ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the leading digital workflow company, today released a local study, comparing India’s success, realities, anxieties and attitudes to working in the COVID-19 era to global peers, fielded by Wakefield Research. “The Work Survey” features perspectives of 100 Indian C-suite executives and 1,000 local employees, from a total 9,000 global respondents.
The survey reveals that India holds the number one global standing when it comes to utilisation of digital workflows. While the trend at first seems encouraging, there is still a long road ahead.
“74% of India’s executives said that their business continues to use offline workflows, lowest among all other countries surveyed (US 89%, UK 98%, Australia 98%),” said ServiceNow Managing Director – India & SAARC Arun Balasubramanian. “While the figure indicates greater adoption of digital workflows in India there is clearly plenty of scope for greater utilization of digital work processes.”
The pandemic has helped companies forge new and better ways of working, something India’s executives (97%) and employees (93%) firmly agree on. However, one of the biggest challenges for India to overcome is transforming the many old processes that remain disconnected across systems and departments. Less than half of Indian employees (49%) and executives (42%) believe they have a fully integrated system for workflow management across business functions.
“The appreciation for digital workflows in India are among the highest in the world,” said Arun, “but there is a still a long road ahead for the sub-continent. We are on the cusp of an unprecedented wave of workflow and workplace innovation and there’s no going back.”
Opportunities for India to ride the digital transformation wave:
While the survey indicates strong appreciation of digital transformation in India, it also identified appetite for more. Both executives (69%) and employees (55%) acknowledge the need for further investment as the top priority for organizations seeking to leverage any pandemic-induced cost savings. And it appears there will be funds for this purpose, with 91% of India’s executives agreeing that cost savings will be derived by changes to company operations, brought on by COVID-19.
Demand for upgraded digital workflows has been the most highly touted benefit of new post-COVID work processes globally among India’s employees with 54% of them stating that better use of technology to improve work efficiency was a key benefit they experienced from working remotely.
“In order to succeed in the new normal, every company must underpin their business with digital workflows,” said Arun. “You’re only as good as your people and winning today means delivering new digital business models, faster than the competition, to make it easy for employees to do their best work, anywhere.”
With India preparing to take charge of its digital future, it is safe to say that new systems put in place because of COVID-19 were developed on the fly and are vulnerable to the next major disruption. Less than half of India’s executives and employees felt departments such as customer service, sales and marketing and finance could adapt and implement new workflows within 30 days of another major business disruption. IT fared best, executives (74%) and employees (75%) giving the department the best chance of adapting.
While the benefits of remote work are universally touted, months into working from home, the challenges have become more apparent and there is scope for further growth and innovation. Both executives (95%) and employees (93%) expressed concerns about how remote work will impact the business moving forward with extended timelines for new releases or innovations topping the list for employees, while delays in product or service delivery of most concern for executives.
ServiceNow CEO Bill McDermott said, “Digital workflows are the way business gets done in the 21st century. There’s no going back. Digital transformation will accelerate. New ways of working will become the norm. We are on the cusp of an unprecedented wave of workflow and workplace innovation.”
Wakefield Research fielded an online quantitative survey between September 1st and September 10th, 2020 to 900 C-level executives and 8,100 office professionals (employees) from companies of 500 or more employees in the following countries: United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, India, Japan, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand. While Wakefield surveyed across industries the findings highlight meaningful differences from employees from the following five key industries: financial services, healthcare, manufacturing, telecommunications and public sector.