How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever In just a few months’ time, the COVID-19 crisis has brought about years of change in the way companies in all sectors and regions do business. According to a new McKinsey Global Survey of executives,their companies have accelerated the digitization of their customer and supply-chain interactions and of their internal operations by three to four years. And the share of digital or digitally enabled products in their portfolios has accelerated by a shocking seven years. Nearly all respondents say that their companies have stood up at least temporary solutions to meet many of the new demands on them, and much more quickly than they had thought possible before the crisis. What’s more, respondents expect most of these changes to be long lasting and are already making the kinds of investments that all but ensure they will stick. In fact, when we asked executives about the impact of the crisis on a range of measures, they say that funding for digital initiatives has increased more than anything else—more than increases in costs, the number of people in technology roles, and the number of customers.
To stay competitive in this new business and economic environment requires new strategies and practices. Our findings suggest that executives are taking note: most respondents recognize technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies. Respondents from the companies that have executed successful responses to the crisis report a range of technology capabilities that others don’t—most notably, filling gaps for technology talent during the crisis, the use of more advanced technologies, and speed in experimenting and innovating.