustive tasks and manage spend are allowing procurement staff to focus on high-impact decisions instead, saving money and expanding capacity. Increasing workers' ability to collaborate across functions is an investment that makes working from home that much easier and more productive.
2020 marked a dramatic shift in IT investment priorities with the rise of remote work, but the year also impacted talent management operations over the long term. Industry analysts noted, for example, the rise of automated workflows and processes that accelerated during the pandemic.
Robotic process automation allows procurement offices to invite suppliers to showcase products without any input from an individual procurement employee. Machine-learning tools to improve negotiations by interpreting contracts are now using prescriptive analytics to make recommendations to staff. Technology like SourceDay's collaboration tool is enabling companies to automate purchase order management and track spend. And Maersk has developed a tool that automates contract review for more than 15,000 suppliers.
On a practical level, employees in many organizations were asked to shift to new tech platforms overnight in some cases. Nearly a year into the pandemic, however, it's clear that transition has not always been seamless. An October survey of workers by The Harris Poll found a majority of workers faced at least one challenge when using software platforms to do their jobs.
A lack of training can make such issues worse. In spite of the increased need for digital transformation in the past year, companies may at times overestimate the level of training they provide to employees, according to a recent IBM Institute for Business Value report. This, in turn, may fuel employee skepticism about organizational commitment to workers, IBM said.
A.B. Brown contributed to this story.