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Global pandemic accelerates Digital Transformation in South Africa, study finds

Global pandemic accelerates Digital Transformation in South Africa, study finds

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Dell Technologies has announced findings from its ‘Digital Transformation Index 2020’ report for South Africa. The study highlights that organisations are accelerating their Digital Transformation programmes and are on the path to fast-track technology implementation to drive long-term business success. The Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index is a global study that analyses and maps Digital Transformation progress of mid- to large-sized companies across the world. With 5,300 C-Suite respondents surveyed globally from 23 countries from a variety of industries and functions, the Dell Technologies Digital Transformation Index 2020 compares South African respondents with global peers.

In one of the first local studies to measure business behaviour amid the pandemic, the study found that 79% of South African organisations have fast-tracked some Digital Transformation programmes this year. A further 84% are in the midst of re-inventing their business model, which is 5% more than the global average of 79%.

Despite these findings, only 23% of South African organisations are planning to invest in Virtual/Augmented Reality (greater than the global average of 16%), 44% intend to invest in Artificial Intelligence (also greater than global average of 33%) and a mere 20% plan to invest distributed ledgers in the next one to three years.

A new Digital Transformation curve

When comparing the South African results from 2018 until 2020, Digital Leaders (the most digitally mature organisations) have remained the same, at 8%. Digital Adopters (the second most digitally mature group) have grown considerably from 23% in 2018 to 49% in 2020. The Digital Evaluators (the third most digitally mature group, characterised by gradual Digital Transformation and planning) have seen a 4% drop between 2018 and 2020.

The South African study also records a modest drop (3%) in the number of Digital Laggards (the least digitally mature group) since 2018 and a fall in the second to last group, Digital Followers, by 13-percentage points. These organisations are moving up, into the Digital Adopter group, which has expanded significantly.

Responding in an uncertain world

Prior to the pandemic, business investments were strongly focused on foundational technologies, rather than emerging technologies. The majority (84%) of South African organisations surveyed recognise that as a result of disruption this year, they need a more agile and scalable IT infrastructure to allow for contingencies.

Doug Woolley, Managing Director, South Africa at Dell Technologies, said: “The Digital Transformation Index 2020 survey for South Africa, undertaken in November and December 2020, is particularly pertinent as it clearly shows that organisations across the country, have already begun to roll-out significant digitalisation initiatives to drive business transformation. These initiatives will start to take shape in 2021. In many cases South African organisations surveyed are ahead of the global average and can be seen to be advocating Digital Transformation initiatives. Given the pace of change today and the constant risk of falling behind, we, at Dell Technologies, are enabling our customers to be more competitive, optimise costs and drive innovation.”

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