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In the Zone

Research roundup: robots, digital transformation, collaboration, buying habits

Peter Krass's picture

by Peter Krass on 05/06/2021
Blog Category: advanced-technologies

Robot orders are up. Leaders of data analytics also lead digital transformation. IT leaders hope to ease worker burnout with more tech. And the pandemic has consumers changing their buying habits.

That’s the latest from leading market watchers and researchers. Here’s your tech provider’s roundup.

Robot orders surge

Orders for robot systems are doing very well during the pandemic. The number of robot units ordered by North American companies during this year’s first quarter was up 20% over the same period last year, according to the Association for Advancing Automation (A3).

Among non-automotive companies, the order increase was an even higher 28%. Dig into specific verticals, and some of the increases were even more dramatic. For example, robot orders from the metals industry in Q1 were up 86%, and from pharma/biomed, up 72%.

In all, North American companies ordered nearly 9,100 units of robot systems during this year’s first quarter, A3 says. These robots had a total value of $466 million.

“Every industry recognizes that robotics and automation can help them compete globally,” says A3 president Jeff Burnstein. “COVID didn’t create the move toward automation, but it certainly accelerated trends that were already underway.”

Data + analytics = digital transformation

More companies now understand the synergy between building a data-driven business and leading digital transformation.

Among leaders of data and analytics, nearly three quarters (72%) are either leading or heavily involved with their organizations’ digital transformation. That’s according to analyst firm Gartner’s sixth annual survey of chief data officers (CDOs).

The survey garnered responses from nearly 470 CDOs, chief analytics officers and other high-level data and analytics leaders. They work in 16 industries at locations around the world.

About half (48%) the CDOs surveyed say they’re heavily involved with digital transformation. And about a quarter (24%) say they’re actually leading.

“Data and analytics have a primary role in digital business strategy,” says Gartner research VP Debra Logan. “It affects everything the organization does.”

Pandemic burnout? IT tries collaboration tech

The pandemic has been tough on workers. Plenty of people are feeling burnt out, over-zoomed and unproductive.

To help, nearly 60% of IT leaders now plan to invest in collaboration tech, finds a survey conducted by Wrike, a Citrix unit that offers collaborative work-management platforms.

The survey reached 300+ IT leaders including CIOs, VPs of IT and directors in the North America, EMEA and Asia-Pacific regions. All the survey respondents work for large companies with at least 1,000 employees.

What’s keeping them up at night? These IT leaders say their top employee concerns are worker engagement (cited by 56%), burnout (53%) and reduced productivity (52%).

To address their concerns, these execs plan to enable more secure collaboration (cited by 51%), power seamless external collaboration (46%), and provide greater visibility into ownership across the organization (45%).

“The pandemic put CIOs in the hot seat,” says Andrew Filev, senior VP at Wrike. “That’s forcing IT departments to accelerate digital strategies that quickly support remote work and keep their organizations running.”

Consumers’ changing payments

Another thing the pandemic has changed is the way consumers make payments.

In a new survey, 86% of consumers say their payment habits have changed since the pandemic started, and 59% say they’ve tried new payment methods for the first time. In most cases, this means more digital payments. No surprise, then, that among younger consumers — those 18 to 24 years old — a considerably larger percentage (77%) say they’ve tried the new payment methods.

That’s according to a survey of 8,000 consumers in seven countries in Europe and North America. The survey was conducted recently by Paysafe Ltd., a UK-based provider of payments platforms.

The key drivers for this new behavior? Number one was the inability to make in-person payments, cited by a third (33%) of all consumers surveyed. Other top reasons include a desire to track spending more closely (cited by 26%) and the threat of fraud (25%).


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