Dell Technologies released results from a global study that shows organisations are shifting their digital transformation programs into high gear and are on the path to accomplish in a few months what would normally have taken them years.

The findings, updated biennially in the Dell Technologies’ Digital Transformation Index (DT Index), indicate organisations are accelerating transformational technology programs during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

In one of the first global studies to measure business behavior as a result of the pandemic, Dell’s 2020 Index found that eight in 10 organisations have fast-tracked some digital transformation programs this year and 79 percent are re-inventing their business model.

The DT Index is a global benchmark indicating organisations’ status of digital transformation and their performance across the globe. The survey included 4,300 business leaders (C-suite to Director) from mid-size to enterprise companies across 18 countries.

Since the first DT Index in 2016 and the next in 2018, this year’s results track the first rise in the number of Digital Leaders (the most digitally mature organisation) to six percent. Digital Adopters (the second most digitally mature group) has grown from 23% in 2018 to 39% in 2020 – a 16-percentage point increase.

The DT Index also records a modest drop since 2018 in the number of Digital Laggards (the least digitally mature group) by six percentage points, and a steep fall in the second to last group, Digital Followers, by 17 percentage points. These organisations are moving up, into the Digital Adopter and Digital Evaluator groups, which have expanded in tandem.

“We’ve been given a glimpse of the future, and the organisations that are accelerating their digital transformation now will be poised for success in the Data Era that is unfolding before our eyes,” says Michael Dell, chairman and CEO of Dell Technologies.

The pandemic may have catalysed digital transformation across the globe, but continuous transformation is challenging: ninety-four percent of organisations are facing entrenched barriers to transformation.

According to the 2020 DT Index, the following are the top three barriers to digital transformation success:

* Data privacy and cybersecurity concerns (up from 5fifth place in 2016)

* Lack of budget and resources (number one in 2016, number two in 2018)

* Unable to extract insights from data and/or information overload (a jump of eight places since 2016).
Prior to the pandemic, business investments were strongly focused on foundational technologies, rather than emerging technologies. The vast majority, 89%, recognise that, as a result of disruption this year, they need a more agile/scalable IT infrastructure to allow for contingencies.

The DT Index shows the top technology investments for the next one to three years: cybersecurity; data management tools; 5G infrastructure; privacy software; and multi-cloud environment.

And recognising the importance of emerging technologies, 82 percent of respondents envision increased usage of Augmented Reality to learn how to do or fix things in an instant; 85% foresee organisations using Artificial Intelligence and data models to predict potential disruptions, and 78% predict distributed ledgers – such as Blockchain – will make the gig economy fairer (by cutting out the intermediary). Despite these findings, only 16% are planning to invest in Virtual/Augmented Reality, just 32% intend to invest in Artificial Intelligence and a mere 15% plan to invest distributed ledgers in the next one to three years.