More Than Half of North American Businesses Surveyed During COVID-19 Say Their Technology Systems Are Inadequate

While companies excelled in the areas of traditional management, technology systems were rated by employees as outdated and inefficient for company performance.

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Zoho, published the results of a North American study examining the dimensions affecting company performance. The study was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic, when employees around the world had transitioned to remote work. Analysis of the overall results, which are some of the first to emerge from the pandemic, found that while companies excelled in the areas of traditional management, technology systems were rated by employees as outdated and inefficient for company performance.        

The April 2020 study by Beagle Research Group surveyed more than 500 employees at businesses of varying sizes and industries throughout North America. Participants gave their companies high marks in areas of goal setting, alignment, and inspiring performance — meaning that even with the disruption of office closures, workers feel supported by and aligned with their employer while working remotely.

Strong Employee Engagement and Alignment

  • 66 percent of those surveyed find high satisfaction in the work they do.
  • Only 4 percent report that their job is chaotic and difficult to do well.
  • 69 percent of employees surveyed agreed that their job provides them with meaningful work they take pride in.
  • 68 percent of front-office employees and 75 percent of back-office employees said they felt a sense of purpose in their work.

In the category of technology infrastructure, however, employees reported that their current company systems need a unified overhaul.

Inadequate Technology Systems

  • 51 percent of employees categorized these systems inadequate in keeping them aligned with company goals while working remote.
  • 52 percent of those surveyed found their computing systems not conducive to their work, with that number growing to 56 percent at the small and medium enterprise level (businesses under 500 employees).
  • 54 percent of enterprise-level employees (businesses with more than 500 employees) found the applications they work with not intuitive and difficult to integrate.
  • 40 percent of the largest enterprise employees surveyed (businesses with more than 4,000 employees) said their work can be chaotic, working with multiple technology platforms to do their job accordingly.
  • 37 percent of enterprise employees found their technology infrastructure not supportive to good communication throughout the organization as they work remote.
  • Only 10 percent of those surveyed said they could confidently get a complete view of the relationship between their company and customer without having to check several systems. This result is especially important for companies to recognize as the customer and client relationship is particularly fragile during the pandemic and context for communication is critical.

·       For both front office and back office employees, 50 percent found their company's technology inadequate to support their job role while remote.

"Going to the office, as a concept, started during the Industrial Revolution, when workers needed to travel to factories to use heavy equipment," said Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist at Zoho. "With the cloud, with online tools accessible from anywhere, including your home, we are back to a pre-Industrial Revolution era. This means that the right tools have to be made available for employees to be productive. Unfortunately, as the survey finds out, this is not currently the case. This has to change for employees to be successful."

"The inevitable conclusion from this data is that if companies want to improve their performance, they should look first at the technology systems that support their primary business activities," said Denis Pombriant, Managing Principal at Beagle Research Group and author of the report. "The data show that companies, especially at the enterprise level, are realizing the importance of integrated solutions to streamline business processes to enable working in a variety of new theaters."