Andrea Siviero (Associate Research Director, European Customer Insights & Analysis)
Gabriele Roberti (Research Manager, European Industry Solutions, Customer Insights & Analysis)

IDC recently held a webcast on emerging technologies and their role in enabling not only resilience during the COVID-19 period, but also paving the way toward the successful enterprise of the future. You can replay the full webcast here, but for a sneak peek please continue reading.

What Are Emerging Technologies?

Emerging technologies are those technologies that have not yet reached an inflection point, defined in terms of a series of criteria such as adoption rate, investment, and business impact.

Emerging Technologies in the COVID-19 Era

Although these technologies already attracted major interest and mindshare, COVID-19 affected sentiment around innovation, especially in terms of the more innovative, and emerging technologies.

Emerging Techs Threatened by the Covid Quake

IDC structured a framework in five steps to describe how the pandemic affected companies, and how their technology focus changed. To simplify, during the webcast we described two phases:

  • The descent (from Covid crisis to recession), and
  • The ascent (from the return to growth to the next normal).

According to IDC’s European IT Buyer Sentiment Survey (wave 5, May 18-25, 2020) the great majority of the organizations still place themselves in the descent phase.

So, the question is how these two phases are connected to emerging technologies, and what is their role?

To answer these questions, we need to start thinking about the priorities of the organization in the descent and ascent phases, linking them to the use cases they are prioritizing, and only then understanding the key enabling technologies. In this way we discover constellations of emerging tech-infused use cases across the two phases. But there’s more. The two phases are also connected to different approaches end-user companies should take.

Descent — Emergency is Experimentation

Despite the impact of the pandemic on digital transformation efforts, our biweekly survey shows that more than half of companies are changing their technology road map to take advantage of the uncertainty and introducing new business models. This means that the emergency period is the right time to experiment. And we collected also lots of examples from European companies leveraging emerging tech experimentation to cope with the emergency in the past few months. Technology providers are also taking the experimentation approach.

Ascent — Place Your Safe Bets

Once the descent is over, the following phase is the moment to set up for the future, preparing for the future enterprise, defined by extreme automation, remote everything, hyper connectivity, omni-experience, intelligent everywhere and full collaboration. In the short term, this implies looking at new trajectories according to the industry and the ecosystem each company plays in, and placing safe bets that ensure short-term ROI related to core modular and flexible competencies that can be quickly launched and tested, and fuelled by trickle budget. For many companies this is already reality and we name many examples in the webcast.

Where to Start?

We believe that to build anti-seismic foundations for the future enterprise, making it resilient to market quakes and shocks, companies should focus on three pillars: People, (technology) Platforms, and Power of Sight, orchestrating an emerging technologies value loop.

To make it concrete, CxOs should:

  • launch now one experiment aimed at disrupting traditional models,
  • Select one KPI to track on a weekly basis and picking 3 digital use case short-term bets.
  • They should also bring in 2 other C-suite members in any digital initiative (emerging tech-dedicated taskforce)
  • Prioritize an ROI focus, plugin & play impact, and an act-fast approach as key features in tech provider selection.

You can replay the webcast here. Get in touch to know more about IDC European Emerging Technologies research.

If you want to know more about COVID-19’s impact on the technology sector see more resources here