When the COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations everywhere to shift to a remote work strategy, IT teams became overwhelmed with scaling up and securing their organization’s remote workforce. According to new research from NTT Data, IT teams are no more prepared than they were before the pandemic, with just 23% of 1,000 business and IT executives saying they are highly prepared to meet the challenges of disruption from another health crisis or a natural disaster.
The majority of respondents to the company’s survey say their organization’s innovation is reactive as opposed to proactive.
Perhaps the underlying reason for what some call the Great Resignation, the survey also found that organizations have largely focused on customer satisfaction, and only 16% named employee retention and engagement as a priority, according to NTT.
Further, just 21% of executives say flexible working options is a top contributor to employee satisfaction, which conflicts with countless studies that have shown employees would consider leaving a job that didn’t offer flexible work arrangements.
Cybersecurity was also a recurring topic in the research, being one of the most identified solutions to minimize potential disruptions from bad actors and safeguard new ways of working.
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Executives also indicated that cybersecurity, along with IoT and robotic process automation (RPA), are the top technologies they believe will most help to solve challenges facing society.
Nearly all respondents said they have implemented cybersecurity technologies in at least some areas of their business, but just about half think they are effective at preventing data breaches.
According to NTT, the research highlights the benefits of innovation and data-drive technologies for financial performance, customer satisfaction, workforce productivity and employee retention, but just 43% of executives say innovation is mission-critical, and 42% say it’s a nice-to-have.
The 6% of respondents that report above average performance in nearly all areas of their organization also claim a higher productivity rate at 53% compared to the survey’s average of 34%. That group, according to NTT, has reported a focus on data-driven decision making, employee and customer experience and leveraging new technologies.
Erick Clark, chief digital officer of NTT Data Services, said in a statement that the pandemic has left a mark on many organizations.
“When times are uncertain, it is a natural response to tighten budgets and focus on short-term goals that bring revenue, but this comes at the expense of innovation and future goals,” Clark said. “Leaders must focus on identifying the effective digital technologies that allow them to quickly scale resources, support remote work and respond to market pressures while prioritizing employee retention.”