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In the Zone

Research roundup: digital transformation, WFH, holiday shopping, AI

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 10/02/2020
Blog Category: advanced-technologies

The pandemic is having a big impact on technology usage. Digital transformation projects are accelerating. Home workers are struggling with tech issues. Consumers plan on doing their holiday shopping online. And AI investments are chugging along, even if the business angle isn’t always clear.

That’s the latest in IT research. And here’s your tech provider’s roundup.

Digital transformation speedup

Something about the COVID-19 pandemic is inspiring IT and business execs to press the gas pedal on their digital transformation (DT) projects. In an IBM survey of more than 3,800 C-level execs in 20 countries, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) say they’ve accelerated their digital transformations.

Something about the pandemic seems to be lowering barriers, too. Fully two-thirds (66%) of the survey respondents said they’ve completed digital transformation initiatives that previously encountered resistance.

IBM digital transformation suvey

Survey respondents also said they are shifting their IT priorities. Nearly two-thirds (64%) have shifted to more cloud-based business activities. Almost as many (60%) have accelerated process automation.

“Executives have become more trusting of what technology can do,” the report's authors write, “and they are pushing ahead with digital transformation.”


Working from home isn’t always easy. Roughly 8 in 10 employees working remotely said they experience at least 1 technology issue a week. So finds a survey of nearly 1,500 employees conducted by ManageEngine.

The most common issues? That would be slowed functionality and download speeds (cited by 40%) and unreliable connectivity (25%).

The good news is that three-quarters of the respondents said their IT department has been easy to communicate with. And nearly two-thirds (63%) say their employer has provided them with a PC or other device for working remotely.

Shopping online for the holidays

Seventy-five percent of consumers say they will do at least some of their holiday shopping online, up from 65% last year. And 43% plan to shop exclusively online this holiday season.

That’s according to a new report from Accenture. The consulting firm surveyed more than 1,500 U.S. consumers about their plans for holiday shopping.

Many retailers have been offering curbside and other contactless options due to the pandemic, but consumers aren’t too eager. More than three-quarters (77%) of the respondents said they still want their purchases delivered directly to their homes.

Along the same lines, just 11% of respondents said they’re willing to pick up purchases in-store. And the same percentage said they’re willing to use contactless options like locker or curbside pickup.

The stakes are high. More than half (56%) of respondents said they won’t shop with a retailer again after just one delivery experience they deem unsatisfactory.

AI investments continue

Since the onset of the pandemic, two-thirds of organizations have either increased their investment in artificial intelligence or kept it at the same level. That's the case even when those investments can’t demonstrate business value.

So finds a survey by Gartner. The research and advisory firm polled some 200 business and IT professionals in late September.

About one in four (24%) respondents said they’ve increased their AI investments since the pandemic's start. And about 4 in 10 (42%) said that over the same period, their level of AI investment hasn't changed.

Looking ahead, three-quarters of the respondents plan to either continue their AI initiatives or start new ones.

However, most of these AI projects are still pilots. Only about one in five (21%) of the projects are in production, while nearly 80% are still exploring or piloting.

What’s preventing more AI projects from moving into production? Says Gartner research VP Francis Karamouzis: “The inability of organizations to connect those investments back to business value.”


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