Modern Applications Help Organizations Succeed During Pandemic
July 29, 2020
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Organizations have benefited from the use of modern applications to adapt and maintain agility and reliability during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new research by VMware.

The global study, conducted in March and April 2020, also reveals improved perceptions of alignment across app developers, IT and business decision makers as they collaborate to help their organizations operate amid the pandemic.

Additionally, it captures the traits that the most successful organizations are adopting to better their digital experiences.

For years now, businesses have been on a mission to digitally transform themselves and their operations. This year's global pandemic served as a barometer for the true state of that digital transformation. And the results, according to VMware's "Successful Digital Transformation: Apps At The Ready" report are less dire than expected: only 2% of all respondents said digital transformation efforts have not been successful in any way. Key to that success has been technology which provides the foundation for any transformation initiative or app/software development project. Organizations that can modernize the tools at their disposal will see their chances of success increase.

"The speed that organizations moved their engagement to digital channels during the pandemic signals the critical importance of modern applications," said Sumit Dhawan, senior vice president and chief customer experience officer, VMware. "Businesses need to do more than transform capabilities to deliver digital experiences for customers and for employees. Ultimately, it is about cultivating software-minded leadership, driving alignment among app developers, IT and the business, and adopting strategic technology platforms to thrive."

Three key findings from the research:

1. Modern Applications Can Help Organizations Succeed During the Pandemic

Modern apps are not only helping organizations operate and maintain their agility and reliability during the pandemic, they are furthering digital transformation efforts too.

■ The main benefits of modern, cloud-native apps during the pandemic include:

- Enabling remote workforces (54%)

- Pushing quick updates in response to changing landscape (42%)

- Maintaining reliable uptime (41%).

■ According to app developers (app devs) and IT decision makers (ITDMs), modern apps also provide:

- Improved end user experience (46%)

- Increased app/software performance (43%

- More efficient use of app/software developer time (43%)

■ Almost all respondents (97%) have seen some success, big or small, from their digital transformation efforts. The top three digital transformation priorities for organizations are:

- Increasing business efficiency (48%)

- Improving the customer experience (42%)

- Upgrading existing technology platforms (39%)

2. Pandemic Shifts People's Mindsets and Perceptions of their Organizations

Respondents described their companies, priorities and team working relationships differently before the pandemic than during the pandemic. Alignment between different departments is a crucial driver of success in the best of times. During this pandemic, its importance increases exponentially.

■ US and UK respondents were more likely to agree that their company was "on the cutting edge and quick to embrace change" during the pandemic (25%) than they were before it (15%).

■ There is a marked improvement in how teams characterized their alignment during the pandemic:

- App dev and IT teams (increased from 64% with good or excellent alignment pre-pandemic to 70% during)

- App dev and business teams (increased from 57% to 67%)

- IT and business teams (increased from 55% to 67%)

■ The digital transformation priorities of "reducing costs" and "improving the employee experience" are weighed much more equally during the pandemic (29% and 27% respectively) than before (37% and 20% respectively).

3. Software-Minded Leaders, Modern Tools and Agile Processes Help Improve Digital Experience

According to the research, organizations seeking to thrive in this digital world should adopt tech savvy leadership, modern app/software development processes, and modern developer tools to successfully deliver net-new apps and update/upgrade existing apps into production.

■ Leaders Matter – 88% of respondents say organizations with software-minded leaders are more successful.

■ Embrace Developer Processes – 80% of app dev and ITDM respondents agree that embracing developer processes such as test and learn would enable organizations to work more effectively and efficiently.

■ Modernize Tools – 80% of surveyed app dev and ITDMs say teams must modernize the technologies they use to develop and deploy apps and software for development projects to be more successful.

■ Develop Differently – 79% of app dev and ITDM respondents agree that organizations will not be able to deliver a best-in-class end user experience without successfully modernizing application/software development processes.

■ High performing (HP) organizations, which grow 15%+ per year, do the following better than underperforming (UP) organizations which are experiencing falling annual revenue:

- New software/app development projects making it into production on average (73% HP vs. 40% UP)

- Average proportion of time in app dev process spent innovating (50% HP vs 39% UP), per app devs and ITDMs

- More than half of their dev processes could be considered agile (83% HP vs 24% UP), according to app devs and ITDMs

Methodology: The VMware Successful Digital Transformation: Apps At The Ready report is based on a survey of 5,000 business decision makers, IT decision makers and app developers at mid- to large-sized organizations in 17 countries around the world. Vanson Bourne conducted the survey in March and April 2020.

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