Companies that used technology intensively during the pandemic have performed better than those that did not, according to the IBM study “Digital Acceleration.” The study reveals that these companies, belonging to 12 economic sectors where technology is a differentiating factor of competitiveness, achieved an average of 6 percentage points of extra income for implementing these technologies compared to their competition. Some industries that stand out in this regard are the retail trade, where companies that used technology intensively obtained 16 points more revenue than their competitors, the energy sector with 12 points more, insurance with 10 more, or trips, with 9 percentage points more.
The study highlights that those technologies that most impact business performance have changed during the pandemic. Mobile technology, Artificial Intelligence and the Cloud are now the three most strategic technologies. Some like the IoT, which topped the ranking before the pandemic, now occupy sixth and last place. In contrast, once the crisis begins, companies are 74% more willing to use hybrid cloud in their business processes to improve their security and resilience. On the other hand, six out of ten organizations have adopted AI to improve customer satisfaction.
Industry-appropriate technology mix
Using these technologies together can act as a catalyst for short-term success, as well as providing the foundation for transforming the future of your organization. In this sense, the study shows how the cloud is the technology that has contributed the most to generating income during the pandemic in 11 of the analyzed industries, especially in the scientific sector, healthcare, aerospace, defense, oil, as well as the tourism and transport sector. In these industries, companies that had invested the most in the cloud prior to COVID-19 performed significantly better in terms of revenue during the pandemic.
For its part, AI has been the differentiating technology capable of improving business performance in nine industries such as the financial sector, chemical, industrial and scientific products, where companies that had made a significant investment in AI obtained greater revenue during COVID-19 compared to organizations that did not use it. On the other hand, mobile technology represents an improvement for the income of half of the analyzed industries, standing out in sectors such as retail, insurance and the automotive sector.
Key capabilities to drive success
The study reveals some key factors that have guided the best performing companies to success during the pandemic months by adopting different technologies. The cloud stands out as a fundamental tool in the six capabilities described below, and AI, IoT and automation are beginning to gain importance in those capabilities. The key pillars are:
- Agility and efficiency: Top performing companies used hybrid cloud to agile business 93% more than their competition.
- Customer Engagement: Top performing companies use the cloud 60% more than their rivals to provide consistent customer service.
- Supply chain and operations: Three out of four top-performing organizations consider IoT important to their operations, 33% more than other companies. AI is also key in this category, as top-performing companies are 54% more likely to use it for supply chain planning.
- IT resilience and business continuity: Top performing companies embraced the cloud as a differentiator against their competition, to improve security and resilience of critical business processes, using it 71% more than other companies.
- Staff: Top performing companies are five times more likely to process and analyze internal and external data to improve staff management. These organizations use AI for employee communication, development and training 85% more than other companies.
- Cybersecurity: Most successful organizations are 71% more likely to use AI to collect and assess cyber threats. For its part, the cloud is used 71% more by these companies to improve the security of critical business processes and AI 37% more than its competition to respond to incidents.