Kathy Gibson is at Dell Technologies Forum – The world has changed dramatically in the last six months but, while some businesses have struggled to adapt, others haven’t done as well.

Doug Woolley, MD of Dell Technologies South Africa, explains that companies are bracing for a challenging new chapter in 2021.

And, according to the Dell Technologies Transformation Index, one in three organisations are unlikely to survive the next couple of years, with 60% of those that do survive expecting to shed jobs.

“Companies are shifting their digital transformation into higher gear, and have already accomplished in a few short months what normally takes years,” Woolley says. “In face, 80% of companies have fast-tracked their digital transformation this year.”

Of these organisations, however, only 41% have accelerated all or more of their programmes, while a massive 60% have made little or no progress.

“Many companies are re-inventing their business models, but 50% worry that they have not transitioned fast enough.

“And, while 80% are proud of how their teams have adapted to the new business strategies, 48% fear the teams are at risk of burnout.”

The Dell Technologies Transformation Index shows that most organisations are progressing up the scale.

Leader now account for 6% of organisations, compared to 5% in 2018; Adopters make up 39% compared to 23% before; Evaluators number 39% of organisations compared to 33% in 2018; and Laggards account for just 3% instead of 8% in 2018.

“But continuous digital transformation is not easy,” Woolley says. “A massive 94% of organisations face entrenched barriers.”

Data privacy and security concerns are the top barrier. “Mature businesses recognise that these warrant proper consideration, with Leaders more likely to cite them.”

A lack of money and resources, as the second barrier, stems from organisations treating IT as a cost centre. “But financial constraints have not slowed Leaders, who see IT as strategic force for business advancement,” Woolley says.

The third barrier is an inability to extract insights from data, and information overload. “As we move to the zettabyte era, these will become major stumbling blocks if left unresolved. But disruption will unleash a new wave of data-first businesses. And companies realise this is more important than ever before.”

Indeed, 89% of companies recognise that disruption is a driving the need for scalable and agile IT environments; 41% say that having he right technology to work at the speed of business has enabled them to succeed this year; and 96% of digital Leaders say their ability to collect, analyse and act on data has made it easier to adapt and survive.

“The majority of respondents know they need to digitally transform in order to be more successful in the face of adversity,” Wooley says. “And we have seen a major acceleration of digital transformation in 2020. Some organisations have been faster than others but, in general, there has been a collective effort.

“Now we need to maintain that momentum. We urge business to keep up the pace.”