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COVID-19 has increased focus on digital transformation amongst companies operating within the middle-market, according to the results of a survey conducted by professional services company BDO Digital.

100% of surveyed 600 C-level executives said they are currently implementing a digital transformation strategy or are in the process of developing one.

Middle-market companies that have built resiliency into their business through digital transformation have more tools to endure disruption, according to the survey.

While the pandemic has likely shifted short-term business objectives to focus on operational efficiency and effectiveness, in the long term, middle-market executives say that the top objectives for their digital strategy are diversifying revenues and modernising IT infrastructure.

Four key factors highlighted as drivers for digital transformation include:

  • Enhanced Operational Efficiency: 58% of survey participants say increasing operational efficiencies is a top short-term business goal.
  • Stronger Digital Resilience: As millions shift to remote work, pivot production to new sites and double down on digital revenue streams, cyber threats are escalating. 39% of executives cite cyberattacks as their top digital threat and 59% say bolstering cybersecurity is one of their top short-term business goals.
  • Improved Customer Experience: Businesses will fight to preserve revenue during this period of economic disruption, and customer retention can be the difference between sustaining through the crisis and not. 68% say improving customer experience is their top short-term business goal, and 22% cite it as their #1 digital priority.
  • Revenue Opportunity: Cash flow is now a critical challenge for many middle market companies, but digital transformation can help them protect and increase revenue. Diversifying revenue is companies’ most-cited business objective in the long run.

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Factors preventing companies from implementing digital transformation strategies include:

The COVID-19: The crisis has disrupted almost if not all processes of a company’s operations.

Change Management: The data is clear—a robust change management plan can make or break a digital initiative. Middle-market companies point to lack of skills or training (41%), employee pushback (30%), poor communication or project management (28%) and lack of leadership or vision (28%) as top reasons for digital efforts failing.

Cash Flow and budget constraints.

Malcolm Cohron, leader of national digital transformation services at BDO Digital, said: “A crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic can lead some organisations to pause or de-emphasise innovation.

“But now more than ever, it’s critical to continue developing digital capabilities that enable success for both the present and future. Deploying digital initiatives strategically can help protect revenues and identify unmet customer needs.”

BDO Digital urges energy companies operating within the middle-market to navigate COVID-19’s impacts and ensuing economic fallout by lowering production costs and boosting operational efficiencies, while simultaneously improving the speed and reliability of service as they move toward cleaner energy sources.

Energy companies are focusing their technology spending on driving operational efficiencies and adopting new business or revenue models

View the key findings and industry reports here.