The Role of Digital Resiliency

Global crises inevitably show the weaknesses in even the best-laid plans, frameworks, and strategies. Over the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has proven this with painful lessons dealt with governments and businesses regardless of where in the world they operate. That being said, resilience has become quite the watchword.

An Overview of Digital Resiliency

“Digital resiliency refers to an organization’s ability to rapidly adapt to business disruptions by leveraging digital capabilities to not only restore business operations but also capitalize on the changed conditions,” International Data Corporation Vice President for Customer Insights & Analysis Group Stephen Minton said.

“As the COVID-19 crisis has shown, the ability to respond quickly and effectively to unexpected changes in the business environment is critical to an organization’s short-term success. To prepare for future business disruptions, organizations need plans that will enable them to rapidly adapt as opposed to just respond. Investments in digital capabilities not only enable an organization to adapt to the current crisis but also to capitalize on the changed conditions.”

Digital Resiliency Investment Index

IDC has developed a Digital Resiliency Investment Index that is comprised of two factors: Digital Core Investments, where spending on the core components of digital resiliency such as cloud, security, collaborative support for remote workers, and digital transformation projects and; Digital Innovation Investments that are measured via a monthly survey of enterprises regarding their current and anticipated IT investment focus, including how much new or reallocated spending is targeted at digital resiliency and business acceleration versus crisis response measures.

For the index, the score for Digital Core Investments should increase over time as organizations realign their budgets from traditional and legacy IT spending toward these core components of digital resiliency. The index’s score for Digital Innovation Investments, meanwhile, should increase over time as organizations shift their spending focus back to building a digital enterprise.

Increased Investments in Digital Resiliency

IDC’s research indicates that investments in cloud, collaboration, and security grew throughout 2020, despite a decline in overall IT spending. The focus on resilience increased as organizations realized the importance of being prepared for future business disruptions—such as those created by lockdowns and quarantines. IDC has projected that digital resiliency spending would accelerate in 2021 as the global economy improves.

These investments grew fastest in the Asia/Pacific, in line with the region’s overall response to the pandemic. Investments in the United States improved noticeably in October 2020, possibly reflecting a combination of short-term and long-term factors. Europe’s results declined slightly in October, as the region reverted to crisis response mode due to surges in coronavirus cases and new socio-economic restrictions.

Minton said some organizations may need to weather “increased pressure to respond to second waves of COVID infections and economic lockdowns,” even as he noted that “the organizations which were among the early adopters of cloud, digital, and collaborative technologies were best-positioned for a crisis no one could have predicted.”

Digital Resiliency in Action

Previous winners of the IDC Digital Transformation Awards (now known as the IDC Future Enterprise Awards) have shown digital resilience by continuing operations and offering the best possible customer service amid the pandemic’s many outbreaks across the globe—by leveraging digital technologies.

New Zealand’s Fonterra shifted its production focus from milk to producing more high-grade ethanol. This ethanol is being made available to other companies that produce hand-sanitizers to meet the surge in demand for those products.

Hong Kong’s largest online services marketplace for SMEs and freelancers, HelloToby, offers on-demand medical-grade sterilization services which ensure that products used to battle COVID-19 have approval from the FDA and EPA. The World Health Organization (WHO) listed this as an AI-level epidemic prevention measure, and it passed the European Union (EU) sterilization test and conforms to the European Union EN14476 standard.

Grab Indonesia and the country’s Health Ministry, with Good Doctor Technology, rolled services on their platform that enables users to check their risk status by answering questions through the Grab app submenu called GrabHealth, which is also connected with doctors who can give their recommendations at any time of the day.

Korea’s VUNO, an AI medical software developer, offers free AI solutions for reading lung images so medical practitioners can make faster and more accurate diagnoses.

In the Philippines, Angkas is leveraging its app with the feature Angkas FOOD, mobilizing its motorcycle fleet as an overnight food delivery business. The company is not charging any fees from its riders or customers.

Moving into a Post-COVID-19 World

“If there’s anything to be learned from the past digital transformation successes of organizations, it’s that innovation is no longer the exclusive domain of the IT department,”  according to IDC Asia/Pacific Practice Group Vice President Sandra Ng. The COVID-19 pandemic underscores the need for digital transformation.

With a recession on the horizon, CEOs are at a crucial turning point where they must decide if they will follow the same course of cost-cutting as all previous economic downturns or flatten their own organization’s recessionary curve by harnessing the power of digital technologies.